During the last 18 months of the ongoing pandemic, AnswerFirst has seen a great deal of growth in business partners needing their services.

With so many workers and businesses forced to go remote, with no preparation or experience, it is not surprising the additional workload that was thrust upon AnswerFirst. They are averaging about 100 new business partners from around the globe every month. That’s significantly higher than in past years. As always, the employees of AnswerFirst powered through, rose to the occasion, and helped to keep the economy moving and tens of thousands of people employed with the help of their contact center support team. Of course, that added business meant normal hiring had to quickly increase in order to support the additional growth, which in and of itself, was a process that took some time.

AnswerFirst was thrilled to be able to continue hiring and offering remote work during a time when people were out of work and seeking the ability to work from the safety of their homes. That said, they needed the right candidates to fill these roles. Many job seekers want to work remotely on the surface, yet later find the non-traditional work environment is not a good match for them. So, the AnswerFirst recruiter’s had their work cut out for them. They were averaging about 15 new hires each month in 2020. At the beginning of 2021, the focus was to double up on new hire training classes each month and increase the number of trainees in each class too. The goal was to have 25-30 new hires each month. You see, the increased call volume was not hard to notice and was expected given the added business. That was being managed for the most part. However, the overwhelming stress of the pandemic, racial injustices, and general unrest happening in our world changed the type of calls being received and the demeanor of the callers themselves. That was not something they had planned for and their employees were feeling the stress of it all.

AnswerFirst needed to get to a point where they were overstaffed in their contact center in order to allow their employees some breathing time between calls and to allow for a break after receiving that tough call. Call center work is never an easy job, but you add all the stressors of the current climate and that makes it an even tougher job for even top-performing call center personnel. The contact center staff were expressing how difficult the callers had become to the point it was impacting their personal health. So, when you add that to the increased business of back-to-back calls, they were feeling the pressure. That is not the culture that AnswerFirst was founded in and that meant more changes were needed. As such, the increased staff they were hiring allowed for key performance indicator policies to be more relaxed for the contact center staff. They needed to allow staff to step away after a tough call or just take a breather to regroup when needed. They are even revisiting the type of businesses they partner with to be sure AnswerFirst is a good fit for them. Being overstaffed allows for more breathing room for their staff. They want their contact center staff to be able to focus on being the best version of themself and ready for the next call to provide the excellent customer service our clients have come to know and trust. AnswerFirst employees’ overall well-being was not something they were willing to compromise for business growth. AnswerFirst remains hopeful that we will see our way out of this pandemic and be a more balanced company that is living up to its vision of a healthy world filled with happy people enjoying exceptional customer care.