We interviewed Stridon’s Customer Success Manager - Nick King about the impact ‘lockdown’ had on our clients’ ability to continue running their businesses in the days following the Government announcement to ‘Stay at Home’.
Q: What types of clients do Stridon provide technology solutions and managed services to?
Many of Stridon’s clients reside in the legal, property, finance and wealth management sectors in the UK, with some operating additional offices overseas in the USA and the Middle East.
The very nature and profile of our clients’ business meant that most employees worked from physical offices where they could easily and securely access the data and paperwork necessary to do their jobs - remote working was used relatively infrequently.
This isn’t uncommon. Unlike the technology sector where most employees are used to working from home, our clients were predominantly office based. This is supported by the Leesman Index which indicates that that only 37% of the tech sector have no working from home experience vs 60% in most other industries – our clients fell into the latter.
Q: What was the immediate reaction and requirements from clients once the UK government forced businesses to lockdown?
Remote working was, without doubt, the most important requirement across all clients. Even before the ‘official’ lockdown date, we ensured that remote access was achievable by either upscaling the existing remote access services and/or cloud services and creating additional resources where required.
There were particular requirements for example, some of our clients needed to be able to scan documents in their file systems, so multifunctional devices had to be sourced and configured. We also had to supply additional monitors for home use which the support team set up as dual display for some clients.
Q: What were the major concerns about this new way of working?
Like most of us, I think it was the fear of the unknown. Many customers have had the experience of working from home due to transport strikes or severe weather for maybe one or two days, but this was and is an open-ended situation.
Data security was another major concern for businesses. Stridon already integrates security throughout the managed services and solutions we deliver and manage – so we knew our clients already had more than sufficient protection. Also, remote access across our clients is safeguarded by multi-factor authentication - whether employees are working in or out of the office environment, so we could reassure our customers that their client information was and continues to be protected – even when using a personal device.
Q: How did the team help customers at that difficult time?
Stridon had already started preparations for remote working before the lockdown was enforced to ensure there was little or no inconvenience to our customers, so we were not taken by surprise. Our customers have high expectations and confidence in the technical and strategic capability of the team and understand from experience that by working together we do ensure their ‘experience’ of using tech meets demands.
By having a thorough knowledge of the products and solutions implemented across all of our clients has enabled us to support our customers whether they are at the office, home or another location. Taking all of this into consideration, I believe that we have exceeded customer expectations. With Stridon’s innovative approach to integrating new technologies, and the ongoing day-to-day experience of working with our clients, I believe we have further built on the trust and confidence that our customers already have with us.
Q: Have you seen any differences with the types of services clients have been asking for?
Most of the questions received have been around security. Customers may have to use their own devices for business use, so it is paramount there be assurances that client data is secure. Consequently, while the type of issues reported to the service desk may not be dissimilar to a customer working from home, the number of calls increased by 300% in the first week of lockdown.
As we all know there has been a big increase in video conferencing during lockdown and there are many options readily available. We’d already tested and established which solutions could deliver the deep Office application integration, and that we could add cyber-security layers that would surpass our customer’s business requirements.
The solutions we provided met collaboration requirements for remote meetings as well as being excellent communication tools. This has required additional remote support and training, which the support teams have been rolling out.
Q: What feedback have you received from clients?
The feedback from clients has been very positive – both for the general ‘business as usual’ support for customers working from home, as well as the speed that we were able to get our whole client base connected and working in an incredibly short period. One client commented that they “wouldn’t have expected anything less” when I told them that all our clients were working as if they were in the office within a few days following lockdown.
We celebrate our successes as a team, and the customer experience is affected at every touchpoint, from the initial communication taken by first-line support through to call resolution followed by incident reviews by our internal key stakeholders.
“Stridon should never underestimate the value of the support they have supplied.” Finance company
“If it were not for the modern workplace implementation, we worked on over a year ago with Stridon, business continuity would have been a lot more demanding.” Legal firm
How about Stridon?
Q: Has this pandemic and lockdown changed Stridon as a business?
Being able to work from home or off-site has always been an option for us. What the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted is that we can still work cohesively and effectively as a ‘remote’ team for our clients even though we are working ‘alone’ at home every day. Of course now we have to find new ways to mix up and balance work, supporting our families and our own well-being.
The trust with our clients has been solidified – we were definitely ‘in this together’ and the whole Stridon team worked tirelessly to ensure business continuity for our customers. We continue to work extremely hard across all aspects of service delivery to ensure that, while the lockdown has its difficulties we have been effective in stabilising the customers' experience while social distancing has been in place.
Q: How does the Stridon team keep motivated and ‘connected’?
We have the daily ‘scrum’ (a.k.a meeting) which I believe has helped communication and visibility across all the teams. We also have the virtual Stridon Arms – our virtual pub with pub quiz - on a Friday night for all the family. The biggest aspect of this is socialising – to be able to break up the day with an occasional non work-related conversation! That’s not to say that we are missing the occasional nonsensical office chat!