The findings of the survey show that 71 percent of UK contact centres were not fully ready for remote working under the lockdown restrictions.

The recent nationwide survey conducted by the global leader in cloud customer experience and contact centre solutions Genesys in partnership with a customer experience technology specialist, IST, surveyed 150 UK contact centre executive and managers.

According to the results, only 29 percent of the businesses said that their contact centre were fully prepared for remote working.

Two-thirds (66 percent) had to invest in additional hardware such as laptops, networking devices and media servers. Twenty-eight percent of UK contact centres had to purchase additional remote-working licenses and an additional 14 percent had to incorporate new automation. Increased call volumes called for new port licences which were purchased by 9 percent of contact centres.

More than 80 percent of the surveyed managers said that 75 percent of their contact centre staff transitioned to remote work and more than 50 percent of the managers said they have all of the contact centre staff working remotely.

On the other hand, around 60 percent of UK contact centre managers say cloud contact centre solutions helped their contact centre operate even better under COVID-19 conditions than under normal circumstances, with 38 percent of the managers choosing cloud solutions over on-premises software.

Mark Armstrong, sales director for commercial and mid-market at Genesys: “The pandemic has put contact centres in an unprecedented situation. Businesses needed to either move staff remote, or ensure strict social distancing regulations in the workplace.”

“While businesses were addressing the health and safety of their workforce, they also needed to deal with an increase in demand. Leveraging technologies such as the cloud has provided businesses with the tools to handle the challenge, whilst ensuring high levels of service to consumers.”

When it comes to challenges of the unprecedented circumstances, ensuring staff wellbeing was the biggest challenge to transitioning to remote working, according to 58 percent of contact centre managers. The restraints of their current technology were the major obstacle for 35 percent of the managers, while an additional 34 percent were worried about the effectiveness of their workforce.

According to interaction data from the cloud contact centre platform Genesys Cloud, UK businesses faced an increase of 33 percent in customer service inquiries between Q4 2019 and Q1 2020. To deal with the increased demand, businesses chose a number of solutions – 34 percent opted for chatbots to provide quick answers to frequently asked questions. Almost 30 percent wanted to incorporate robotic process automation (RPA) in assisting agents, while 25 percent sought implementation of voice biometrics to identify callers and save agents time.

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