The ongoing migration to cloud contact centres is continuing apace. Even before the pandemic, analyst, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for the Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) landscape was projecting that by 2022, CCaaS will be the preferred model of adoption for 50 percent of all contact centres.
The benefits of cloud contact centres are indisputable. For instance, using cloud allows businesses to avoid the cost and headache of over-provisioning – quickly scaling from a handful of agents to thousands (and back again) without downtime. This has been key during the recent Coronavirus crisis where many businesses have not only had to mobilise their workforce but have also seen unprecedented demands on their contact centre. On top of that, there are also advantages in terms of standards compliance; enhanced security and improved business continuity, which is imperative when up against shifting work patterns.
But one of the far-reaching benefits is the ability to offer flexible and remote working. This not only creates a better work/life balance for agents but also brings additional cost savings to the organisation through reduced overheads.
Act in haste, repent at leisure
The advent of COVID-19 has accelerated this long-term migration to remote cloud-based contact centre working. However, a note of caution to the wise: as contact centres move their workforces off-premise, they need to understand that there is a lot more to working remotely than equipping agents with a headset, an internet connection and a laptop.
Organisations need to ensure they have the right levels of security in place for their contact centre staff, manage agents’ performance and wellbeing, report on business KPIs, communicate efficiently and transparently as well as deliver training programmes. Coupled with this, they must make certain they provide the features and functionality needed for agents to deliver consistently high levels of service quality.
It is also important that they choose the right solution for their business requirements. Organisations that have settled for a cloud contact centre solution in haste have regretted the decision when it failed to deliver the functionality they were looking for. It is crucial that organisations investigate cloud providers and settle for solutions and business tools that provide a rich set of features and functions, supporting long-term business growth and customer service excellence.
Having the right technology is vital but organisations also need to prepare for the processes and challenges that remote working entails. To successfully manage a workforce of remote contact centre agents, businesses need to get a handle on agent performance as well as support agent progression, identifying their strong points and training requirements.
Ultimately, it has to be about utilising the workforce in the most efficient way possible and that means regular, if not continuous, engagement. It is of critical importance. For many contact centre agents, the job has become more multifaceted, requiring a broad mix of skills and specialist capabilities.
An organisation also needs to think about the agent’s working environment. Do they have the right office equipment, is the area the agent is working in too cramped or cluttered, and is their broadband connection sufficient to handle calls, including video calls?
A model whose time has come
Remote working is here to stay and organisations have done well in adjusting to ‘The New Normal’. In recent months, many have seen it working well and have recorded increases in efficiency and productivity. Some are moving wholesale to remote working, while others are looking at more of a hybrid model where agents come into the office or a branch facility on some days.
Moving to the cloud should not be seen as a short-term response to COVID-19 but instead as a long-term investment into high-quality customer service. Those businesses that see cloud migration in that way and put in place the technologies and processes to make their vision a reality will be best placed to become the customer service pace-setters of the future.