As the COVID-19 pandemic situation continues, industries are trying hard to respond to the new challenges and adapt to the new situation. The contact center industry, too, is not an exception. Although this is a never-before crisis, the contact center industry is making quick changes to their business operations to adapt to the new situation while ensuring minimal disruption to their clients’ processes and the health and safety of their employees.
Some of these changes that are helping call centers adapt to the new situation include:
With social distancing becoming the new norm, contact centers, like many other industries, are forced to transition a section of its workforce to a home-based setup.
At the same time, the work-at-home model is also allowing contact centers to rightly support the business continuity plan of its clients from various industries during the lockdown situation.
It seems that work-at-home will continue to be a part of the contact center culture for the near future. It allows contact centers to maintain social distancing in their brick-and-mortar setup while keeping its employees safe.
Like all industries, the contact center industry has to adhere to the social distancing norm in its brick and mortar setups. Typically known for its crunched office space and shared equipment, contact centers now have to reimagine their working style.
In a time when hot-seating and equipment sharing is a big no-no, contact centers have to transition a section of its employees to a home-based set up while ensuring shift timing and compliance adherence. They also have to arrange for systems and tools necessary for the job for each employee.
In the brick and mortar set up, too, agents must be assigned their systems and peripherals to avoid the spreading of infection. The agents must be seated at least six feet from each other to maintain social distancing norms.
Steps to Ensure Employee Health
While the work-at-home model will keep a section of contact center agents safe from health concerns, contact centers must also take adequate measures to ensure employees’ health and safety while working from their brick and mortar setups. Some key measures to follow are:
- Temperature check at the gate
- a thorough inspection of employee health records via a survey that indicates whether they are showing any COVID-19 symptoms
- Office sanitization
- Making sanitizers available at the gate and on each floor
- deactivation of biometric access, as it can cause the virus to spread
- Placing a sanitization booth at the gate can also minimize the chances of contamination
Allowing agents to bring their own laptops or headphone at work can also minimize the chance of infection due to using shared devices. However, contact centers need to provide the software to connect those devices to the secure VPN and track agent activities on those devices. It will help them ensure data protection, an important aspect of the contact center work environment.
Tracking Major KPIs
in this new scenario, where some employees work from home, and the rest is operating from the office, contact centers need to ensure that major KPIs are being met. For this, they need to track absenteeism, tardiness, shift adherence, customer satisfaction, and many such important KPIs across its workforce with a workforce management software that is capable of tracking agent performance and providing real-time feedback to them. It will ensure a smooth business operation amid the COVID-19 disruption.
the key takeaway from this COVID-19 disaster is preparedness. Contact centers need to achieve business resilience against any future disaster. The ability to quickly transition from a brick and mortar set up to a work-at-home setup and vice versa will allow contact centers to operate as usual without disruption when a disaster strikes. This way, they will be able to serve their clients seamlessly.
Call centers must acquire the flexibility to close one or more office locations and reroute customer inquiries to alternative locations or reallocate agents across multiple active locations or in a home-based set up within a short notice to minimize the effect of a disaster on their operations.
While no industry was ready for the pandemic situation, the contact center industry is adapting to the situation fast using a combination of brick and mortar and work-at-home model. The call centers have supported the business continuity plans of its clients the right way using the right measure at the right time. They are working tirelessly to achieve business as usual mode quickly. At the same time, the industry is also learning its lessons from the crisis and are implementing the same on their operations to ensure business resilience that will help them better respond to any crisis in the future.