Just like almost every other business, regardless of the sector in which they operate, the global COVID-19 pandemic came as quite a shock to us here at Quiss Technology, despite the way it crept slowly upon the UK.
The warnings from Europe pointed to the disruption every aspect of commerce in the UK could expect, to say nothing of the way the everyday lives of the entire population would be impacted by the Government-imposed lockdown and social distancing.
Fortunately, our business is based on technology and how our people use it, which ensures we are flexible and can be nomadic, unlike some of our clients with factories to run, beer to brew and pharmaceuticals to produce.
Having specified disaster recovery solutions for hundreds of clients over the years, this would be the first serious, real-world test of our own policies as we sought to deliver uninterrupted services to our clients. Regular recovery exercises fail to deliver the pressure that a real test like this induces.
Unlike many, we were prepared for most if not all of the effects of the lockdown, both direct and indirect. But the first thought of the senior team here, had to be for the safety of our people and their ability to work safely, securely and of course, remotely.
The remote helpdesk
Ensuring Quiss could operate a full service, with all that entails, from a remote helpdesk team and new hardware to support the Nightingale hospital at the NEC, to Azure deployments and Cloud solutions quickly implemented, but more of that in my ‘how we did it blog’.
Very few clients know the scale of our helpdesk, which has grown steadily to accommodate new clients and only the increasing background noise would indicate the full extent of the office full of technicians.
The number our clients dialled for support remained the same and the speed of response was the same, just the location of the helpdesk team member had changed, from our Tamworth HQ to a kitchen, study or dining room at home.
The quality of the service delivered also remained unchanged and it is that which makes me most proud of how our business came together to support our clients in their time of desperate need.
It wasn’t just law firms needing secure connections for lawyers working remotely, or the ability to use soft-phones connected to laptops, but sales team members driving hundreds of miles to drop off a new laptop to ensure a CEO could keep in touch with his business from home.
We only had days to resolve issues for many clients, but our people stepped up, went the extra mile and took the opportunity to address the challenges our clients face, rather than use the opportunity to make distress sales.
Some clients furloughed people to help save jobs and businesses, with little thought for the technology they use every day, but Microsoft subscriptions were promptly suspended to help reduce outgoings.
And when we receive unprompted comments from clients that praise our work, it confirms we made good honest decisions to support not sell.
Just a few of the comments we received are detailed here and have already been shared with our teams, because a heartfelt thank you goes a long way, as anyone who has stood outside and banged a pot at 8.00pm on a Thursday, knows only too well.
Thanks received with pride
Hi all, I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone for their help over the last week, you guys have been amazing. I know you have all been working extra hours and with the added stresses of being at home and trying to keep things as normal as possible has not been easy for you. Well done to you all, I know it isn’t over yet but keep smiling. Cheri – Ashtons
All, I’d like to thank you all for the fantastic service you have provided to FW this week. The support has been absolutely brilliant. The work done by Dave and the team last year to upgrade our systems has really paid dividends and it’s great to report we have excellent connectivity for home working.
I know you have all worked incredibly hard to keep us all going. IT has become the lifeblood of our firm (though don’t tell our staff or clients that!) and all the work you have done gives us a great chance of getting out of this mess intact. Apologies if I have left anyone out, it’s late and I am done for the day/week. Best regards. Jeremy – Fox Williams
I just wanted to drop a line to say a huge thank you to you for your support and hard work over the past couple of weeks. Your commitment to the Ops team has been truly appreciated and you should be extremely proud of the achievement made in what I believe is mainly BAU especially in the Customer Service department.
I am sure we have more hurdles to overcome in the coming weeks however I do believe that the measures we have worked on will stand us in good stead for this. Try to enjoy an isolated weekend. Nicola Irving – Quantum Pharmaceutical
No nasty surprises
Our business model has delivered on its promise to provide the support our clients need when they need it. And it stood up to the most rigorous examination and passed with flying colours.
We are not out of the woods yet and the future will undoubtedly be different for our clients, with no real clues yet as to what the exit from lockdown and return to the office, factory or workshop will bring, other than change.
We also recognise that what they expect from the technology we manage will also change, but we will respond equally well when the new normal takes shape.
Perhaps most importantly for our clients as they come to terms with kick-starting their businesses in full once more, they will not be facing surprise bills for the additional service hours, time spent on devising solutions or cost surcharges.
Quiss has always believed in the strength of mutually beneficial relationships and I know our clients are thankful they chose us as their managed technology service provider. I have the grateful emails to show for it.