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The COVID-19 pandemic has been an event like none we have witnessed in our lifetimes. The nature of it – a virus which kills and incapacitates indiscriminately, shutting down economies as it goes – has created too many a tragic story. There have though, been some tales that have emerged from the catastrophe that have been positive and have the power to inspire as the tentative steps out of lockdown are taken.
One such tale took place in a small Scottish town on the outskirts of Dunfermline called Kirkcaldy. It involves a small but ambitious call centre, a community desperate for work and a most tenacious team of recruitment professionals.
VeriCall are an outsourced contact centre which provides customer and social service support, directory services and virtual receptionist services. At the time they approached Search, their 350-capacity facility had only 50 operatives on the phones and the goal was to take on new clients and fill those empty seats.
With just one contract with 118 on their books and continually losing out on business to larger, more established centres, the original plan was for Search to help with onboarding new clients. This all changed when it became apparent that COVID-19 posed a graver threat to the country than many had realised, and Britain went into lockdown.
As the crisis deepened, NHS 111 contacted VeriCall, overwhelmed as they were with people ringing to seek advice on all matters coronavirus related. Almost overnight, VeriCall found themselves clambering for operatives.
Fortunately for VeriCall, Search were already onsite and began working instantly. With a clever deployment of social media and the power of referrals, Search provided VeriCall with 150 extra operatives working shifts so the phones could be manned 24 hours a day.
Fortunately for Scotland, the virus was contained to a level that the phone calls soon dried up. However, for VeriCall, it meant that a 12-week contract was cut short. Again, Search stepped up and managed the downgrading of the operation, but before that operation was concluded, healthcare company, Circle Health, approached VeriCall requesting support with the Track and Trace scheme.
Once again, operations were ramped up and Search procured the services of a further 250 operatives. With social distancing rules requiring strict adherence, Search helped VeriCall throughout the process of bringing in new hires and provided the training needed for them to carry out this essential function before they were sent home to work.
At the peak of the operation, VeriCall, who only months previous had only 50 operatives on the phones, now had 400.
With a fortnight to mobilise the bulk of the placements, the outreach for candidate attraction was based on speed and two vital ingredients: Facebook and word of mouth.
The combination of staff entering furlough coupled with a social media savvy team meant that Facebook’s ‘Jobs in Fife’ page proved prime hunting ground for candidates. And from that initial outreach, word of mouth – particularly among a cohort of furloughed staff from an Edinburgh-based household name – meant referrals became a key part of the process. Coupled with a slick telephone screening operation, the challenge was met.
The partnership between VeriCall and Search is a model example of what happens when two like-minded, tenacious, and ambitious companies come together to overcome a major challenge.
Within the frantic two-month period, VeriCall met objectives that had been projected for five years hence and their outstanding performance attracted the attention of new clients. Moreover, during a uniquely difficult time, they provided much needed employment opportunities to a community that had been hit hard by the virus.
As Search had provided such a critical role throughout, their relationship with VeriCall was fortified and the two companies are set for a great future at each other’s side.