Today, Economy, Transport and North Wales Minister Ken Skates thanked the thousands of people working in contact centres for providing a crucial service and supporting the mental and economic wellbeing of people and businesses.
He said they are providing “vital support” for people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Lloyds Banking Group, a member of the Welsh Contact Centre Forum, has sent 80 million emails and letters and 15 million text messages, targeting different groups of customers who may be facing difficulties during the pandemic.
It has also set up a dedicated phone line for NHS workers to help them while they look after others.
Lee Jones, head of the Lloyds Banking Group Connect hub in Newport, said:
Since the line opened on 2 April, colleagues in Connect have been able to help more than 2,500 NHS workers.
It’s our way of taking care of them while they take care of others.
The industry has had to adapt to the new stay-at-home rules, which ask people to work from home wherever possible. Many centres have adopted agile working practices.
Ventrica, another Welsh Contact Centre Forum member, has 800 employees working from home and uses communications tools, such as Microsoft Teams, to stay in touch.
Sandra Busby, managing director of the Welsh Contact Centre Forum, said:
The coronavirus crisis has left more of us needing help than at any time in recent memory.
We’re relying on our home broadband connections more than ever to run businesses, stay entertained and keep in touch, while thousands of people have concerns about outgoing bills, mortgage payments, insurance policies or planned holidays.
This is a stressful time for a lot of people and we all need the peace of mind to know that if we pick up the phone, send an email or open a web chat about a symptom, a bill or a policy, someone will be there to help.
We may not think of contact centre agents as critical workers, but contact centres have been the unsung heroes of this crisis.
Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates said:
I want to thank contact centre workers, managers and the industry as a whole for the way they have responded to this crisis.
Our healthcare heroes are performing lifesaving acts each and every day, but there are many others providing vital services not in the public eye.
Thank you all for everything you are doing to support individuals, families and businesses in all parts of Wales.