Flexibility meets adaptability: since the start of the pandemic, Lufthansa InTouch Istanbul has been a fully virtual Service Centre.
W hen the Covid pandemic hit last year, many of our colleagues were moved to home-office. In Istanbul, this was done on an unprecedented scale: all Turkey-based colleagues are now working from home, making Istanbul a fully virtual site.
“With our home-based setup in Istanbul, Izmir, and Antalya, 50% of our staff members were already working from home prior to the pandemic”, says Dilek Acikgoz, Site Operations Manager Lufthansa InTouch Istanbul. “This made Turkey the ideal location to serve as a pilot for running a fully virtual Service Centre”.
Operating a 100% HBA (Home-Based Agent) setup brings advantages in the competitive customer service market in Turkey, leads to significant cost reduction, and has various benefits for employees.
“Being able to offer the flexibility of an HBA setup was a strategic direction already before Covid. The pandemic was the accelerator of this process; it triggered the move to 100% HBA setup in Turkey”, says Robert Dobschal, Chief Finance Officer Lufthansa InTouch. “What started as a response to the need for social distancing and cost reduction has evolved into an agile setup for the future”.
LH InTouch Istanbul is currently in the final phase of the strategic project of developing a concept for a fully virtual Service Centre. The aim is to create a blueprint of how to lead, steer, and manage the operations remotely.
Aside from significant cost-saving for the company, employees benefit from the elimination of the time-consuming commute to the office and better work-life balance. The virtual structure can even create opportunities for more interaction among colleagues located in the three different cities.
“With many valuable experiences gained — from technical equipment and training, to communication and leadership — other sites may also benefit from our learnings in future”, says Dilek. “The goal is to create a work concept for the future that allows for some in-person contact while still maintaining the benefits of the HBA setup”.