“The real competitive advantage in any business is one word only, which is people.” - Kamil Toume, author and thought leader.
When Elavon, like everyone else, had to adapt to the pandemic, it meant rising to the greatest challenge of our working lives. This we proudly and ably achieved, because of our people.
From five core sites in Warsaw, Arklow, Madrid, Oslo and Frankfurt, we quickly adapted to almost 700 offices – each one in our own homes. We didn’t let it impact a single one of our core standards: maintaining our 99.9% up-time, authorisations for our customers and technical support around the clock in 12 languages, all while maintaining our data security integrity.
“In the beginning, we were unaware the situation was going to change so quickly, and I don’t think we realised it would be so large – touching every economy and changing our lives,” explains Jagoda, who has worked for 15 years in our back-office operations team in Warsaw. Jagoda’s husband Dominik works in customer support.
“Many of our customers were telling us they were afraid,” says Jagoda. “Worrying if their business would survive, if they would have to dismiss employees or close their business completely – all very serious decisions.
“I’m proud that as a business, we reacted quickly and were able to support customers where we could – which my team was heavily involved in, as we made the changes to customer accounts to allow them to take payments through mail order or over the phone, for example. These were seemingly simple things that had a big impact.”
When home and work unite
For a time, Jagoda’s home became host to three offices – alongside the fun of raising boys (see right).
“I have three sons – Olek, Damian and our eldest, Wiktor, who had to move home suddenly when he broke his leg during it all,” explains Jagoda.
“We had a separate office in every room. It was another unexpected situation, but we did it together!”
Piotr has been with our technical support side of the business in Warsaw for just over a year, in a team operating 24 hours a day.
“Our night shifts are from 10pm to 6am, so being in reach of a warm bed certainly was tempting,” says Piotr. “Thankfully, I have a dedicated space for a home office which means I can take calls without annoying anyone, and my huskies, Luna and Juno, warm my feet by sleeping on them while I’m working!
“But, honestly, I’ve been motivated to work even harder, seeing how important our work has been to help customers in the circumstances they’re facing and how much difference we can make when we do our job well.
“To help, we did all we could to speed up our process,” says Piotr. “We contacted customers directly to meet the changes needed, streamlining our communication across departments so we were faster, more agile and more effective than ever.”
This included increasing the autonomy of support agents, which allowed our helpdesk team to make easier upgrades to mobile card machines for customers needing to quickly switch their payment methods.
Customer first and time for family
“We provided paper rolls so no-one had to go out and buy them, and pin pads for desktop terminals so they can better distance themselves from their customers to protect each other’s health,” explains Piotr. “We provided mobile card machines to companies who had to do a very fast switch from in-shop sales to delivering goods to customers’ doors, and we informed customers on ways they could move their business online.
“Our approach has always been ‘customer first’, but now we needed to go that extra mile to adapt to something none of us expected, and I’m proud to say we delivered.”
“One of the biggest challenges was, of course, the number of refunds that our customers were having to process,” says Christiaan (above right), who works in our Premier Team in Arklow. “Elavon quickly responded to the new norm, and we played a vital role in making sure these were processed and released for our customers as quickly as possible. We also communicated with our customers and made sure we offered what support we could.
“Elavon has made sure we can support our customers in many different ways through these times, and it’s been welcomed very much,” he says.
"Working from home... was unthinkable"
“I’m pleasantly surprised that working from home has worked out so well,” adds Christiaan. “We've had coffee mornings online to keep us in close contact with one another, daily huddles and team meetings through video conferencing; everything and anything we can do to adjust and ensure our customers know we are here for them.
“Having kids, it’s not always easy to manage working from home, but I’m enjoying the benefits of not spending as much on petrol and time driving to work, which in return puts fewer cars on the road and is better for the environment.
“We've learned a lot from our kids during this time, including some very fun moments using TikTok together. I’ve also taken up a new hobby: I'm now a drone pilot.
“I’ve been going out to film footage and see the wonders of my Irish surroundings through the sky… when it’s not raining.”
“Six months ago, working from home for customer service was unthinkable,” says Lyan (above right), who supervises Customer Services in Madrid. “Now we're not only working from home, but we're also safely at home and thriving. Productivity and quality of results are great. Customer feedback is as good as always and people are engaged with their work, unaffected by the new routine.
“Personally, I was very afraid at the beginning,” admits Lyan. “When I saw the news that they were closing every bar in Madrid, I definitely understood we had a huge problem. It would take something very bad happening in the world to close the bars and stop the football in Spain.
“While I’ve never feared for my own safety, I was more worried about those I care for. Some of my family and friends are more vulnerable to disease than others.
Putting people first
“The reaction from Elavon was great: it was quick and always put people first. The company has always proven that our safety is important. Everyone worked to prepare teams to work from home, guaranteeing our safety and the quality of our attention on our customers.
“There have been elements of this time I've loved, like working at home with my younger brother, Javier,” says Lyan. ”We live together and have both been working from home. It’s been great to see more of each other day to day.
“We have our ‘war camp’, as we call it, together – both with laptops, screens and keyboards. It’s been a very good experience for us both, something to make us happy during this sad situation.”
All of our teams are real people, facing the same reality as you and your customers – so we understand what you’re going through, and we’re ready to help. If your business needs support, talk to us.