This post was originally published for UC Today
The way we are living our lives has changed dramatically over the last few weeks. Our most basic routines have been affected; our morning commutes, working at the office and socialising with friends and family, are all far removed from our present reality. Despite the swift and dramatic change of circumstances, businesses still have to communicate effectively with their customers. In many cases, this is more important than ever before.
With social distancing and self isolation, your customers rely heavily on having sleek, accessible digital channels in order to gather information or solve their problems. This can put increasing pressure on your contact centre, in multiple ways. Many agents are having to work from home, and contact centres are trying to cope with interaction volumes much higher than normal, causing a strain on contact centre efficiency and decreasing customer satisfaction.
However, there are ways to help improve this situation. Below are some effective ways to help you maintain and improve your contact centre efficiency, helping you to boost agent productivity whilst keeping them safe, and improving customer experience during these turbulent times.
Add a live chat tool to your website
Despite almost all physical stores now temporarily shut due to the pandemic, most businesses are still running operations. Without the ability to pop in-store to speak with an advisor, a lot of customer journeys are now exclusively online, and will be for the foreseeable future. This means that customers still require the same level of service and care they have become accustomed to, but the removal of physical stores also removes a key contact channel, which will need to be replaced.
A live chat tool can be easily embedded onto your website, which allows customers to get instant responses for information or answers to questions from live agents. Live chat also allows agents to manage queries more efficiently, as they can handle multiple chats concurrently… particularly helpful if you are receiving higher-than-normal interaction volumes. In addition, many live chat solutions are cloud based, so your agents can work remotely and still have access to the software. Live chat can also be super fast and easy to set up, with only 3 lines of code easily embedded into your website you can be up and running within a day.
Enable home-working with browser-based console
A home-working solution is paramount for many contact centres at the moment, so it might be time to consider implementing a browser-based solution to enable your agents to effectively, and safely, work from home. A browser based solution allows agents to remotely login and work from any location. Without the need for desktop apps or downloads, a cloud-based contact centre solution is easy to use and quick to set up, letting you maintain your contact centre efficiencies despite the disruption.
There are plenty of tools on the market which also let agents manage multiple interaction types concurrently, including website live chats, phone calls, emails and video calls through the single browser-based console, helping to maintain overall contact centre efficiency even when working from home.
Offer embedded video to improve accessibility and service
Many customers will still require face-to-face communication, despite the need for isolation. Without the ability to schedule a personal consultation, offering video calls is a great way to offer this service remotely. This is particularly true for healthcare professionals, educational services and even online retailers.
There are multiple ways to use video as a contact channel. You can use a free video conferencing tool, such as Zoom, to schedule appointments and consultations with customers. This ad hoc approach is simple yet effective, especially for smaller scale businesses.
Alternatively, you can embed a video calling option into your website through Talkative, allowing customers to escalate chats or calls into video calls whenever necessary. The video calls can then be routed into a separate queue where an agent or consultant can pick it up, as they would a phone call.
With either of these options, you don’t need to worry about investing in expensive equipment either- the webcam and microphone on your laptop will work just fine. Video calling is a great way to improve your contact centre accessibility, for those who are hard of hearing or require more specialist care.
Remember to keep morale high
Contact centres are usually bustling, vibrant places to work. The whole team is normally together, making it a loud and dynamic workplace. Most contact centres will run incentives for their teams and provide communal rewards, like snacks and treats. All of this helps to keep the office culture positive and morale high, encouraging productivity and ultimately positively affecting contact centre performance.
Of course, remote working cannot be further away from what many agents are used to, making it easy for morale and productivity levels to drop. Schedule regular team conference calls, run exciting incentives and games to keep energy levels topped up. This can have a huge impact on the team’s overall performance, as a positive and dynamic culture produces happier, more engaged agents, even if they are working remotely.