Keeping Your Contact Center Operational During COVID-19

Keeping Your Contact Center Operational During COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak is fundamentally altering the working world. Traditional contact center environments don’t allow for social distancing, making them less than ideal as the threat of coronavirus continues to loom. Additionally, shelter-in-place orders are increasingly common. As a result, much of the workforce has to stay home.

 

In harder hit areas, employees may fall ill. This could cause them to miss work, even if telecommuting is an option. Together, this all makes keeping your contact center operational a challenge.

 

Luckily, there are things you can do to improve your outcomes. If you need to ensure your contact center is there to help customers during COVID-19, here are some tips that can help.

 

Increase Remote Work Capacity for Your Contact Center

 

The best way to maintain contact center operations during COVID-19 is to increase your remote work capacity. Technologies like company-issued laptops, VPN, VoIP softphones, and unified communications can all support the necessary degree of mobility. They ensure your staff has access to the tools they need to do their job, and that’ll be paramount to your success.

 

If you’re looking for agile solutions, then cloud-based options are usually the strongest choice. Most cloud-based solutions are adaptable, scalable, and highly accessible. They provide companies with the flexibility they need to adapt to unexpected needs, including those that are resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. Your systems can remain functional even if everyone is off-premise, making it a smart choice during the pandemic.

 

Implement and Expand Self-Service Options for Customers

 

Self-service options can help you maintain operations with greater ease during the COVID-19 outbreak. They can reduce pressure on your contact center employees while also ensuring customers have quick access to critical information.

 

Options like telephone auto attendants and AI chatbots can be excellent choices. You can load answers for many frequently asked questions (FAQs), ensuring customers can learn commonly requested pieces of information without having to speak with an agent. This increases the odds that only contacts that genuinely need assistance from an employee reach one, reducing the volume of interactions each worker has to manage.

 

Plus, many customers prefer self-service options. By making them more robust and available, you are enhancing the customer experience (CX), which is a nice bonus.

 

Be Honest with Customers About the Impact of COVID-19

 

Most of your customers are going to be understanding about the fact that COVID-19 is making it difficult to maintain normal contact center operations. However, letting them know that is what is happening is a must. Otherwise, they may assume that the problem isn’t coronavirus-related and that, instead, it’s a reflection of subpar business practices.

 

While you don’t need to go into great detail, do make sure your customers understand how COVID-19 is affecting operations. If wait times for a representative are longer, let people know. If certain services are only available during specific hours, be honest about the situation.

 

By sharing information, you are ensuring no one is left in the dark. Transparency promotes greater understanding, compassion, and empathy. Your customers may be more patient if they understand that you are also experiencing hardships, so don’t hide that fact if that’s what’s occurring.

 

Ultimately, keeping your contact center operational during COVID-19 is a challenge. But, with the tips above, it is possible to maintain a degree of stability, even in unprecedented times.

Nathan Weatherford

Nathan is in charge of Marketing & Business Development at VocalPoint Consulting. Launching new marketing initiatives, planning for events, meeting with clients and providers is all part of the job.

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