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Article : What Lessons Did Call Center Industry Learn from the COVID-19 Crisis?

#contactcenterworld, @fusionbpo

Author: Ariful Anam, Manager, Sales and Marketing, Fusion BPO Services

The COVID-19 pandemic has become a worldwide crisis affecting people and businesses alike. Nothing ever prepared us for such a crisis. To say that the epidemic has caught various industries, including the call center industry, unprepared is an understatement.

With the virus taking its toll worldwide and CDC continuing to stress on social distancing and issuing strict regulations about how many people can be present in a single gathering, the call center industry took a big hit. Industry stalwarts started taking immediate action and transitioned a large number of its workforce to a home-based environment to support the business continuity plan of their clients in the best possible way.

While contact centers adapted to the transition pretty quickly, they have faced quite a few challenges in the process. And challenges are just lessons in disguise. If contact centres can learn from these challenges, they can achieve better resilience against any future crisis.

So, what are the lessons learned so far by contact centers from this global pandemic attack? Here we share a few lessons we have learned from the crisis.

Lesson 1. Setting up the infrastructure following social distancing norm

Most contact centers have cramped working floors with shared equipment. Desk-sharing strategy or hot-seating is also common in call centers where agents can pick any unoccupied system in the workstation in their shift. Such shared and overcrowded workspace is a big no today. Therefore, contact centers were forced to move over fifty percent of their employees to a work-at-home environment. Previously agents chose to work from home, but today, it has become a requirement.

So, it is the responsibility of the call center to arrange the work-at-home setup needed for agents to operate from home. Many agents do not have computers, USB headsets, and other necessary tools needed for customer service. Those who have computers don’t know how to run the software, troubleshoot basic internet problems by themselves. So, equipping every home-based agent with the required tools takes a systematic approach and frequent demonstrating sessions from the IT team.

Lesson 2. Shift allocation across locations

While having remote agents on the payroll allows you to hire the best talents from anywhere in the globe without having to accommodate them in your brick and mortar setup, the process is not devoid of challenges. A common challenge faced by call centers as they have to switch their on-premise operation to home-based setup suddenly is remote employee scheduling.

Agents need to follow their shift timing strictly to avoid overlapping and to provide 24/7 assistance as per the promise. To handle a large number of remote employees, contact centers are relying on workforce management software, time, and attendance systems greatly. It is helping them schedule thousands of agents in one go without chances of overlapping. However, stricter HR policies had to be implemented to make sure agents adhere to their allotted shift timings.

Lesson 3. Flexibility and scalability are the keys

Another important continuity strategy the COVID-19 has taught call centers is the ability to flexibly and quickly change the location of operation to handle fast-moving emergencies.

Call centers must be flexible enough to close one or more office locations and reroute customer inquiries to alternative locations or reallocating agents across multiple active locations or businesses to handle the sudden surge in customer inquiries better. If you need to reallocate your customer service agents to a different sector, you must work hon prepping them in advance.

Lesson 4. Keeping empathy level high during customer service

Though showing empathy has always been the priority for customer service, at present, it is even more important because everyone is affected by COVID-19 in some way.

For instance, maybe a customer is calling to enquire about the delayed delivery of emergency medicine, or another is calling to stop auto deduction of payments from his account because his employer hasn’t been able to pay him due to business loss. Therefore, it is expected from CX professionals to listen, think, and empathize so that customers feel that the company genuinely cares for them.

Lesson 5. Remember to take care of employee

Employees are the biggest strength of any organization. Taking care of the company’s most valuable asset during a crisis like this is very crucial. If remote employees of your call center are not treated well, they won’t perform or act responsibly.

While for many, work-at-home gives a desirable work-life balance, some call center employees remain unhappy because their employers expect them to be available all the time as they are working from home. Such expectations only degrade performance. You have to ensure employees don’t burn out due to the excessive workload and compulsory overtime.

Offering fringe benefits to best performers, appreciating good works in front of the team over Skype or Zoom video conference will make them feel important and motivated as well.

To make the home-based agents feel a part of the team, the company can introduce some fun employee engagement activities. Introducing incentive programs to foster the spirit of healthy competition among the team while pursuing a goal is also a good idea.

