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Pathway to Change - Customer Experience (CE) - Extended Opening Hours Pilot

No. 265/2021

Dear Colleagues


Further to LTB 238/21 dated 11th June. Branches are advised that following discussions with CE management, we have agreed a way forward with regards to a pilot for extended opening hours across the sites. It should be noted that participants for the pilot are being sought on a purely voluntary basis. This position has emanated out of the “Resourcing and Opening Hours” Joint Working Group linked to the Pathway to Change – delivering the Shorter Working Week and the agreed roadmap of changes involving joint consideration of the need to enhance the customer offering.

The following Joint Statement has been agreed:

Dear Colleague,

Being There review – Extended Opening Hours Pilot: Invitation to Volunteer

As you will have seen from the recent joint statement, there are some important changes being discussed for CE and we want to give you the chance to be part of this from the beginning. Our refocus plan includes extending our opening hours, so it makes sense to look at our Being There review at the same time. We promised we would review our shift patterns from the original Being There project to see what has worked well and what can be improved, although a combination of the pandemic and our temporary Home/Office working arrangements has unfortunately delayed this.

Our Joint Working Group has started to discuss ‘Being There 2’ and we all felt it would be helpful to gather valuable insight from you.

Although we have stats showing the number of customers who currently try to contact us outside of our current opening times, we know this number will change once we advertise our revised hours and customers become more aware of improved service opportunities. We would therefore like to run a pilot.

The purpose of the pilot is to:

Open and advertise new opening hours from 7am-8pm Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm Saturday and 9am-4pm Sunday.

    • Establish the volume on our 4 largest areas – Non-Account Helpline, Account Helpline, Complaints and Redirections.

    • Evidence demand which will feed into the ‘Being There’ review

    • Help us understand customer demand better which will inform what our new operating blueprint should look like.

We are looking for volunteers who would like to take part and help us gather the data we need. This would involve working different shift patterns for the duration of the pilot which we aim to start in mid-August and expect this to run until late January. Following this, those volunteering will be included in the wider ‘Being There’ review with your colleagues and therefore, rest assured that participation in the pilot would not represent a commitment, from you, to any future shift.

We are currently working on the shifts that will provide coverage for the pilot and these will be ready shortly. We will also, over the next 2 weeks, be directly talking to all of you that work on the above 4 mentioned campaigns about this opportunity. In the meantime, if you are skilled to work on any of these 4 campaigns (even if you don’t regularly work in these areas), are interested in helping and are able to cover some of these extended hours (for the period of the pilot), please email within the next 2 weeks. Similarly, if you have any questions please also email. For those of you that are Part Time, you may also be able to assist in covering some of these hours and we want to hear from you too. In addition, please note that Sunday attendance, via scheduled hours, attracts an additional rate of 0.485.

We believe these proposed changes can be attractive and will provide fresh opportunities for people to enhance their work-life balance through new innovative attendances. We do of course appreciate that change can be worrying for some; therefore, we wish to reassure you that we are looking to introduce change via agreement and ideally through the use of volunteers. You are therefore encouraged to seriously consider if these extended opening hours can help you realise better attendance patterns, including potentially fewer attendances per week.

With best wishes

Susan Howlett Andy Furey

CE Director CWU Assistant Secretary

Our CE Reps were briefed on the above developments during a meeting on Friday 25th June and they fully supported the outcome above reached via the Resourcing Joint Working Group. It follows that regular engagement with our Reps and management will be ongoing during the course of this pilot and we will jointly review the results in the New Year.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey

Assistant Secretary

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