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How to maintain customer service in challenging times

Due to the unprecedented situation of COVID-19, many businesses are struggling to maintain their customer service standards while complying with social distancing rules.

B4B Payments, who offer businesses smart, flexible payment solutions, were one step ahead of the cashless trend and recently shared their insights into maintaining customer service whilst co-hosting an online panel with PIF (Prepaid International Forum.)

During the first few weeks of the UK lockdown, demand for customer service surged as the UK public were unsure how nationwide restrictions would affect their day to day lives. Essential businesses who were still able to open, struggled with the demand for digital payments, as the government advised to limit the exchange of cash where possible. B4B Payments have been providing their services to help businesses with outdated payment systems to be able to offer digitised payment options. CEO of B4B Payments, Paul Swinton said, “We have always digitally engaged with our customers, and now with less time spent on commuting we have more capacity to identify opportunities where we can help customers.”

B4B Payments were able to effortlessly transition to working under the government’s new guidelines as they had created a COVID-19 crisis plan when news of the virus first hit UK headlines. The team were forced to put this plan into effect early when Paul learned one of his team had been exposed to the virus.

Early adaptation for remote working ensured his team were ready and prepared to quickly adapt to working from home. For example, each team member had access to well-configured technology to ensure they could work from home safely and productively. Technology the business is currently using includes Slack, VOIP telephony and signal encrypted chat software.

When the government announced working from home was essential, B4B Payments were able to confidently assure their customers they were offering business as usual. On the priorities of the company Paul said “Most importantly, robust steps had been taken to control the potential spread of the virus and to protect our valued staff members and their families. Our second priority that day was to underpin services offered to clients.”

In fact, the B4B Payments team were so efficient at transitioning to remote working, Paul has raised the question of how easily and willingly workers will transition back to the office environment. He explains, “We were concerned that some people would find it uncomfortable, but we are seeing quite the opposite…We need to be very aware of this because the crisis could trigger a shift towards more home working. Businesses will need to think carefully about this and develop interim plans.” Employees may be reluctant to return to a workplace due to fears of public transport and because they have enjoyed the flexibility that comes with remote working.

As a company who offers financial solutions to businesses, B4B Payments are no strangers to dealing with sensitive information about payouts and anxious clients. During this time, the demand for charities to deliver prepaid card solutions to those in need has skyrocketed and B4B Payments are working tirelessly to ensure these payments can be made. Paul ensured every member of the B4B customer service team had refresher customer service courses to ensure they could help vulnerable, scared customers during this unprecedented time. He explained why these refresh courses were essential to his business as “With these rapid digitisation projects come many thousands of potentially very vulnerable cardholders who may need technical and other help from our customer support team.”

Of course, with COVID-19, businesses who were well prepared for the pandemic are not just scrambling to provide adequate customer service, they are quickly adapting to the new measures to enhance how they operate as a business. B4B payments, for example, are finding faster and efficient ways to adopt a pragmatic response to emerging client queries. As businesses are more readily available to discuss their specific needs during a pandemic, B4B Payments have found they are able to quickly spot ways they may be able to help a business.

So, how have B4B Payments managed to maintain their customer service standards during the pandemic? The answer lies in the early adoption of fintech. Paul explains “We all agree that it hasn’t been a massive change for us, but that’s because we sit in this highly innovative fintech space.” The pandemic may encourage more businesses to adopt cashless solutions in the future so they can stay ahead of the curve, rather than waiting for them to be enforced.

If you’re interested in hearing more about how B4B Payments have navigated customer service during the pandemic, watch the full digital panel here.
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newsroom Sports & Leisure

Sports after COVID-19

COVID has changed everything. The pandemic, which has swept the globe and affected nearly every country on all six continents, has caused cities to lockdown and normal activities to stop on a scale that has never been experienced before in living memory. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel – cities are now beginning to adapt to ‘the new normal’ and things are gradually opening up.

So, how does ‘the new normal’ affect sports? Competitive sports are loved by people all over the globe. In normal times, we flock to stadiums to watch our favourite football or rugby teams. But with some games being dubbed ‘super spreader events’, what is the answer for playing and watching sports during and after COVID?

