When COVID-19 meant that companies had to change the way they operated, most thought they were prepared with business continuity plans. However, some were well prepared and others had to establish remote work capacities to allow employees to work from home.
The new reality is that people need to be able to work from anywhere (#WorkFromAnywhere) without compromising the productivity or security of the organization, while offering a consistent and satisfying customer experience.
Many organizations are gradually returning to the office, but there is no guarantee that there will not be a second wave of the virus, or another situation in which contact center agents should be able to telework.
Cloud-Based Solutions Will Dominate The Future
Before COVID-19, the vast majority of officers came to an office every day where they were surrounded by colleagues, supervisors, and managers. It is more than likely that the future of work is very different and may adopt one or more of the following characteristics:
- Most people will work remotely most of the time.
- There will be divided shifts so there are fewer team members in the office at one time.
- Some workers will return to the office full time.
This will create a strong need for flexible and agile systems that can support agents, supervisors, and managers regardless of location.
The cloud is the only infrastructure option that will offer the kind of flexibility and agility required to deliver a consistent and engaging experience for all staff members, as it improves the availability of applications and infrastructure, and eliminates the management burden on the IT team.
Key Benefits Of A Cloud-Based Contact Center Environment
1) Cost Savings
Cloud-based infrastructure eliminates capital investments in infrastructure in people’s offices and homes, in case they choose (or are required) to work from anywhere. With a cloud-based environment, the physical location of team members becomes irrelevant, as everyone can access the same systems and applications.
Call centers have a wealth of valuable information, including credit card details and customer purchase history. This information must be protected in accordance with the Privacy Law and other relevant laws. Cloud-based contact center, or call center as a service (CCaaS) environments include built-in security features that maintain data protection, giving businesses the peace of mind that customer data will be secure.
3) Constant Customer Experience
Customers who interact with the call center should have a constant experience, regardless of whether the employee is in the office or working from another location. This means that the information must be available to the agents and the company must be able to offer a fluid experience.
Agents don’t just need a phone and a customer relationship management (CRM) system to work from anywhere. All of these elements of the contact center ecosystem contribute to the customer experience. Cloud-based systems make that information available to all employees, no matter where they work from, offering a consistent experience.
4) Transparency And A Committed Workforce
When employees work from anywhere, it can be difficult to tell if they are being productive, focused on work, and providing a solid customer experience. Using a cloud-based system with voice, text, and desktop analytics capabilities generates detailed information about what agents are doing.
With a cloud-based contact center solution, Artificial Intelligence (AI) based metrics can be used to measure agent performance not only in terms of traditional productivity but also in terms of the impact of customer-focused behaviors.
5) Training For Employees
Employees who work from home do not have the benefit of a nearby supervisor who can listen to their calls and offer real-time advice. This means that training has changed because it is no longer possible to take advantage of the social capital that is created when trainers and agents interact face to face. Engagement of the workforce and automated quality measurement solutions help companies identify key areas for improvement that need more training.
With AI-based metrics, managers can analyze whether agents are listening and being empathetic, and whether they’re building strong customer relationships. This approach makes it easy to see which agents need additional training and who is performing best. Gamification can help deepen employee engagement. And these same tools must be available to employees in the office or at home.
6) A Technology-Proof Contact Center
A cloud-based solution can help the call center continue to deliver exceptional experiences even as technology evolves, without having to invest in expensive and on-site upgrades. For example, the collaborative nature of work is expanding to include the client. In this evolving field, the cloud is the cornerstone of collaboration, communication, and availability.
What Is The Future Of Contact Centers?
Digital transformation is already a reality, and it is being implemented faster than anyone imagined. Some statistics suggest that the industry has accomplished it in just eight weeks.
As a company emerges in the changed business landscape, call center employees must be able to work from anywhere, or the organization risks not being competitive.
Agents must deliver consistent and satisfying customer experiences, empowered by training and incentives, and supported by technology that automates parts of the customer service task that free them to focus on more complex, high-value interactions. This ability will be critical in any contact center to reduce costs without compromising the customer experience.
It is also essential to consider how to integrate new and emerging technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality in the call center, with perfect compliance with sector regulations and best practices.
Cloud-based solutions provide the ideal answer for companies seeking to make their call centers more flexible, while improving the quality of customer and employee experiences.