Delivering through disruption: how contact centres can prepare for the unexpected with built-in adaptability
Paul Thomas, Vice President & GM EMEA, Nice inContact
There’s no escaping the fact that 2020 was a testing year for businesses. But, while it looks as though they’ll have to continue dealing with disruption for a little while longer, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
As well as presenting challenges for businesses to overcome, crises such as the global Covid-19 pandemic also provide valuable opportunities to reflect, reassess and rethink how things are done. By going through this process, businesses of all sizes will be better prepared for whatever happens next. They will be able to take a long-term view, instead of relying on short-term fixes.
As we look forwards, building agility and adaptability into their contact centre operations should be key priorities for businesses of all sizes. In fact, they have become essential to conquering unexpected disruptions and capitalising on new opportunities. Agility and performance now go hand-in-hand, requiring contact centres to embrace new digital tools and ways of working that empower them to be truly agile.
Ultimately, investing in built-in adaptability has never been so important. This is what will give contact centres the tools to succeed despite whatever shock or surprise may be around the corner. The big question is how can it be achieved? In today’s digital-first world, two core technologies – the cloud and data analytics – provide the answer.
All about cloud
Throughout the uncertainty of last year, contact centres had to find ways to adapt quickly to serve customers who were anxious and seeking help. The number of interactions was significantly greater and traffic was unpredictable. For example, at the start of the pandemic overall call volumes to contact centres rose by 300% in a matter of days, further jumping to 800% by the later stages.
This was further complicated by the enforced shift to remote working, something which is likely to continue for some time. This all points to the need for flexibility and resilience – which is where the cloud makes all the difference.
Embracing a cloud-based infrastructure can give contact centres the agility they need in today’s environment. It can support remote workers by giving them access to all the tools they would usually have access to in the office, as well as enabling contact centres to quickly and seamlessly onboard new agents from anywhere.
Having a cloud platform in place can also deliver flexibility when it comes to adding and integrating new service options. This will empower contact centres to quickly adapt to changing customer trends, such as the accelerated preference for digital channels that has been seen over the last 12 months.
According to a 2020 benchmark survey, 62% of contact centres reported an increase in digital interaction volumes during the pandemic, prompting more contact centres to offer channels such as online chat, mobile apps and social media messaging. At the same time, contact centres recognised a need to embrace the cloud; 66% of respondents plan to accelerate their move to the cloud as a result of Covid-19.
In short, the power of the cloud can’t be ignored. As well as ensuring a seamless WFH model and enabling a broad mix of service options, the integration of cloud technologies provides the ultimate level of adaptability and resilience. It’s what will empower contact centres to thrive in a post-Covid-19 world.
Clearly, understanding the evolving customer and responding accordingly has become more important than ever. In fact, it’s now one of the biggest drivers of business differentiation and success.
Being able to do this effectively requires advanced data analytics, which can provide contact centres with the real-time insights they need to adapt. At its core, analytics enables contact centres to keep their fingers on the pulse of what customers want. Most importantly: what expectations do they have and are those expectation being met? By using data in the right way – such as by combining customer experience (CX) and operational data – adaptability can become part of any contact centre’s DNA.
For example, data analytics can help contact centres proactively act on changing customer trends faster than their competitors. It can also uncover and detect the root causes of new issues before they impact customer service and more efficiently manage spikes in customer interactions, all of which will drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.
In today’s world of constantly shifting requirements and ongoing disruption, having access to these actionable data insights as quickly as possible is vital to achieving consistent growth and ensuring business continuity. In fact, it’s this – combined with the flexibility and resilience of the cloud – that will power the successful contact centres of the future.
These technologies will enable businesses to quickly adapt to changing circumstances by providing the built-in adaptability required to conquer surprise disruptions and capitalise on new opportunities. The world may be increasingly unpredictable, but the tools to help contact centres adjust on the fly and proactively respond to the unknown are well within reach.
Paul Thomas is Vice President & GM EMEA at Nice inContact
NICE inContact world’s No. 1 cloud customer experience platform CXone combines Omnichannel Routing, Workforce Optimization, Analytics, Automation and Artificial Intelligence on an Open Cloud Foundation.