COVID-19 pandemic has left the world and its economy partially injured with lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. While these are necessary measures to stop spreading the disease, call centers and customer service providers have been pushed to their limits to provide uninterrupted services. Call volumes have drastically shot up over the last few weeks. But the question is – is your contact center capable of delivering business continuity excellence when it has to abide by laws & regulations imposed by the government? Bringing in remote operations where possible in record time seems to be the only viable option.
For the anticipated future, continuing operations seamlessly will depend on how well call centers balance the demand and supply, at the same time ensuring excellent customer service.
The concept of remote operation is not a new kid on the block. So, why has it become the buzzword today? Well, because the first step in adapting to the COVID-19 crisis is to adapt to remote working. In other words, deploying a work-at-home solution as quickly as possible is the key to ensure business continuity.
A work-at-home solution can offer a call center the agility, flexibility and scalability needed to brace the crisis and excel nonetheless. With proper planning, scheduling and workforce management, it is possible to handle increased call volumes and ensure improved customer experience even during this tough time.
Taking your contact center through the sudden transition from brick and mortar to work-at-home delivery model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is an uncertain step indeed. However, with a secure corporate network or VPN access, you can quickly re-route all your customer interactions to the agent’s desktop or cell phone and continue to serve them while maintaining the same level of customer service.
Steps to Quickly Setup a Work-At-Home System
Temporarily transitioning from your on-site setup to work-from-home delivery model doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming. All you need is a well-developed and tested response plan to ensure a successful transition to work at home solution.
Steps to be followed:
Step 1 – Assessment of Basic Infrastructure
Excellent call voice quality is crucial for better communications. To ensure this, a monitoring team must be assigned to inspect each site, in this case – agent’s home. They can confirm that Wi-Fi, LAN or network infrastructure is rightly configured for guarantying Quality-of-Service.
Step 2 – High-speed Internet Connectivity
To ensure high-quality customer interaction, the employee has to have stable internet connectivity, preferably of high speed with decent battery backup. If the Internet speed is not sufficient, VoIP calls will be broken up and jittery. A separate phone line will help agents to deal with poor voice quality when the internet is unstable.
Step 3 – Secure Access to CRM
Access to CRM is essential for remote customer service. Each agent must have a VPN or equivalent technology through which they can access the CRM solution securely. Customer data is stored and organized centrally. It includes information on everything from contact details to purchase and service history. By getting the right to use the database, agents can communicate with customers in a thorough, timely and personalized way which will increase first contact resolution.
Step 4- Information flow
Equipping your agents with the right information at the right time is essential for delivering quality customer support. When integrated with CRM, social media and helpdesk systems, browser-based work at home solution software can provide at-home agents with comprehensive information of each customer when they make or get a call. This way, your agents need to log in to the system, and they are good to go.
Step 5 – Internal communication
For effective and fast internal communication between admin, agents and managers, it is a great idea to set up chat groups. Your employees can quickly form groups on Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts or any other video conferencing app to ensure seamless internal communication.
Step 6 – Login and Monitoring
The last and most crucial step in setting up a remote call center is managing login adherence and performance monitoring. It is vital for the manager, team lead, or designated authority to monitor Employee Login Schedule from home. To improve the productivity of remote agents, keeping track of their performance scores, records of the outcome, real-time monitoring and reporting are also crucial. A work-at-home employee management system can ensure superior management and effective human resource operations.
Key Features of a Work-At-Home Employee Management System
Comprehensive work-at-home employee management systems are designed for superior management and effective human resource operation. Some of the key features are:
- Automated employee login logout and attendance tracking
- Remote workforce management that works from any device and location
- Absence management, sick days and PTO tracking
- Task allocation and employee scheduling
- One centralized system of employee data, contract details, salary slip, benefits and compensation, corporate news, training and qualifications requirements
- Encrypted connection, sensitive information masking and VPN for data transfer security over voice, video and chat.
In this present unique situation, preparing your on-premises call center to provide a work-at-home call center solution is no longer a matter of choice but is crucial for ensuring business continuity. Implementing real-time workforce management, enabling you agents with the right support, and keeping your geographically dispersed team on the same page by providing them with crucial information about the customer are the keys to transitioning a predominantly on-premises call center to a successful work-from-home set up within a short time.