Updates from across the region

NI Businesses - Rising to the Occasion 

Deirdre Doherty, Senior HR Manager, Allstate NI describes their response to Covid 19:  


The Allstate Technology Support Centre (ATSC) which is based in the Allstate Northern Ireland Strabane and Derry/L’Derry offices provide front-line technical support to over 90,000 Allstate employees and Insurance Agents across the globe.  Allstate was one of the first companies to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and made the decision early on to mobilize their entire workforce to work from home.  In just 4 days, all 2,400 Allstate NI were working from home, including 300 service desk employees.  During this time our Technical Support Analysts experienced a 114% increase in demand as they supported the entire Allstate organisation to get up and running to work from home.  Despite these challenges the dedication to the customer did not waiver with a 7% increase in Customer Satisfaction during this time.


Allstate’s values are deep rooted in our culture which we describe as ‘Our Shared Purpose’.  This represents who we are as a company and during this crisis the safety and wellbeing of our people, our employees and customers was first and foremost.  Within two weeks we amended our policies to enhance sick pay provisions for those who may become ill with COVID-19, we added new types of leave to accommodate those who may need to care for loved ones and we opened up new realms of flexibility to employees.  As the home working situation becomes the new norm we continue to focus on the wellbeing and engagement of our people and are developing new and innovative approaches.  In the United States, Allstate announced a $600 million payback scheme to auto insurance customers and have offered free identity protection to every customer.


During a crisis, organisations are challenged, but it is also when the actions they take matter and the values of the company shine through.  At Allstate we are truly proud of our Technology Support Centre and what they have achieved.

Adele Edgar, Customer Services Manager - Belfast, BNP Paribas on mobilising the entire workforce in 1 week!


Our business like everyone else had the mammoth task of moving to home working in 1 week, we accomplished this with support from our Solihull site, IT department and working together as one team. 


Our Belfast Operations team were fortunate as they already had their own lap tops and soft phones which eased the transition, our IT colleagues ensured VPN and system access was set up and once the necessary testing completed then each colleague could go home were any teething issues were sorted. Colleagues were in constant contact with the Team Managers in the office and IT made sure operations were there priority during this transition. On the intranet page a working from home section was created and the Belfast Team Manager’s worked together on a new policy document that was discussed with each of the staff before they left for home.


We liaised with our resource planning team to make them aware of when agents were getting set up from home to ensure minimal impact to our customers, we are lucky as our Solihull office helped to ensure that the lines were covered at this vital time and we returned the favour when they were transitioning to work from home and made ourselves as point of contact to ensure any system issues were dealt with timely and efficiently.

Now, all colleagues are fully functional working from home, customer lines are covered to ensure we are communicating and supporting our team. We were able to do this via Microsoft Teams and setting up functional teams, live chat and responses for help and support when needed then scheduled buzzes daily: mornings discussing stats, any issues , business and afternoon sessions for fun and motivation and keeping everyone engaged.


As a management team we created an engagement pack for the week, this included quizzes (name the places from the emoji’s) 10 things about me etc. and we have also asked the teams for feedback and input of what they would like to see at these sessions. Notably, we still have access to our live screens but all teams are combined  


Our  customer obsession did not deviate, we have ensured that the customer is still at the forefront of everything we do to ensure that all calls are dealt with effectively, we have multi skilled our agents across operations ensuring optimum coverage. We also have SME (Subject Matter Experts) in all area’s therefore providing a constant support to all new and existing staff. 

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