This story was originally published on July 29, 2020.
Savi Mylavarapu started the year off with some of the best news of her life – she was pregnant.
Around the same time, the TD Bank teller also heard rumblings of this new virus called COVID-19. Like so many, she didn't know what the impact would be here in the states, but she was sure that her new baby had to come first.
"Since I was already a high-risk pregnancy and the impacts of COVID-19 were unknown at the time, my doctor told me right away I couldn’t work in the store," she said. "I was very worried – not only about COVID-19 but about possibly losing my job and my insurance."
This roller coaster of emotions continued for Savi until she was offered the opportunity to be retrained for a temporary assignment to work from home for the Contact Center.
"I can't tell you how much peace of mind my Retail manager and this opportunity offered me," she said. "I had some hiccups with the systems and software at first. But the Contact Center managers helped me work out the kinks and accommodate the tech set up changes. Everyone was very supportive and responsive."
On top of this opportunity, TD Bank announced earlier this year that no job losses would come from COVID-19 in 2020. Savi was one of nearly two hundred to employees on leave who were given the opportunity to return to work and retrained to serve our customers from home and during this time. She said the experience has given her a deeper appreciation for other colleagues at the Bank.
"Contact Center colleagues are literally gods," she joked. "I had no idea what they go through or deal with daily. It's changed the way I myself will interact with other call center representatives in the future. It's even helped me better understand the things we can and can't do for our customers in the stores."
Meagan McCowat was dealing with family concerns of her own when COVID-19 hit the New Jersey area.
Much like Savi, 2020 had started off on a high note for Meagan.
"I had just passed my life insurance exam and been promoted when all this started," the Financial Services representative said.
But when the virus began to spread in March, McCowat knew her mother's health and safety would be her priority.
"I was nervous to go to work because I live with my mom and she has a compromised immune system," she explained. "My Retail manager worked with me between my PTO and leave to make sure there was never a lapse in my pay."
After that, she was also offered the opportunity to work from home for the Contact Center and has used this time to further her knowledge of the customer experience.
"I've learned what they can expect when they call, how we can support them with online banking, and how the Bank runs on the back end to make it all possible," she said.
During COVID-19, we've seen extraordinary support of one another amid a global pandemic and that's trickled down to the customers, McCowat said. She added that they've been surprisingly gracious and understanding during this time.
"Store closures, especially in New York and New Jersey, have been hard on our customers but we work with them to find solutions and they appreciate that," she said.
Both Savi and Meagan were both trained virtually over a handful of days in May and will continue to work in their new roles until the end of the fiscal year in October, unless they are needed at the store and can come back amid health requirements.
All those that were retrained to work from home for the Contact Center were mailed a laptop, keyboard, headset and phone. The employees were also eligible for a temporary internet stipend to help pay for those costs.
"Working from home has been an adjustment, but a good one," Meagan said. "The only issue I run into sometimes is my dog barking in the background, but I tell customers he's saying, 'Hi' and that usually makes them smile. Overall it's been an incredible learning experience."
"This unique program is a perfect example of our 'One TD' culture in action," said Adam Montague, Manager, Initiatives and Strategic Solutions, who led the program for the U.S. Contact Center. "I was so impressed but not at all surprised at the level of commitment and customer focus from our Retail colleagues. One of the greatest things about this partnership has been sharing with them the different ways the Contact Center accomplishes our shared commitment to support our customers."
"I always knew that our store colleagues were full of talent and I've been so inspired by their willingness to jump in and support the bank whenever and wherever needed," said Jim Grimmer, Head of Delivery Excellence, Consumer Distribution. "Our store and contact center colleagues are truly the face of TD, and I am so appreciative to both teams for their commitment and flexibility during this time. Watching these colleagues come together to deliver Legendary experiences for our customers is the definition of 'One TD.'"
Much like Meagan and Savi, Financial Services Associate Lissette Cheng had someone extremely important to worry about when COVID-19 hit – herself.
Being in a high-risk group and working from a store in Manhattan, one of the most densely populated areas in the country, was simply not an option.
"As soon as the President declared a national emergency, I contacted my manager and Human Resources right away," she said.
On top of that, she said that as the pandemic spread, she saw "more and more customers coming in that had just been laid off."
"It was a huge sigh of relief for my coworkers and I when the company said there would be no job losses," she said.
Also, when Lissette heard about this work-from-home opportunity, she was excited to flex a different skill set.
"I also have a new-found respect and appreciation for our Contact Center teams," she said. "It’s a different perspective for sure and our specialty support teams, like tech support, really handle so many different types of calls."
As states begin to slowly open back up, Lissette is proud as ever to wear the TD shield.
"When crisis happens, you see the best or the worst in people and organizations. TD showed us their best. They really walked the talk and I applaud that. They have truly been stellar since the start of the pandemic," she said.