By Mark Hodgson – Managing Director, Tremark Associates
I wanted to update you on how Tremark are coping during the current epidemic and how our services and staff have been affected during the government lock-down.
We like any reputable business have a business continuity plan in place, but I am not sure that any business can say that they were 100% ready for the current situation. Having already put hygiene procedures in place within the office, we stepped that up and began to mobilise quickly when it seemed that getting staff to work from home was going to be required.
Thankfully I, and the other directors already work remotely on a regular basis, so practical knowledge and secure software for working from home was no problem. Our main obstacle was hardware, for example, whilst we had a number of laptops in reserve, I quickly discovered that we didn’t have enough with the required Windows 10 Pro software installed to kit out the full team. Thankfully though, we were quickly able to source what we needed, all the equipment arrived within days, and we were able to begin migrating staff to work from home from around the 15th March, before the government implemented the lock-down.
There has been a real ‘can do’ attitude from every person working within Tremark. The camaraderie between us has been incredible.
Communication between us has been key. Externally our telephone system has been fully operational, so all calls have been answered very quickly. Internally our lines of communication have been clear after trialing a couple of video-conferencing products and suffering a few frozen faces and loss of sound, we have settled on Zoom for our daily team meetings and even for a remote Friday beer or wine together! We also occasionally have the odd little guest who appears on screen during mummy or daddy’s work call to say hello to everybody.
We have great people at Tremark, but I have to say that the way they have all risen to this challenge, and some of the feedback we have been getting from clients over the past five weeks fills me with pride. (Click to read them here!)
Operational ups and downs
Operationally we have seen approximately a 35% reduction in ‘people and asset tracing’ instructions. I am not really sure why this is, but assume it is because the end clients for these products tend to be lenders who perhaps have either taken a decision to hold some debt recovery actions or perhaps operationally they are just not able to instruct at the current time. We have used the extra time created to completely review and relaunch our Asset Tracing Products. This has been well received and we are happy to have already seen an increase in instructions in this area.
Process Serving instructions have remained steady, whilst we have seen a reduction in instructions from one or two of our regular clients, we have picked up an amazing 127 new instructing clients and already dealt with over 800 new instructions since the 15th March.
Our guys in the field have been adapting the way they work to ensure the safety of themselves, the people they meet and their respective families.
We are getting through the work quicker too. Our average required visit times are down as the people we are trying to personally serve are generally in on our first visit, and with the roads empty we are getting to and from locations much quicker. This has helped us deal with the loss of some of our usual process serving resource, with some agents self-isolating or rightly, not working to protect and screen a family member who has an underlying health issue.
To assist our operational process servers, have all been able to extend their own geographical areas to cover areas of weakness. So far, we have been able to undertake every instruction given to us since the 15th March.
With most of our clients working from home we are also really pleased to see 95% of our instructions now coming in PDF format via email. I really hope that this trend continues as it speeds up administration and delivery times and dramatically reduces unnecessary printing and confidential waste.
New Leicester Office
During the lock-down we have even opened a new office, with Ken Robson moving from London to head up a new midlands base in Leicester. The new Leicester base will create a clear geographical link between our city of London and Leeds offices. Experienced process sever Richard Lessing joins the business in London and will be operational as soon as it is safe for him to complete his training.
To end, I’ll say that whilst I am not so sure that this lock-down will end any time soon, I am confident that we at Tremark are well prepared and are able to continue offering our clients an exceptional service. In the meantime, please stay safe, listen to the advice and take care.