The Post-Covid Contact Centre: Are You Ready to Embrace Changing Customer Contact?
The impact of COVID-19 will bring far-reaching change to all aspects of society. But in the world of contact centres, that change has already taken place.
When the world changes, we can either try to deny it, or we can embrace it. The impact of COVID-19 will no doubt be far-reaching, bringing change to all aspects of society. But in the world of contact centres, that change has already taken place.
Let’s face facts, COVID-19 has forced unprecedented change upon businesses the world over. That change has not only disrupted the working day as we know it for many, but it is also likely to have lasting implications for all areas of an organisation. And the contact centre is no exception to this.
Change has already happened, it’s time to embrace it
In fact, the customer contact has already changed beyond all recognition, with 89% of UK contact centre leaders state that the COVID-19 crisis has changed the contact centre industry forever.
Firstly, customers have been forced to use the internet for everything – and it turns out, they like it. Customer experience (CX) is no longer just about answering emails and calls, unless you’re catering to a specific demographic. It’s all about providing a dependable and consistently great customer experience.
Secondly, companies that used to believe that working from home was a euphemism for “bunking off” or an opportunity for employees to slack without supervision, have since embraced home-working – mostly because there wasn’t really an alternative. During the pandemic, 77% of contact centres had 50% or more of their employees working from home and found that it works. It turns out that if you trust your people, they have a habit of being trustworthy.
Whilst efforts are being made to enable workers to return to offices, with precautionary measures such as hand sanitiser and physically distanced workstations being introduced, the reality is that we won’t all be returning to the office. Certainly, we won’t all be returning to the contact centre floor – we’re not all going to fit anymore. Contact centre buildings, with high desk occupancy and more people per square foot than general-purpose office space, can’t continue under new guidelines.
Enabling the contact centre of the future
So, what will the contact centre of the future look like? To establish an effective post-COVID contact centre, we will need to ensure it lies at the heart of your company’s digital transformation strategy and enable the following:
– All agents and supervisors can be home-based and connected over the internet
– There is secure connectivity for apps – GDPR isn’t going away just because we work from home
– The remote contact centre remains integrated with office systems
– Increased use of self-service and automation, whilst still using people where they make the most difference (transactional interactions vs out-of-process interactions like complaints)
– Increased use of digital media for handling voice calls, emails, and web chats
With this in mind, it’s important to turn attention to your current contact centre platform and ask yourself if it can do what is required to support the contact centre of the future? A contact centre platform moving forward will need to:
Be agile – need to be able to try out new capabilities, review and learn
Make self-service easy to do – chatbots and IVR, web chat integrated to your website
Be effective – get the right interaction to the right agent at the right time
Be efficient – reduce the number of people needed to provide great customer service
Be Cloud based – goes without saying: easy on, easy off, low commitment
… and be cost-effective!
As the world around us – and the world of work as we know it – continues to adapt to the ongoing unprecedented events of 2020, now is the time to embrace change and steal a competitive advantage. Begin by assessing your current platform and consider what you will need moving forward to enable the contact centre of the future for your organisation.
David Groves is Director of Software at Maintel
Founded in 1991, Maintel has a proven track record of delivering communications solutions and services to both the private and public sector. In that time, the company has gained the expertise to solve the challenges associated with digital initiatives, and its managed services approach ensures clients realise the full value of their technology.
This is achieved by specialising in three key pillars of digital transformation: making organisations more effective, efficient, and collaborative with digital workplace solutions; allowing organisations to acquire, develop, and retain more business by using technology to create more meaningful customer experiences through outstanding service; ensuring organisations’ employees, customers, and partners always have seamless access to their data and applications through reliable, secure connectivity.
Ongoing growth of Maintel’s cloud and managed services offerings continues to allow the company to keep supporting the increasing demands of the market.