IT departments have always played a key role in supporting companies to achieve their business goals. Organizations that realize the competitive value of cutting-edge technology are looking for the best way to implement it creatively to optimize performance and results. However, not all have evolved to this level and still perceive IT departments as enablers rather than strategic partners.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic presented an opportunity for CIOs (Chief Information Officers) to assume more visible leadership roles as companies quickly moved to a remote workforce model. Technology was the key enabler for this transition to teleworking.
Still, businesses must plan and prepare for the post-pandemic world, and IT departments must leverage their new state to influence this.
What Are The Priorities After A Pandemic?
According to Statista, CEOs identified the top three priorities for CIOs as:
- Digital transformation (37%).
- Improved remote work experience (37%).
- Upgrading IT and data security to increase corporate resilience (29%).
What Are The New IT Priorities For Call Centers?
1) Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is a technology-centric approach to disrupting operations and customer experience (CX) through its digital application. It is a company-wide endeavor that generally requires significant changes to the organizational structure, employee skills, and processes.
What Digital Support Options Are Being Implemented?
- Live chat: Chatting with an agent is one of the most used and preferred support options, as users value its speed and convenience and contact centers can serve a much larger number of customers.
- Proactive outbound communications: Call centers that can use outbound Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to send email and text messages to users about more complex inquiries will redirect incoming contacts to the appropriate agents.
- Bots powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI): Chatbots can help users with basic questions and queries, providing the convenience of self-service.
Recognizing the importance of digital channels, many call centers accelerated their implementation during the pandemic and are likely to continue to play an important role in the new normal due to high user adoption. Contact centers with cloud solutions had a clear advantage because adding new channels is simpler and faster. The IT department plays a critical role in doing this and the cloud is the best option. In addition, the best cloud contact center software offers greater flexibility with how organizations deploy their resources.
2) Improved Remote Work Experience
The pandemic sent employees, including call center agents, home to work remotely. According to Nemertes Research, 49% of agents were working from home full time before the pandemic and since then that number has risen to 75%. And the model has staying power: more than 70% of companies surveyed will definitely or will likely continue to allow employees to work remotely in the future.
IT groups have supported this change. Previously, remote workers were responsible for providing their own Internet access, and often their own equipment, such as webcams, laptops, and headsets. Since then, IT has been tasked with providing much of the necessary equipment, as well as providing services such as home Wi-Fi assessments and advice on ISP (Internet Service Provider) plans. IT groups must plan for ongoing change to continue this level of support in the future.
And, based on your budget decisions, it appears that many CIOs already have a grip on this. Nemertes’ study revealed that IT leaders are increasing their spending in several categories related to remote work, including:
- Videoconferencing applications (52% plan to spend more), such as Enreach Meetings.
- Team collaboration (45%).
- Security (45%).
- Video room systems (41%).
- Headphones (33%).
For call centers that use cloud-based systems, facilitating teleworking is easier. Agents only need a computer and an Internet connection.
How To Choose The Right Technology?
To achieve the goals of digital transformation, enhance the remote worker experience, and improve business resilience and data security in the contact center, IT leaders should look to invest in a cloud call center platform. Open cloud platforms deploy quickly, scale securely, and easily integrate with other business applications.
Cloud-based contact center software has proven to be the best solution to allow agents to work from anywhere. Additionally, the ability to rapidly implement new digital channels positively impacts CX both in normal times and in times of crisis. And being able to dedicate resources and apply security best practices makes the best cloud platforms extremely secure. CIOs should include cloud-based contact center solutions in their plans.
CIOs planning for the post-pandemic world need to include the cloud in their business continuity plans. Cloud solutions have proven their ability to keep businesses running.
Organizations choosing a cloud contact center software provider should look to these aspects to achieve their new priorities:
- Enable remote agents.
- Manage spikes in volume / seasonality of calls.
- Geographic redundancy.
- Guarantee of high availability of the platform.
- Flexible connectivity options.
- Flexible call routing to other geographic locations.
- 24/7/365 network monitoring.
- Top support.