Conclusion

Every crisis brings along new challenges and opportunities with it. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the call center industry to learn many new lessons, adopt a new working pattern, and excel despite the challenges to become an essential part of their clients’ business continuity plan.

The lessons learned from this crisis will surely help the call center industry be better prepared for any new crisis in the future. Sure, each crisis will have its challenges. But with quick learning, adaptability, and flexibility, call centers will be able to respond better to the crisis.

#contactcenterworld, @fusionbpo


About Fusion BPO Services:
Company LogoFounded in 2003, Fusion BPO Services is a global outsourcing services provider with dual headquarters in Draper, Utah in the US and Kolkata, India. Its end to end outsourcing solutions include the complete portfolio of integrated contact center services, accounts receivable management, and custom IT solutions. To meet client’s evolving strategic sourcing needs, Fusion BPO Services offers capabilities across eight countries – USA, Canada, UK, India, Philippines, El Salvador, Jamaica, and Albania.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Choosing a Vendor

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Monday, June 1, 2020

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2024 Buyers Guide Outsourced Contact Center Services

Page: 12
1.) 
Premium Listing
Ec3

Retention Outsource Services
Ec3 is an recognized boutique outsourcer based in Durban, South Africa. Focusing on client retentions, reactivations and cross-sales Ec3 has set the standard in outsourcingwith emphasis on guarding client data through rigorous systems and checks and balances.
Neutral English accents and only GMT+2 time zone means campaigns can be easily implemented worldwide. For quality standards, highest conversions and data integrity Ec3 has become the de facto standard for customer retentions through outbound voice, AVM and webchat.

2.) 
Premium Listing
Omnie Integrated Services

Omnie is driven by a mission to make premier customer service and leading technologies available to organizations of all sizes. Omnie’s North American-based brand ambassadors support voice, SMS, email, contact form, live chat and social media. For digital communications, Omnie offers both live chat and automated customer support, 24 hours/day. With clients in the United States, Canada, and Europe, Omnie provides customer service to brands all verticals including eCommerce, health & wellness and hospitality, tech, and travel.


3.) 
ABSI, LLC

ABSI is a Global Outsourced Contact Center Provider. We are headquartered in Nashville, TN where we maintain a network of 1000 Work-at-Home Agents. Our Brick and Mortar Corporate center can seat another 200 agents upon demand. We also offer Contact Center Services in Mexico (2 locations) and Nairobi, Kenya. Our agents are all fluent in English and we can also support Spanish, French and Arabic languages. Whether your need is Inbound/Outbound Voice, Text, Chat, Email or Social Media Management we can provide the customized solution you need. Lets discuss your unique needs and let you show you what we can do.

4.) 
AssisTT

Contact Center Services
End to end Contact Center Services provided in Turkey, including call center infrastructure and experience solutions.

5.) 
Bespoke International Group

Business Process Outsourcing
Bespoke International Group specialise in delivering Global Business Solutions that consistently create an outstanding customer experience

6.) 
Comvendo

Inbound, Outbound, Backoffice

7.) 
Connecta Center

- Prospecting, commercial appointments
- Collection
- Surveys
- Customer Care
- Technical Support

8.) 
ContactWorks

We specialize in all aspects of customer contact services:
• Customer Service
• Technical Support
• Employee Help Desk
• Customer Acquisition / Retention
• Order Processing / Administration
• Quality Monitoring
• Consulting

9.) 
Eckoh

Contact Centre Services
Our agents can supplement your existing contact centre by providing help with taking Secure Payment, donation requests, overflow and out-of-hours calls, IVR support, Web Chat and Social Media responses. We ensure your customer card data is completely secure, thanks to our PCI DSS compliant environment.

Unified Agent Desktop solution brings together disparate solutions into one user-friendly interface. It improves efficiency and enhances both the agent and customer experience.

10.) 
EMS

EMS provides a complete offering of customer support services:
Inbound/Outbound Abilities
Email/Text Solutions
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
FAQ/Knowledge Base Maintenance
Live Chat
Preemptive Chat
Web Call Back/Co-Browsing Services
Social Networking
Forum Monitoring
Foreign Languages

Methods of communication and support can vary widely for each unique program. Different goals need to be addressed with different customer support strategies. Many of our clients take advantage of multiple support strategies to provide superior service for their end-users.

