Contact Center Intelligence: Unlocking the Opportunities Hidden in the COVID-19 Crisis

2020 has been tagged with every adjective — it deserves no further introduction or attention. Yet during all the 2020 dark days, some unique opportunities emerged for those who made moves to the cloud. Especially those who unlocked the power of serverless architectures.

One of the bright stars to emerge during this difficult year was the launch of Contact Center Intelligence (CCI) solutions to help enterprises manage the losses and complexity precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic and the resulting restrictions highlighted the need for enterprises to invest in a remote workforce, and to learn how to work remotely with skill.

The pandemic left many contact centers, even those with well-crafted disaster recovery plans, scrambling to develop a response strategy. The virus set the stage for the overwhelming impetus for enterprises to change the way they do business.

According to a study by Nemertes, remote contact centers are now here to stay. Based on this permanent change, organizations must now focus on improving customer satisfaction, simplifying quality management, boosting employee satisfaction, and cutting costs — without being able to address the technology and humans in one place.

Our team sat down to think about the past year and to organize our point of view. Here are our top seven strategies to help organizations make the most out of the crisis with a CCI investment.

Seven Strategies for Building Resilient, Future-Proof Contact Center Operations

1. Distributing your Workforce

At the height of the pandemic, enterprises that invested in distributed operations and home-based infrastructure fared better than those operating from brick-and-mortar locations. 

For this reason, enterprises must invest in dispersing resources across the map and deploying at-home resources. Using a hybrid model with both physical and remote workers in the future can maximize the diversification and flexibility of resources, skills, resource pools and locations. In this way, contact centers can deploy agents for various support and volume needs and tap into far broader recruiting and training pools, to improve the strength of the team through diversity, and to even achieve time zone benefits. 

2. Future-Proofing the Organization

Organizations have to be ready for the next crisis. Disasters will happen, whether man-made or natural, and they will draw large volumes of support.

Service capabilities enabled by remote workers allow organizations to deploy emergency staff during times of distress and to throttle back more quickly without needing to call team members to on site locations.

3. Prioritizing Digital-First

Contact center leadership must now prioritize digital transformation tools. Customer-facing organizations can no longer afford to keep these tools on the back burner. Leaders must realize having the right digital tools is necessary now that they’ve had to deploy solutions quickly. 

Automation, messaging, AI-enabled learning, and cloud-based systems should become a mainstay in the contact center. Mixing agents and technology has allowed organizations to cut costs and increase contact resolution, customer satisfaction, and employee productivity. Contact center intelligence tools are at the forefront of the digital-first move.

4. Expanding CX Self-Service

When the pandemic hit, it took a lot of effort to support the urgent needs in every facet of life. There was a triaging of human resources to arising emergencies that made self-service a critical requirement. Online FAQ, smart IVRs, knowledge bases, and chatbots became essential call deflection solutions. Now these tools can be made better, more friendly.  Use AI to improve the sentiment and customer experience of automation now that the crisis is easing.

Moving to self-service enables organizations to get a lot more service capacity going into the future without increasing labor. The advancements made to date allow customers to get relevant information quickly without going into the voice channel. But we can make them more durable and permanent by making them better.

5. Rethinking Security Policies

With the growth of remote work in the contact center, there is a need for security policies to adapt to the new normal. Organizations can, therefore, use these technologies securely. 

Video monitoring can help organizations have more flexible working arrangements without driving up costs. IT leaders now have to rethink their approaches.  If you can make it secure in a dispersed environment, you can make it more secure across the board for all users. 

6. Restarting the Sales Engine

For the foreseeable future, in-person sales will continue to dwindle. As a result, untargeted sales strategies will be insufficient because of tight budgets.  

Organizations can leverage advanced analytics in the form of sales, sentiment, topic, and theme correlation to help target the most qualified leads and retention opportunities and to identify best practices that lead to better sales and service outcomes. By pairing the perks of analytics with an optimized in-house sales team, organizations will increase the speed and ability to close. 

Having remote sales agents will allow for more flexibility. Agents will need to connect with customers for cross-selling/upselling, replacements, and renewals as organizations lean toward distributed operations and locations.

7. Rethinking Agent Training and Agent Assist

Training agents is one of the critical requirements of good CX. Post covid in a remote work environment, organizations have to reimagine the new hybrid model’s classroom environment. In this environment, agents work both remotely and on-premises. In addition, AI based agent assistance techniques in the forms of next best action and agent knowledge base screen pops can accelerate learning for newly trained agents.

Going forward, organizations have to leverage digital solutions, such as AI-driven training, and AI driven work tools with practice scenarios, gamified learning, and real time assist. Contact center leadership has to embrace existing and emerging virtual training methods through personalized, self-paced training and on the job assistance tools, supported by personal check-ins and ongoing assessments.

Conclusion

Mobility restrictions occasioned by the pandemic have changed the way organizations operate. Contact centers have been in the thick of it. Enterprises can leverage Contact Center Intelligence tools to thrive in the new normal by using robust call center analytics tools. 

For more information, learn more about Call Center Analytics.