Like many call centers around the world, your operation was most likely damaged by the pandemic. When you rely on a significant number of workers to offer excellent customer support, it’s challenging to guarantee efficiency and safety during an ongoing crisis. Although your current outlook may seem grim, you can implement a series of safety measures to maintain a healthy workplace and remain productive.
The first step to providing a safe environment is to enact an extensive cleaning session that will eliminate the virus on all contact surfaces. Your office space, break room, conference areas and restrooms should be thoroughly sanitized. There are several things you and employees can do to improve conditions during a crisis, but cleaning your building should only be performed by professionals. Choose a trusted contractor for coronavirus disinfection services that follows CDC guidelines and employs effective, state of the art techniques. The best times to disinfect your business are after the employees leave and before they come to work.
Employees that test positive for the virus must be quarantined to avoid further infections. Mass infections have resulted in numerous shutdowns across the globe, and although a scaled-down workforce is less productive, a closed business nets zero profits. It’s essential to find out if the sick worker had close contact with any other employees, and if they did, further quarantines might be warranted. However, the only way to be sure that the other employees are unaffected is to have the entire staff tested for the virus.
Your call center cannot operate effectively in the same office layout that existed before the pandemic. Desks or cubicles must be spaced at least six feet apart in all directions, and conferences or employee meetings should only take place online. Most call center owners had minimal problems with socialization among employees before the crisis, but it’s wise to reiterate the seriousness of the current situation and forbid your workers from socializing in the office or break room. Persuade your people to use video chats or phone calls to chat during the breaks and downtime and mandate a strict mask policy around the office. Most states and municipalities have mask mandates for public areas, and you’re not asking too much of your workers to follow the same guidelines at work.
To avoid any potential for contamination, you can eliminate all of the shared items in your office and break room. If you use silverware or plates in your break area, you can replace them with disposable, single-serving items. Your refrigerator can no longer accommodate employee’s personal food, but you can suggest that each employee brings a small cooler for their perishable lunches. You can also discourage large groups from forming during lunchtime by staggering the lunch periods and limiting the number of people in a single room or cafeteria.
Furloughs and layoffs are an unfortunate result of the pandemic’s economic effects, but you may be able to retain more workers by developing a remote work option. Remote workers can maintain your center’s productivity and reduce the number of workers in the office. When you determine how many workers can safely work in the office, you can estimate how many additional online employees you’ll need. Most call center employees can adapt well to online work if they have the necessary equipment, but it may take you a few days to become comfortable managing remote employees.
If your center is unable to handle a surge of calls with a reduced staff, you can temporarily use AI chatbots to assist callers. Several large firms have recently employed chatbots to accommodate simple requests from customers, and AI has drastically improved compared to the robot callers of five years ago. With increased demand, companies like IBM and Google have developed intelligent chatbots to help companies during the crisis. Although it’s challenging, you can continue to provide excellent support to your customers, provide a safe working environment and maintain employee productivity during trying times.
Publish Date: August 26, 2020 1:00 AM