Why remote contact centres are crucial during COVID-19

Posted on October 20, 2020

Contact centre

Mads Fosselius

By Mads Fosselius, CEO, Dixa

In these trying times, it’s not surprising that many customer service teams are feeling overwhelmed.

The COVID-19 outbreak forced many organisations to go from business as usual to working from home almost overnight, and many companies are still reeling from the effects of this.

Quick action has been required for organisations adapting to the “new normal” as they continue to serve customers, and this has meant that many companies are still playing catch-up.

Naturally, this has also had an effect on many organisations’ technology needs. Thankfully, SaaS solutions make it far easier to switch to remote working than you may think.

Through this pandemic, cloud technology is enabling customer service teams to do their jobs from afar in a climate where the message to work from home has been clear, do not come into work unless you absolutely, unavoidably, have to.

Only 34% of UK white-collar employees have gone back to work, according to Morgan Stanley, and that 69% of employees in London have not returned to work.

Clearly, remote working shows signs of sticking around. So, what should organisations consider as they continue the transition from an on-premise contact centre set up towards enabling teams to work remotely?

Unify communication channels, workflows and processes

Part of the answer lies in future-proofing your contact centre. In order to achieve this, organisations need to choose a customer service software solution that allows them to fully unify channels, workflows, and processes. The right technology allows for this consolidation, making your set-up far more nimble, especially when it comes to working remotely.

Plus, by migrating your infrastructure to the cloud, IT teams and organisations as a whole gain more flexibility and the means to integrate with other systems. This makes unifying data, optimising processes and offering an agile experience much more achievable.

Additionally, unlike on-premise solutions, cloud-based customer service solutions don’t require any hardware or ongoing maintenance and can be adjusted in real-time without any code injection or assistance from IT.

This makes you far more flexible, and if you’re worried about the switch disrupting customer experience, the ability to keep existing email addresses and phone numbers, through number porting, removes potential hiccups. Cloud-based solutions also enable agents to deliver unified cross-channel customer service regardless of where in the world they’re located, so long as they have an internet connection.

Be transparent with customers

During these unsettling times, many businesses’ customers are feeling uneasy. If you’re making dramatic technology changes internally, be transparent about what your customers may experience as a result. This can help you to better manage their expectations and alleviate pressure on customer service teams as a result.

Make customer data easily accessible to agents

When customers reach out, they want to know that the agent knows who they are and what their history with the business is. Failing to show this level of personalisation only serves to intensify their concerns and signals that their inquiry is not being taken seriously.

In a remote set-up, it’s not as easy as placing the customer on hold and popping over to a colleague to ask to be filled in on a particular situation. This is why it’s crucial that customer service software can easily track customer interactions across different communication channels. Whether a customer has called, emailed, messaged, etc., agents should be able to see the latest interactions, along with any relevant customer data that can help provide more context, such as order number or delivery status. In this way, they can provide personalised and superior service.

Speed up problem resolution through empowerment

When running your contact centre remotely, it’s important to empower agents to act independently to speed up resolutions for valued customers. Having to constantly coordinate with co-workers or managers only keeps customers waiting longer. Another thing to be aware of, is encouraging agents to communicate to customers with empathy. This can go a long way towards ensuring impactful, positive customer experiences.

Ensure your customer service solution can scale

Through the pandemic, we’ve seen many organisations let go of staff; shift to remote working; and we’ve seen websites crash with eager customers attempting to access goods or services all at once.

These types of situations have consequences for customers as well as agents and signal that organisations will need to be far more flexible going forward. Quality customer service software helps support teams cope with fluctuating workloads as well as pay equal attention to every communication channel, ensuring no customer goes unanswered.

Implementing the right solution will set up organisations’ customer service teams for successful remote working now and into the future.

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