8 Ways to Prepare Your Operations for the Future of Contact Centers: Part 2
How Embracing A Work from Home Workforce Can Leverage Your Success
Articles published June 12, 2020
Preparation for seasonal impacts, volume spikes, and isolated events can help organizations prevent minor disruptions from becoming major disruptions. With consistent and fluid policies and planning, you can ward off massive hold-ups to your productivity and performance – ensuring that you continue to deliver an excellent customer experience for your clients. By incorporating foundational processes that ensure flexibility and responsiveness, your company can go beyond a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and truly be prepared for anything.
Pandemic or not, change will happen. Impacts of change can be short- or long-term, have positive or negative effects, and can improve or tear down already set in place systems, practices, and policies. Your best defense against change is not to protect yourself from it, but to be prepared to react to it. So, where do you begin?
A business’s ability to respond to change, and its effectiveness in that response, depends on your capability to manage these factors:
- Identifying the change and understanding its source.
- Assessing the impact of the change in both short- and long-term frames.
- Planning your response and resources.
- Executing with the right resources at the right velocity.
- Managing the transition and return to a steady state, whatever that might look like on the other side of the change.
Consider that this state represents standard operational readiness, with your business empowered to recognize changes sooner and initiate stronger, more effective responses. On the surface, it sounds like a Business Continuity Plan (BCP). However, your business should implement strategies that go beyond traditional BCP practices and are fundamental to day-to-day operational challenges.
In most contact center work environments, operations are well-equipped to manage levels of business change. In fact, it’s a basic rule of Aureon Contact Center that managing daily variances in workload requires constant monitoring and calibrations in staffing levels. Advanced tools can trigger alerts, drive auto alignment, and deliver modelling that accurately predicts trend data. By proactively managing intra-day staffing levels, Aureon Contact Center responds to peaks and troughs in an efficient manner. One factor to consider is your capability to cross train agents and flex skills to support periods of high volume. The flexibility afforded by multi-skilled agents supports not only meeting service standards, but provides a basis for succession planning, career development and the opportunity for agents to earn additional compensation.
More and more contact center teams are including remote-based agents either in virtually networked operations or work-from-home status to provide continuity and staffing flexibility that is required in today’s ad hoc environment.
By being able to deploy services with virtually no disruption, our Clients experienced almost no interruptions during the days of transition surrounding COVID-19. The following key practices enabled this capability:
Protecting Your Company’s Data
While management of data security is an essential function of technology teams, the specific methods deployed play a key role in ensuring company intelligence is not compromised in work from home models. Establishing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) with MFA credentials is the most secure access to company information. This enables a company to be confident that vulnerabilities are managed in the work from home environment. Providing secure platforms such as virtual meetings software for remote workers is an essential component of managing your company’s data security.
Ensuring That Employee Skills Are Networked
Using multi-service hubs with clusters of home workers creates the opportunity to effectively multi-skill some positions. Training “floaters” to provide additional capacity at short notice allows for coverage during absences and supports the ebbs and flows of call volumes. Ensuring processes are well-defined and consistently practiced provides for scalability and a quick and seamless transition under any circumstance.
Maintaining A Connection with Our Remote Workforce
Maintaining a connection with our work from home employees is paramount and much different than managing employees face to face. Supervisors and managers should receive management training and coaching specifically to lead remote workers. Alienation is always a topic of discussion with remote workers, and Aureon Contact Center encourages virtual breaks using video tools to create regular contact as well as virtual video meetings for connection between on-site and remote staff.
Acknowledging the Client
Research tells us that 56 percent of customers feel more loyal to companies who show a deep understanding for their priorities and preferences. Now more than ever, it is imperative for your customers to feel heard and cared about when they express frustration and are seeking a solution. By creating a nimble and prepared workforce, your team can maintain their focus on your number one priority, your customer, and consistently provide them with the service they need most with personal touch.
At Aureon Contact Center, we have implemented operational processes with a diversified workforce that supports our ability to remain flexible and scalable. In other words, our model was uniquely suited to address the unique and unprecedented challenges of COVID-19. Prior to March, 75 percent of our Clients had some level of support with our Home Agent Program. That quickly scaled to 100 percent coverage within several days and culminated with all agents being home based after 10 days due to crucial decisions stemming from COVID-19.
With the right combination of key solutions and structured preparation, Aureon Contact Center has remained committed and focused on our Clients through this challenging and unforeseen time. By building resilience into your processes and procedures, your organization can also experience this same success.
Is your company prepared for the unexpected? Better prepare your business with Aureon Contact Center solutions.