No Business Remains Unaffected
It's safe to say the pandemic has had a significant impact on all business, regardless of their sector, size or customer base. One of the biggest challenges has been the switch to long-term remote working.
Whilst remote working will have been a relatively easy switch for some business to make - whether this is due to a small workforce or an already implemented flexible working policy. It has challenged a lot, and those business with an extensive workforce, such as contact centres have felt the pressure more than others.
When the government originally announced we should work from home where possible, makeshift offices popped up everywhere. From dining room tables, to breakfast bars and even taking over the kids playroom we all rushed to provide ourselves with a suitable workspace.
With the pandemic stretching for longer than any of us anticipated, slowly our makeshift solutions became slightly more permanent, with the purchase of office chairs, maybe even a desk and VPN. We've become used to working effectively over video calls and platforms like Microsoft Teams.
But what about the wider business impacts? How do we deal with IT support issues, staff management, scheduling and even security. All of these need to be addressed as homeworking becomes a more permanent fixture in our working lives. And how do you begin to move an entire workforce that is so reliant upon the technology in their place of work, like a contact centre, to remote working.
The Homeworking Benefits for Contact Centres
Taking a step away from the potential business pitfalls, the positive benefits of homeworking for contact centres far outweigh these.
Social distancing is a real challenge in the contact centre sphere particularly with some having in excess of 1000 staff, something that is easily addressed with homeworking. Not only does this protect staff from a potential Covid outbreak, but also protects your business continuity and reduces even non-covid related absence levels.
Homeworking is also great for improving employee engagement. A more flexible approach to work and a greater work-life balance enables employees to manage their home life more efficiently when it comes to things like child care.
Recruitment and retention also see a huge improvement when homeworking is introduced, no longer do high-calibre candidates need to reside in your geographical area. Without the strain of a long commute employee retention is improved.
The Challenges of Homeworking
Homeworking doesn't come without its challenges, particularly in a large scale operation such as a contact centre. Some of the main challenges identified are;
- Performance visibility
- IT security and support
- Coordinating virtual teams
- Efficient forecasting and scheduling
- Workforce motivation
- Accessing customer data
It's important that your solution can address these challenges, particularly the ones that fall under a more 'legal' umbrella such as compliance and data access. Failure to adhere to proper guidelines around these can see substantial fines for businesses.
Facilitating Homeworking for Contact Centres
Contact centres can be a large scale operation, and it's imperative that a move to homeworking is addressed in a calm and consultative manner. The technology used will be of critical importance and training, support and even recruitment need to keep the remote aspect in mind.
Whether your customer engagement is CRM led or CCI led, solutions need to dovetail and integrate well with existing systems to provide an enhanced end-to-end user experience. Improving both the experience of the agent and customer alike.
From an agent and support level it's also important that your homeworking solution is intuitive. Ease of use will help your agents adapt to a new system quickly ensuring there is no drop in productivity levels and mitigates unnecessary strain on your IT team.
Whilst transitioning large workforces to remote working can seem a daunting task, the pandemic has shown that this is something that needs to be a key consideration for the future. By taking the time to find a remote working solution that perfectly supports your business you are not only safeguarding your employees but future-proofing your business.
Wavenet are a Next Generation Systems Integrator who specialise in Cloud Contact Centre services which can be accessed from anywhere. Wavenet deploys customer experience solutions that empower advisors to work remotely and streamline business processes to embrace working from home, the office or on the go.