By Jesse Bird, Co-founder & CTO, TCN
To date, there are more than 525,704 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) across the United States leaving all 50 states to implement “social distancing” regulations for their respective communities, with many states declaring “stay at home orders.” As a result, many companies are advising employees to work remotely, including contact centers and collections agencies. As the contact center industry continues to dramatically adjust to the “new normal” of business communication and operations, it’s crucial to look for advanced, intuitive communications technologies to streamline business. Below are three tips on how to best optimize contact center operations during this health pandemic.
Utilize Cloud-Based Solutions
As more contact centers look to improve their business processes for at-home agents, moving business operations to the cloud is an essential step that must be considered. Migrating to the cloud enables contact centers to better manage communication services in a less costly, more streamlined and agile manner.
With cloud-based tools and services, contact centers can employ agents around the globe, enabling companies to hire “the best talent” and not the best local talent. With access to the cloud and the right tools (i.e. a laptop, internet connection and a headset) employees can be up and running within hours rather than days.
Additionally, cloud-based contact centers are scalable to all sizes and types of business. For instance, if a business grows, they can expand the services/tools they use and if the company decides to consolidate, they are able to instantly adjust their business tools and settings with ease. Furthermore, business tools that operate in the cloud are easy to integrate with existing infrastructure and deploy, enabling employees to receive instant updates/alerts and have real-time access to critical business software on all connected devices whether they are in the office, at home or on-the-go during these unprecedented times.
Stay Calm, Don’t Make Rash Decisions
Look at ways to streamline or improve processes. During a time of workforce instability, keeping track of metrics, KPIs and agent delivery objectives can be a frustrating and time-consuming task. However, taking advantage of the latest tools in workforce optimization has been proven to reduce the amount of time and resources used to address at-home agent needs and improve agents’ overall performance.
With the right workforce optimization tools in place, contact centers can reduce extra hours of work with easy-to-use, automated workforce monitoring, reporting, flagging and other flexible features like voice and screen recording, desktop and speech analytics and quality assurance that empower agent productivity and customer experience regardless of location or communications channel. By implementing advanced, agent-level customizable reporting for inbound and outbound contact centers, both agents and managers alike will have instant access to real-time data that can better monitor, measure and evaluate agent performance and productivity.
With access to in-depth data and automated, actionable insights, contact center managers can create schedules that account for work preferences, skill levels and forecasted call volumes. Additional workforce optimization tools to consider implementing during times of change and uncertainty include steady occupancy, minimized overtime and low abandon rates, to name a few.
Add Omnichannel Capabilities to Your Voice Strategy
In times of change, businesses need to be overly communicative and reachable to satisfy customer demands and assure them that everything is running “business as usual.” Voice is still king when it comes to customer service. In fact, given today’s circumstances, more people are sticking to phones and voice communication tools than ever before. Voice traffic is increasing as much as 57%. This is not even including internet calling or mobile phones. However, by offering additional omnichannel capabilities such as e-mail pay links, SMS and chatbots, contact centers can enhance their efforts and engage with customers through their preferred channel – eliminating the need to conduct additional follow-ups and outreach.
With the addition of customized, outbound omnichannel communication tools to compliment voice capabilities, agents can deploy a more tailored approach to customer outreach. If done correctly, contact center agents will be able to provide a more personalized touchpoint for customers in an effort to deliver a high level of customer service before, during and after the global pandemic.
In conclusion, during trying times, it’s crucial to remain steadfast and committed to empowering companies with advanced, cloud-based, omnichannel contact center tools that will keep employers, employees and customers connected and engaged while working anytime, anywhere. For the contact center industry, streamlining employee and customer experiences is not only a noticeable way to differentiate oneself now in an unstable market, but also a way to ensure clients’ success for years to come.