Digital chai breaks, cookery classes: How Flipsters did WFH under lockdown

Topics Flipkart | Work from home | Lockdown

Technology emerged the catalyst to embrace a new way of functioning, which enabled collaboration across various teams.
Several changes to the definition of ‘essential items’ — and locations where essentials/non-essentials could be sold — underwent several changes based on government regulations, during the lockdown phase.

For Flipkart, these meant making continuous changes to its platform, especially when 10,000 of its employees were working remotely. For example, there were times when the firm was required to change the labelling of items as much as seven times in a single weekend, as it delved deeper into guidelines.

“All this was achieved in a completely different setting, with teams working from home. What was previously a whiteboard session between team members now needed to be done over virtual meetings,” said Krishna Raghavan, chief people officer, Flipkart.

Technology emerged the catalyst to embrace a new way of functioning, which enabled collaboration across various teams.

On an average day, Flipkart’s customer experience team manages over 100,000 customer interactions — a majority of these being driven by voice. While a certain number of its 5,000 customer experience executives are based in its Bengaluru headquarters, the rest of them operate out of numerous partner facilities across the country.

During the lockdown, the company modified its customer service strategy using the power of technology, to address the surge in customers’ requests. “From ensuring customer privacy during voice calls to delivering laptops and desktops to agents’ homes, we continued to provide seamless customer service across India. We now have close to 3,000 agents working from home and engaging in conversations with customers on a daily basis, in a safe environment,” says Raghavan.

The lockdown also meant there was a surge in queries regarding orders, as they were looking for fast and easy solutions. 

Flipkart trained above 1,000 agents online and helped them prepare for various scenarios. With voice being the most critical aspect, teams across units came together to provide uninterrupted customer services.

The company quickly built a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution in order to safeguard customers’ privacy, thus ensuring supervisors could log in remotely and monitor recordings and other call details. The technology team also built a ‘call-bridging solution’ that bridges the call between a Cloud-based contact centre, agent, and customer.

Raghavan said that in order to motivate and energise employees as they worked from home, several initiatives such as regular webinars on fitness, meditation, self-care, workplace ergonomics, stress and anxiety management were undertaken.

It encouraged families of employees to participate in virtual quizzes and online cooking classes. The company also encouraged employees to take a ‘digital chai break’ and share pictures of their ‘work from home life’ to help each other stay connected. The firm also customised digital learning sessions to include topics like tips to conduct a great virtual meeting, managing time effectively, and strengthening resilience. “We believe working from home is not a deterrent for upskilling and contributing meaningfully; we want our employees to come out of this phase with a feeling of personal and professional growth.”

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