NASSAU, BAHAMAS — BTC is looking to expand on its virtual store offering and make working from home a more permanent fixture of its operations going forward, according to the company’s Chief Executive Garfield ‘Garry’ Sinclair.
Sinclair in an interview with Eyewitness News noted that with nearly 90 percent of its staff forced to work from home due to government imposed COVID-19 restrictions, production has gone “through the roof”.
He acknowledged that similar to nearly every other business, the COVID-19 pandemic would have a major impact on the company’s revenue forecast for this year.
“This pandemic has had a major impact on virtually every household and business on the planet,” he said.
“People who run businesses have had to think about how we live with this pandemic and how we take what we learn and leverage that for the future and enable us to become more efficient.
”We are going to see less revenue during this year than we had originally planned and for obvious reason. Our customer base has been decimated by the economic dislocation, especially in Caribbean islands like ours so reliant on tourism. The hospitality industry has taken a beating and the retail segment has taken a huge hit,” said Sinclair.
He noted that the company is still assessing the financial , impact of the COVID-19 fall-out, adding that the company had been forced to take a serious look at non-contact interactions with its customers.
“Our digital channels have had to improve and withstand the increased capacity we are seeing go through those channels. We have several remote ways to pay, including web portals, calling in as well as mobile apps. Come June 1 we will be introducing a fast pay portal,” said Sinclair.
He further noted that the quad play provider has also revisited its brick and mortar operations.
“We have also revisited the way we look at our brick and mortar store footprint. Those have had to be closed by the various orders that the Bahamian government issued. We got up in record time with our virtual stores, gave out WhatsApp numbers, telephone numbers as well as email addresses and invited customers to contact us for all their needs, whatever issue they normally would come into a store for.”
Sinclair said: “Customers are liking that we are able to inert with them real time and resolve their issues in real time. That’s something we are going to institute permanently and reorganize our store footprint permanently, not just because we want to but also because the customers have loved dealing with us remotely and utilize our concierge services.
“They love the ease with which they can interact and do business with us.”
Sinclair also noted that contrary to the belief that having employees work from home would reduce productivity, the company has found quite the opposite. He explained that 610 of the company’s 690 were forced to work from home.
“We have found that productivity has exploded and gone through the roof. We are going to implement a sort of permanent work from home, work from out of the office situation one we get the all clear to start living with the virus as opposed to cowering in fear of it,” Sinclair said.
“That is going to be a permanent part of the way we do business. A lot more people will be working from home or certainly exercising that option because what we have seen is productivity has not suffered one iota.
“We are going to virtualize our sales and distribution channels a lot more and working from home is going to become a way more permanent fixture of the way we organize administrative facilities going forward.”
He added: “Our colleagues have shown an incredible amount of resilience, they have all been incredibly agile during this pandemic.”