11.) 
Gatestone & Co.

Customer Contact Center and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Solutions.
Since 1978, Gatestone & Co. has been providing Customer Contact Center and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) solutions to a variety of markets globally.

We offer fully-integrated multilingual Contact Center facilities operating 24/7 x 365, located in North America, Latin America and Asia. We have made tremendous investment in our technologies and process innovations to ensure all the right business outcomes while elevating customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

12.) 
InfoCision

Over nearly 4 decades, InfoCision’s passion for performance and proven results have driven an evolution to become much more than a contact center. Leverage our contact center resources, or we can help your internal center become more efficient and effective.

We are interaction experts committed to delivering superior customer experience and KPIs, while simultaneously reducing overhead, increasing return on investment, saving time, and minimizing risk. Our people and technology help your brand thrive with 24-7-365 support (phone, chat, email, text, social media monitoring etc.), Level 1 PCI compliance, and a complete, customizable suite of enhancements for internal customer care organizat...
(read more)

13.) 
Invensis

Finance and Accounting Outsourcing Services

14.) 
Liveware Labs

Liveware Labs is an outsourcing company that builds outsourced teams in the Philippines to reduce operational costs and increase efficiency for companies.

We help you build your full-time, dedicated team in the Philippines, taking care of everything on the ground, while you retain full control of your team, including KPIs, quality, workflow and productivity. So not only do you enjoy significant cost savings (up to 70%), but you still get employees who work just for you, in your business, working towards your business-specific goals.

Further to this, we specialise in the travel industry. We have a deep passion for travel as our people are experienced, travel enthusiasts. That is why we...
(read more)

15.) 
MetroCall

MetroCall is a Contact Center located in Uruguay, with international presence, providing customized solutions and following the trends and needs of users

16.) 
OpsTalent

Multilingual Customer Support 24/7/365
Award-winning BPO providing multilingual customer service and technical support solutions.

With our people-first culture, we provide the teams your company needs to succeed and grow. Let OpsTalent do the hard work for you.

Our mission is your happy customer.

17.) 
Outcess

CONTACT CENTER OUTSOURCING
OUTCESS SOLUTIONS NIGERIA LIMITED is an integrated customer engagement and business process outsourcing company. We deliver innovative digital and cloud solutions that empower and optimize the performance of people, teams, and organizations.
We are a 100% wholly Nigerian owned venture and believe in the talent of our people in our over 17 years of operations serving the likes of MTN, Airtel, 9Mobile, Multichoice, Total, Mantrac, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Communications Commission, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, Sterling Bank, Branch, Avon Medical Centre, AIICO Multishield insurance, Custodian and Allied Insurance, NTEL, Smile etc.
We currently operate a 1200-seat, 24/7, 365...
(read more)

18.) 
Peak Support

Customer Service That Scales With You

We take customer service, technical support, and back office tasks off your hands so you can avoid the expensive and unnecessary costs of hiring a full-time support team. With Peak Support, new agents can be added in as little as one week! Your customers will get the exceptional service they deserve, while you get to focus on what you do best

19.) 
Vads

One Stop Solutions for Contact Center
VADS Indonesia provides a contact center as a whole, both fully outsourced and managed services with various channels according to client needs. Provide inbound and outbound contact centers.
- Inbound contact centers such as Customer Service, Walk-In Center, and Service Desk
- Outbound contact centers such as Telesales, Telemarketing, Telesurvey, Teleretention, Telereminder, and Telecollection.

20.) 
Pusula Call Center

Pusula CC is a professional communication center that started its journey in 2011 with the vision of offering uninterrupted service, managerial efficiency, creating a unique customer experience.
With its experienced human resources, up-to-date technological infrastructure and innovative business models, it provides services to its customers and business partners beyond expectations.
Pusula CC, whose foundations were laid in 2009, has been operating in the human resource and communication sector since 2011 with its experience, know-how, tailor-made solution suggestions and professional management staff, and takes care to keep the quality of employment at the highest level. It is among the l...
(read more)
 
Page: 12

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