Optus has 7,000 sales and service employees across Australia, India and the Philippines. When the pandemic took hold, governments in the Philippines, India and Australia implemented measures which impacted their call centres, effectively knocking out 90% of their capacity.

Many Australian companies’ call centres were also impacted. Ensuring their customers could get the support they needed was more critical now than ever to keeping people and communities connected.

Perhaps their most impactful achievement was the creation of pop-up contact centres within Optus Retail Stores.

Nearly 2,000 staff from Optus Stores across the country re-trained themselves to execute messaging service delivery to help meet the needs of the nearly 400,000 customers who contact Optus every day for support – turning their stores into mini contact centres.

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said: “Optus has taken a long-term view, putting people first in all our decisions we so we can emerge from the pandemic stronger.”

The pandemic impacted employment for many in other industries in Australia, such as the travel sector. Optus recognised that these people had valuable customer engagement skills, so worked with companies like Virgin, Qantas and Flight Centre to keep their call centre staff working.

More than 600 people joined Optus, alleviating the incoming call queues from routine queries, allowing more complicated issues to make their way to those who had the technical knowledge more quickly and customers appreciated the level of support from the Optus team saying:

“The agent listened to my circumstance and found a solution for me in COVID times.”

“A very understanding response to the financial hardship our family has encountered due to COVID-19.”

While activities were outside of business as usual, Optus learned quite a bit from this experience and will be permanently implementing those business improvements that worked for customers.  

Ms Bayer Rosmarin adding: “We are optimistic that our customers and our teams will benefit from the changes we have made and the learnings we have absorbed as we strive to delight customers and keep them connected.”