If you had any doubt about the benefits of using a contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) solution, the Coronavirus pandemic has likely put them to rest. In the last few weeks, CCaaS solutions, automatic call distributors (ACDs) and dialers that are delivered from the cloud have demonstrated their flexibility in meeting the needs of companies and government agencies, as many organizations have moved their employees and agents from the office to work from home. In June of 2018, 16.8% of contact center seats were in the cloud, according to DMG Consulting research. By the end of 2020, DMG expects those numbers to increase to 30% - 40%, and possibly even higher.
Work at Home vs. Work in Office
One of the most frequently asked questions these days is “what is going to happen once things return to normal?” Contact center leaders are trying to determine if they should move their staff back to the office or allow them to continue to work from home once the pandemic is no longer a threat to their wellbeing. DMG expects there to be a “new norm,” and the answer to this question will be a little of both. While it may sound counterintuitive, companies with a business continuity (BC) plan that included the step of sending agents home to work using a CCaaS solution, are likely to bring everyone back to the office and then evaluate the effectiveness of their BC guidelines. Companies that had to come up with a work-at-home (WAH) BC plan and be creative in order to quickly transition their contact center staff out of the office in the wake of the pandemic are expected to allow more of their employees to remain in their homes, as they don’t want to be caught unprepared again. But one thing that is not being questioned is the benefit of having a CCaaS solution and other contact center applications such as recording, workforce management (WFM) and quality management (QM), operating in the cloud as they have enabled the transition of agents, supervisors, managers, WFM administrators, QM specialists and business analysts from the office to their homes without disrupting the flow of service and sales.
What Contact Center Managers Do Now
If you’ve succeeded in moving your contact center employees to their homes, the next priority is to provide them with ongoing support. (And if you are still striving to get everyone out of the office, find a CCaaS vendor who will give you the tools to do so as quickly as possible; many of the vendors have free offerings to help companies deal with the pandemic). It’s critical for contact center managers to take care of their agents so that they can be there for customers. Handling customer interactions in times of crisis is very challenging. Having managed call and contact centers through a couple of wars, many natural disasters and an epidemic, I have witnessed front-line staff becoming free psychological counselors, as customers are prone to share their thoughts and experiences when they reach out to address a business issue. This can be highly concerning and possibly overwhelming for agents, who are already dealing with their own personal issues and fears. To keep your agents healthy, it’s imperative to keep in close contact with them, particularly if they are working from their homes. DMG recommends that supervisors and managers revamp their oversight techniques and dedicate time every day to reaching out to each agent to ensure they are comfortable performing their jobs. Now’s the time for managers and supervisors to demonstrate flexibility and recognize their agents for the great job they do day in and out, under challenging conditions. Never has this been clearer than during the pandemic.
I will be speaking live on Wednesday, April 22nd, at 1:00 pm ET on what the ideal cloud contact center platform looks like. Hope you can join me.