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Exploring Remote Working Solutions to Combat Crisis Situations: Contact Center Stabilization

Guiding your business through a crisis requires a strategic plan. Avtex suggests implementing a four-phased approach, including Contact Center Stabilization, Business Continuity Expansion, CX Alignment and Employee Experience Calibration.

Phase 1: Contact Center Stabilization

As you take steps to ensure the continuity of your business in the face of crisis situations, one of the most critical departments to virtualize is your contact center team. No matter the situation, customers, patients, members and students still need assistance, and likely maintain significant expectations from your brand. In some cases, your customers may expect even more from you, especially as swift resolutions to issues or answers to questions impact their health, financial well-being or long-term satisfaction.

In times of crisis or unexpected increase in interactions, two main strategies exist for deploying a remote contact center team, including:

  • Innovative use of on-premise solutions: Organizations currently leveraging an on-premise contact center solution, such as Genesys PureConnect, may be under the impression that agents may only access the solution from a physical office location. Fortunately, that is not the case. There are several rapidly deployable solutions that will prepare your contact center team or entire organization to work remotely, including:
    • WebRTC soft phone at home, powered by Genesys Cloud
    • Session Border Controllers deployed on premise to connect secure work-at-home SIP phones over the Internet
    • Remote Station dial-out, to enable your PureConnect system to dial out through the PSTN to reach home users
  • Deployment of a cloud-based solution: Cloud contact center solutions like Genesys Cloud offer the ultimate in remote accessibility. Hosted on a virtual server, cloud solutions can be accessed globally via a standard internet connection. This allows agents to work remotely from anywhere in the world. Due to their virtual nature, cloud solutions can be deployed quickly and cost-effectively, and can be scaled to meet your organization's changing needs.

Each option has its benefits and drawbacks, which should be considered carefully. Time to deployment, security, overall effectiveness and cost are all elements that should factor into your short and long-term decision making.

Optimizing Your Remote Contact Center Deployment

Enabling your contact center agents to work remotely is just the beginning of a larger effort to maintain effective operations. You should also make the effort to ensure that the solution you implement meets the expectations of your customers and your employees. Exploring options for optimizing the new solution can help to ensure that agents are supported in their daily operations, and that customers do not encounter unnecessary pain points when interacting with your brand.

Viable solutions for optimizing your work-from-home contact center solution include:

  • Interaction planning: In times of crisis, your customers will have new or enhanced concerns – and are likely to take new steps to obtain resolutions. Take the time to chart out these new pathways and develop new strategies to support individual interactions and the overall customer journey. Doing so will help to limit pain points, reduce effort and minimize frustration for all parties.
  • Intelligent routing: An effective intelligent routing strategy can help to reduce customer wait times and call resolution times while improving the overall experience for customer and agent alike. Intelligent routing of interactions is especially important when agents reside in different time zones or regions, operate on different schedules or have different areas of specialization, such as account billing or technical support.
  • IVR: Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, is a critical component in experience delivery. Developing an effective IVR menu can help customers find information or live assistance quickly and easily. If you already maintain an IVR system, consider updating it to include information related to current crisis and include selections that address the most common customer questions and concerns.
  • Chatbots: Driven by Artificial Intelligence, chatbots can help customers find information or resolve issues with a minimal amount of effort and without support from a live agent. Implemented properly a chatbot can limit the strain put on your contact center staff by minimizing the number of interactions requiring agent involvement.
  • Self-help solutions: Empowering customers to resolve issues or find information independently helps to limit incoming interactions and improve the customer’s overall experience. Consider deploying self-help solutions like user portals, forums and knowledge bases.
  • Workforce optimization: Managing a remote workforce while ensuring adequate staffing and schedule adherence can be challenging. Implementing a workforce management, or WFO, solution will streamline the process of scheduling shifts, vacation time and more. Many contact center products, including those offered by Genesys, include an embedded WFO solution.

Exploring these strategies and solutions can help you maintain as much normalcy as possible during trying times.

Up Next: Virtual Collaboration and Productivity Tools

Virtualizing your contact center is just one of the steps you can take to maintain business continuity. Providing collaboration and business productivity tools is also important, especially for teams who are accustomed to working closely together, or teams that include cross functional members from different departments.

Stay tuned for Part 3 in our blog series Exploring Remote Working Solutions to Combat Crisis Situations: Business Continuity Expansion.