The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has showcased the value of remote call center services for business continuity, risk relief, and staffing instabilities. All around the world, companies have been in a complete crisis management situation. For customers, they have experienced clear surprise and ambiguity. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of the individuals working in call centers and their clients to face various problems, and one of the main challenges is to get a huge call center workforce to work remotely from home.
Work-from-home staffing related perceptions are rapidly evolving. In the past few years, work from home outsourcing was associated with basic requirements like order processing or handling seasonal spikes. But the trend today has shifted towards more intricate cross-channel contacts, much like those handled previously in call centers. Remote agent staffing together with office-based staffing is poised to provide clients and vendors with a successful combination. Current progress in cloud-based call center platforms has alleviated concerns around PCI compliance, quality assurance, connectivity, safety measures, training issues, etc. The COVID-19 pandemic has, and will, definitely restructure the call center industry for good.
Read on to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing a new normal upon the call center industry and call center agents.
Even before the pandemic affected the global economy, call center operations were slowly but surely making the switch to providing services remotely. However, COVID-19 has drastically accelerated this process. A piece of research by Gartner shows that before the outbreak, almost 7 out of 10 customer service staff operated out of traditional call centers. However, post-outbreak, the situation got flipped and moving forward, it is projected that 71% of call center services will be provided remotely.
However, the rapid transition to enabling call center agents to work from home was not easy for most organizations. Given the rapid spread of COVID-19, many organizations faced difficulties in transitioning from a traditional call center to a virtual one. Many firms struggled to ship the required hardware and software to their agents' location to enable them to begin working remotely.
Moving forward, one key lesson learned by call center companies is that they need to develop the ability to thoroughly plan and distribute resources to enable a seamless transition from working from the office to working from home.
Given that the COVID-19 pandemic caused severe disruption in the call center industry, causing many services to be delivered remotely, it is no surprise that there has been increased interest and adoption of cloud technology to provide call center services. Cloud-based call center software provides many benefits for contact centers. With cloud-based software, it becomes much easier to manage, customize, and scale operations without the need for significant further investments in additional hardware. What is essential, however, is that all agents working remotely have access to a strong internet connection, which is not difficult to get in this day and age. Using cloud-based software also makes the entire process of transitioning call center agents to work from home a much easier and more seamless affair.
The adoption of cloud-based software in the contact center industry has also resulted in significant cost savings for call center companies and reduced agent turnover. Cloud-based solutions also can play a significant role in helping to automate many processes to alleviate the stress caused by fluctuating staff levels and high call volumes. Cloud technology has been proven in the furnace caused by COVID-19 and it is no wonder that increasingly more contact centers are seeing the need to adopt cloud technology to provide their services.
For call centers, the question of how to transition to a remote work-from-home environment is not the only thing to have been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 caused severe disruption in the industry and resulted in many agents having to work in a high-pressure situation while still providing the best customer experience. This ability to work remotely in stressful situations and the proper use of technology to increase efficiency and throughput has been a valuable lesson learned during the time of COVID-19, and these effects will linger well beyond the pandemic.
Providing a good customer experience is crucial if firms are to succeed in the present competitive environment. Studies have shown that over 60% of consumers will stop transacting with a business if they receive poor customer service. The expectation for a great customer experience from contact centers has never been greater.
Therefore, while work-from-home has become the new normal for contact center agents, the need to provide the best customer experience remains at an all-time high. COVID-19 has shown that human connections and an emphasis on customer focus are critical if businesses are to retain and attract more customers. Crises are seen as examples of how a firm can maintain a good level of customer service even under stressful situations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many contact centers asking their agents to transition to working from home. It has also laid bare the planning and resource management capability of many firms that struggled to transition to a virtual environment and underscored the need to maintain resilience and agility when providing services. The shift to working from home also caused an increased adoption of cloud technology, which helped many firms to more seamlessly and efficiently transition to work-from-home environments. Although the industry was slowly but surely transitioning into remote working, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the process.
Although not new, the increasing adoption of cloud technology in contact centers, virtual capabilities, and customer-centricity has gained prominence. More flexible contact centers were able to better navigate the strange environment caused by COVID-19. The companies that internalize the hard-won lessons during COVID-19 will prove more agile in future disaster situations.
Outsource2india (O2I) is a highly professional and reliable provider of a comprehensive range of call center services for over 16 years to a diverse and global clientele. We have successfully navigated the trying and testing times caused by COVID-19 and have emerged stronger with a more agile mindset and a focus on customer-centricity. We have the capabilities to provide highly professional contact center services from traditional call center set-ups or remote locations. We are also abreast of all the latest technological developments in the contact center industry and incorporate all the best practices for the provision of our services.
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