The organization of work for call centers during COVID-19 requires solving new complex problems. One of them is switching to the remote work format. In order to effectively pass this period, call center management needs to restructure its daily processes. To do this, it is important to establish technical support for the staff at home, prepare for the growth of call numbers, and monitor the effectiveness of employees.
To date, more than two million cases of the new coronavirus have been registered in the world, and the forecasts for the pandemic spreading are concerning. Companies around the world are switching to remote work mode for an uncertain period. Nobody knows how long this situation will last, but it will certainly have an impact on the labor market around the world. Given such circumstances, every business has to adapt to the new realities and prepare their call centers for new conditions. Information support services will become the key, and in many cases the only channel of communication with the consumer. Their role in the company will be more important than ever.
Here is a review of the most important contact center trends during COVID-19.
Update Your Company’s Plan for an Emergency Situation
It’s good if your company already has a certain contingency plan. In this case, it is worth testing it. If not, then create one asap! The World Health Organization is constantly publishing various forecasts for the spread of the pandemic. Use them to build your own development plan. How will the support service function if 1-2% of citizens get sick and the quarantine lasts for several weeks? What if the quarantine lasts for several months? You should think about all the possible scenarios, develop a new strategy, and define the responsibilities of each employee. Discuss these plans with the staff, make adjustments, carry out technical training, and document the plan. Make sure that each team member knows their tasks within each scenario. Now that you have a plan, the first step is done.
Coronavirus and Customer Service
It is likely that the most pessimistic scenario will never occur, but now it’s important to take certain steps to minimize the future impact of the coronavirus on your contact center. One of these steps is to optimize your daily processes.
Let's analyze this optimization by using the example of a staff quality assessment team. This department has a list of daily tasks: listening to conversations, carrying out training for call center employees, individual consultations, etc.
In the context of remote work, most meetings with the staff will take place remotely. Therefore, it's time to master Zoom and hold both personal and general meetings online. Remember to record the conversations so your employees can listen to them again as needed. Besides, this is a great way to not forget what issues were discussed during the meetings and to go back to the records at any time if necessary.
Coronavirus and Call Centers: Technical Equipment for Staff at Home
For many employees, remote work is unusual, and it is likely that at first the effectiveness of the staff will drop. Remember that a remote employee does not mean a person in isolation. Provide the operators with laptops equipped with necessary programs. Don`t forget to provide technical support and stay in touch, answering all questions.
Don’t expect that all the processes will happen smoothly perfectly. You should not forget to support the operators and carry out additional training to improve the efficiency of working at home. It is also important to monitor all processes on a daily basis. If you see that some of the team members are doing better than others, make them mentors for the other operators. You will not only increase the efficiency but also raise the team spirit.
Don’t forget to inform the operators about changes in the organization of the call center in connection with the coronavirus. This does not mean planning separate meetings dedicated to the pandemic. Inform your employees about how the company is adapting its strategy and what the development plan is for the upcoming months. In the conditions of remote work, it is difficult for people to feel their contribution to the growth of the organization. Your task as a leader is to constantly remind them of their importance for the company, as well as show specific steps for development in the current environment. Each participant in the remote call center should be heard.
Get Ready for More Calls
The pandemic is a situation of uncertainty, and it is stressful for most people. As a result, the number of calls to your company can increase significantly, especially if you are from the sectors most affected by the pandemic, such as tourism. There is also the possibility that you will have to call customers for informational purposes. In both cases, employees will get more work.
How to prepare for this?
- Train the staff from related departments, such as sales. Even though their help is not needed right now, still, it is always useful to have an additional team to help the call center.
- Test the effectiveness of other communication channels: online messengers, messages on the company's website, etc. At the time of mass phoning and a flurry of callbacks, give people the opportunity to communicate through other channels.
- Automate inbound and outbound call campaigns. In case you have already automated the call center service, think over some additional scenarios of dialogue with the client.
- Analyze the effectiveness of each employee more often than usual. The faster a communication problem is identified, the more likely it is that you will not lose a customer.
Remember that force majeure situations don't last forever, the pandemic will pass, and your call center will be back to normal. During this period, your company can make a quantum leap in development and build an effective remote contact center industry after COVID-19.
The online work format is now becoming more relevant than ever. If you have never built online processes before, now is the right time to make them an integral part of your future development strategy.
If you realize that the process of transferring your staff to the remote working mode with all its requirements will take too much time you can’t afford to lose, an answer might be outsourcing your call center. Simply Contact have been providing outsourced call center services for businesses around the world for years, and we know how to organize the processes in the best way to make sure you don’t lose your customers in these challenging times.