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Faye Hall | Customer Engagement Manager, FIS
June 22, 2020
Sometimes it feels as though the COVID-19 outbreak has all but closed down the UK. But there are some businesses which simply must keep operating – those that form part of the supply chain vital to building the emergency Nightingale hospitals, for example.
Eyre & Elliston Ltd is one such company. The long-established independent electrical wholesalers have 62 branches from Dorset in the south to Cumbria and Northumberland in the north. Their 55,000 product lines are essential to tradespeople who must still attend to emergency call outs, for example, and some are involved in fitting out the new temporary NHS Nightingale hospitals built in Birmingham, Bristol, Harrogate, London and Manchester to treat COVID-19 patients.
As part of the Nightingale hospitals supply chain, business continuity is vital for Eyre & Elliston”
I’ve had the most fantastic experience with Worldpay”
Although Eyre & Elliston’s branches are still operating, head-office staff weren’t designated as key workers and were told they must work from home. One of them is Marie Ross, credit control office manager. “The first few days felt a bit like a meltdown,” she admits. “Building an office in the corner of your home is a strange experience for Eyre & Elliston staff because we’ve never had a working-from-home culture.”
Not only was there no culture, there was no infrastructure. “Our IT guys did an amazing job making it possible for us to access the servers from home. I don’t know how they managed it,” she says.
When lockdown first looked as though it was going to be on the cards, Marie did a quick feasibility check to identify the challenges that her 10-strong team would face. One critical component was how they would take payments over the phone.“The team shared a single card machine at the office which worked fine. But that clearly wasn’t going to be practical with each of us working from our own homes,” she recalls. Marie called Worldpay for advice. “They said, ‘Go for virtual payments’.”
Worldpay’s Virtual Terminal service allows the team to take payments over the phone by entering the card details via the internet using their own computer at home. Every team member can be given their own user account, ensuring that the payments are secure.
“It was the perfect solution,” says Marie. “I spoke to our Finance Director and the decision was made within half an hour of me having picked up the phone to Worldpay. It was so obvious it was the right thing for us to do.”
Thanks to Marie’s foresight, the Virtual Terminal was up and running within days of the new home-working regime. Three of her credit controllers were quickly set up with accounts and quickly learned how to use it thanks to its intuitive interface. The Virtual Terminal has been so successful that Eyre & Elliston is even considering rolling it out to its branches.
“Every element of the support we’ve had from Worldpay has been brilliant,” says Marie. From Worldpay’s advice and the speed with which the team sorted the paperwork and got our application approved, to the people who helped us set it up. The Worldpay help desk is like a dream. They are knowledgeable, true to their word, and nothing is too much trouble for them. I’ve had the most fantastic experience with Worldpay.”
So now Eyre & Elliston’s payments can be processed, albeit with a sensitivity to the pressures that their customers are under. “We have many long-standing, loyal customers and many of them are one-person businesses whose work has suddenly dried up. We are doing everything we can to support our client base as much as possible. We want to see those same customers at the other side of these frightening times. That’s why we’re doing what we can to keep them as customers by being as flexible with our payment terms as we can.”
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