Some competitive sports have already started to be played again, with strict testing and isolation procedures for the players. At the moment, no spectators are allowed in venues.

Undoubtedly, a lot will change. Social distancing will need to be undertaken by everybody involved in games for quite some time and this will cause a range of economic and social factors. Let’s look at some things that might change.

Virtual reality will become more common

Virtual Reality, or VR, helps people to see something as if it is actually taking place, and there will be a lot more of this as time goes on. Whether that be 360-degree photos on Facebook or fully immersive video, it will become much more normal to see games through this lens.

Journalism will focus on local sport

COVID is a time when everybody is looking inwards, focusing on their local area and what it has to offer. During the pandemic, it is harder for journalists to travel to report, meaning they may be more likely to focus on small, local teams rather than large-scale national reporting.

Athletes will seek independent forms of employment

It is projected that contracts for athletes will decrease, meaning that they will need to find other ways to fund themselves. They might become influencers, using their platforms to talk about certain topics and making money from sponsorships.

Coaches will become more tech-savvy

COVID is made much easier by technology – from the fact that we can pay using contactless cards to the ever-growing amount of TikToks to keep us amused – and coaches will undoubtedly become more tech-savvy throughout this crisis. During the pandemic, big decisions have been made over Zoom meetings, and with the pressing environmental crisis that will remain after the pandemic, this might be rolled out permanently.

Therefore, during and after COVID, coaches will likely rely on apps to communicate with their team members, draw up timetables and even train remotely.

School events will become important

Schools will need to adapt to playing sports safely, but they are likely to be children’s main involvement with the sporting world for some time. Sporting education in school will be crucial to the physical and mental health of students, as will education into different types of sports and advice on sporting careers.

Payments will change

Additionally, teams will have less funding and find themselves having to adapt in order to find the money to pay their staff. B4B offers safe, easy to use payment solutions for sports teams around the globe. Our contactless, prepaid business cards work anywhere where Mastercard® can be used, and can easily be topped up and utilised by players and organisation-staff alike.

Our prepaid card solutions are great for staff members earning anything from a few hundred to thousands of any currency a month, and they can be used to make payments across the globe. They are a fantastic way for any kind of sporting enterprise – from grassroots campaigns to full-scale sporting events – to organise their money better and reassure people of their job security during this difficult time.

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company newsroom Uncategorised

Powering through the Covid-19 crisis

“When the wind of change blows, some build walls, others build windmills.” Chinese proverb.

Do you know who’s powering along during the Covid-19 ‘crisis’? Fintech company B4B Payments is, and here’s how:

Thursday evening; a dreaded text

B4B CEO Paul Swinton was notified that one of his team had been exposed to the Coronavirus. Fortunately, the company had a Crisis Plan in place. One they’d wisely updated when Covid-19 first hit the headlines. Advance preparations included making sure all the team had access to well-configured technology designed for remote working. Including securely held systems on the Cloud. An email had already been sent to clients and other contacts saying B4B Payments was ready and well prepared to keep operational if the worst did happen. So, B4B was already equipped to offer ‘Business as Usual’ when the virus got too close.

Thursday evening part 2; so it begins

With a click, Paul activated well-considered protocols. All staff were told to start working from home with immediate effect. The Tech team responded by setting up a Whatsapp group to provide them with support and advice, and a way to ask for help.

Friday; getting things into perspective

By 9 am the whole company was self-isolated at home, ready for action and online. They were also displaying their strong sense of unity and community in this challenging time. Paul Swinton, B4B Payments CEO said: “Most importantly, robust steps had been taken to control the potential spread of the virus and to protect our valued staff members and their families. Our second priority that day was to underpin services offered to clients.”

One week later; windmills all working

The team, using a selection of tools including Slack, Trello, internal VOIP telephony, and Signal encrypted chat software is now a true ‘digital workplace’, connected online and powering along as efficiently and effectively as ever. That’s been achieved without compromising any of the comradery and team spirit that makes B4B Payments a first-class employer. Instead of banter around the coffee machine, the team now communicate, collaborate and just ‘chat’ in the virtual realm. Clearly, fully adhering to the self-isolation and social distancing advice from the Government and NHS. All proving the power of preparation, positive thinking and being agile.

Which brings us to another insightful quote: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin

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