How Comensura leveraged automation and analytics for its new remote model

Recruiting and managing a workforce of temporary and contract staff can be a challenge in the best of times. Covid restrictions could have made this tougher even for specialist hiring agencies but what has emerged is a story of tech-enabled resilience.

Comensura, headquartered in the historic British town of Luton, is a ‘master vendor’, catering to the temporary, permanent, and contract labor requirements of over 120 public and private organizations in the UK and Australia. The company, according to its website, is entrusted with managing more than £700 million (nearly $920 million) of its customers’ recruitment budgets each year.

Since its inception in 2001, Comensura has been able to stay on top of a competitive ecosystem by recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t all that smart when it comes to managing complex staffing requirements. Comensura offers custom solutions for companies to choose from depending on their unique needs. It was all smooth sailing until a few months ago.

As Covid constraints swamped businesses across the globe, Comensura also witnessed noticeable changes in customer support demands. Alex Webb, Systems Admin Manager at Comensura, told Freshworks that for some companies and services “phone calls and tickets have gone up while some have stopped because there’s no more demand.” Dealing with these changes requires “a new analysis system—new job types, new people, new suppliers, so that we can see that as they come in.”

Following the government mandate for companies operating in the pandemic, Comensura closed its offices in March. Lockdown restrictions forced the company’s more than 60 agents to join the work-from-home bandwagon. But technology, including Freshworks’ flagship helpdesk platform Freshdesk, helped make the shift a walk in the park.

According to Alex, it was an “easy and seamless transition because we don’t need to have access to your internal ID system. You can just access Freshdesk from any computer. So that made the change really simple for us.”

Before the pandemic, many companies tended to decry employees working from home but now there has been an overhaul in that kind of thinking because “everybody has risen up to the challenge to work from home, and that has made this transition really easy,” he said. Referring to Freshdesk, he added, “It’s really helpful to have a platform that doesn’t stop us from working from home.” Freshdesk’s remote customer support software allows companies to manage their remote support teams from anywhere with ease.

Before Freshdesk, emails made for Comensura’s primary communication with customers. For Alex, the problem with emails was that “you can never really track what was going on.” 

For Comensura, the ability to quickly route queries from their clients to the correct group and agents, and resolve them efficiently, is what great customer service is all about. Real-time tracking of the tickets raised for the queries is an integral part of it. Trusted by more than 40,000 customers worldwide, Freshdesk’s cloud-based ticketing system packs a punch. With features like automated daily reports going to the management as well as personalized filters (‘Customer Responded’, ‘Overdue’, ‘Response Due’, and ‘New’) to sort tickets, Freshdesk has enabled Comensura to forge new ways of working in the remote workspace model.

“The introduction of new multi-channel support Freshdesk technology at the end of 2018 has created greater accountability and efficiency for our customers, and has also enabled us to identify and reward our best performers,” said Hoa Ngo, Managing Director, UK, Comensura. “This integration is part of an ongoing strategy to use technology to find a smarter way to work for us and our customers.”

For businesses trying to adapt to drastically changed customer needs, Alex puts a premium on the twin pillars of automation and analytics. 

“Firstly, automation is a great feature because it allows you to prioritize. As soon as the ticket comes in, it gets identified as an email address or user or company, whatever it may be. And then you can flag (it) as urgent through automation,” he said. “Another one would be analytics. It gives you a really good, quick view of what’s happening where so you can quickly see trends changing.”

With the help of analytics and automation, Comensura can not only view real-time information about the spike and drop in customer demands but also predict possible issues along the way.

To stay ahead in this dynamic market, companies need to predict trends and customer interactions even before they happen. For Comensura, the next step, therefore, is incorporating Freshdesk’s live chat feature with phone support. In a remote work environment, there is a greater reliance on support. And while phone lines get busy if one person is on the call, live chats can engage multiple customers at the same time. Alex sums it up rather nicely when he says, “it’s easier just to get on a live chat to someone rather quick.” 

After all, with the pandemic transforming customer needs and demands with unprecedented urgency, speed can be a make-or-break factor in the UK outsourced recruitment (or managed service program) sector, where over 35,000 agencies compete in a £39 billion market.