COVID-19 has disrupted every business around the world, forcing many even to shut their doors permanently. Millions of people who aren’t battling the coronavirus on the front lines are now working from home.
However, in many countries, call center agents are still working from the office. They’re inside hotbeds for the spread of COVID-19, so what can call center managers do to prevent the spread?
Given the historical surges in calls during this unprecedented time, shutting call centers down is not an option. People have an abundance of questions regarding their health and safety, and call centers need to be available and responsive.
So, what can you do to minimize call center health issues and ensure business continuity?
Before getting into the useful tips for minimizing infection, let’s explore the most burning question of every call center manager.
This question has sparked a lot of conversations lately. But is there any truth to it? Rob Locascio, the CEO of LivePerson, seems to believe there is.
“What we ushered in is, really, the death of the call center,” he said in an interview with the CNBC.
But this is nothing new. For years now, the death of call centers has been the subject of numerous articles. Ever since the rise of automation and AI chatbots, experts have been predicting the demise of call centers.
During this challenging time, it’s precisely AI that helps most people get answers to their questions. Call center operators can’t physically answer all the incoming calls, but chatbots can simultaneously interact with hundreds of customers. Also, they’re available 24/7, as they don’t need food or rest.
So, to avoid much-longer-than-usual wait times, people turn to AI chatbots for help.
But there’s another huge change affecting call centers these days – the shift to remote work.
Many companies are even looking at remote work as a permanent solution for the future. Facebook started planning for permanent remote workers, shortly after Twitter and Square announced a permanent WFH policy. Shopify is the latest company joining the remote-work ride.
Other businesses are certainly considering the shift, too, since it brings some excellent benefits.
According to a Global Workplace Analytics report, businesses can save $11,000 annually per each remote employee. Employees can save $2,000-$7,000 a year when working remotely.
Although it may seem that call centers are doomed in the wake of COVID-19, they still matter – a lot. They’ll still be invaluable in the future, even after this whole virus situation is over.
That’s because people will always need a human touch. Live chat, instant messaging apps, and AI bots are quite useful, but they’re not always the best option. Sometimes, you just need a human agent to answer your questions and solve a problem.
All the news saying call centers will become obsolete? Forget about them. Call centers are, and always will be, very important – not only in e-commerce but also in every other industry.
You certainly see that they’re essential now. You can be sure they’ll continue to be even after the pandemic when everything returns to normal.
But to ensure business continuity, you need to be aware of the following call center do’s and don’ts.
The following are the most vital steps for preventing the spread of the virus in your call center.
To avoid any call center health issues, you must regularly disinfect the workspace. Keep all the desks, chairs, computers, headsets, and other equipment and surfaces perfectly clean at all times.
Ensure safe distances between workstations, as well as in break rooms. Everything should be safe if everyone practices social distancing.
There’s no better way to minimize the spread of COVID-19 than to launch a remote-work initiative. Allow your agents to work from home, and you won’t have to lose sleep over any call center health issues.
As already discussed, you’ll also significantly cut your costs. Employee morale will be higher, as your operators will feel safer at home. Higher employee satisfaction also leads to better customer experiences.
Cloud-based collaboration tools are a must if you allow remote work. They’ll help you stay connected with your team and streamline the workflow.
You’ll boost productivity and efficiency, thus providing better customer support.
Whether your agents continue working from the office or not, outsourced solutions would greatly reduce their load.
Some of the key factors with call center outsourcing are cost reduction, high responsiveness, and 24/7 support.
AI chatbots will also significantly reduce the burden on your agents. They’ll help manage the call surges, improve customer experience, cut costs, and reduce hold times.
Long wait times are one of the worst communication tactics that kill customer experience.
Chatbots will also enable proactive help because AI can monitor and analyze calls, live chat conversations, and other interactions. They’ll uncover the most common questions and growing needs, analyze the patterns, and predict issues before they take place. They’ll bridge numerous gaps in knowledge.
This trying time affects all of us in many ways, especially call centers standing on the front lines. So, it’s time to unite our forces and stand together.
Underground Teleservices can provide you with top-notch solutions for outsourcing your call center.
Our highly-skilled and extensively-trained call center operators pack years of experience in the field. They serve customers with incredible commitment, dedication, empathy, and professionalism.
Contact us today if you need any help with managing your call center – we’ll be more than happy to help!
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