When Contact Changes: Five Tips for Transitioning to Remote Contact Centers

WRITTEN BY ANDY MEISBACH & OSMAN JAVED

Five Tips for Transitioning to Remote Contact Centers
Challenges and Priorities Survey

Now more than ever, businesses are trying to deliver consistency in a world that is changing every day. We at Cresta have been in close contact with customers and prospects regarding their contact center operations, and we’re finding that many contact centers are closing their physical contact center operations and shifting to remote WFH contact center arrangements. While this is the right thing to do, it creates a handful of challenges for businesses and contact center agents alike.

Across industries, businesses have had to respond to significant shifts in demand for goods and services. Whether it’s retail, healthcare, or the airline industry, customers are desperate for support and information as they adapt to their new reality. In retail, for example, shop closures have placed a significant load on virtual channels, such as web, voice and chat. E-commerce has seen a surge in demand, as exemplified by Shopify’s Chief Technology Officer Jean-Michel Lemieux, who recently tweeted that Shopify’s “platform is now handling Black Friday level traffic every day!” We have also seen a shift in the types of products and services consumers are purchasing. This has been especially prevalent in the telecommunications sector, where internet upgrade requests have been at all-time highs. One of our telecommunications customers had over 100 customers in their queue trying to increase their internet speeds!

For contact centers, addressing these growing pressures while making the transition to a remote WFH operating model is no easy task. Creating a contact center experience that aligns with what customers have come to expect from the in-store experience is difficult. Contact centers must deliver a consistent message and experience, conduct quality control and coaching in a distributed environment, and adapt their metrics, KPIs and reporting.

As an AI-solution that enhances contact center coaching and agent performance, we at Cresta have become intimately familiar with these challenges. Now, more than ever, organizations must equip their agents with the right tools, processes, and support networks to effectively deliver high-quality service to their customers.

When transitioning to a remote contact center, here are five things to consider:

1. BE TRANSPARENT. While you want to minimize the impact on the customer experience, practice transparency when appropriate. The goal is to make the transition as seamless as possible. Customers understand that operations have shifted in light of recent events, but notifying them of revised operations will help keep customer expectations at bay.

Solution: Proactively notify customers of modified operations. For example, Hilton recently added language to their IVR and Pre-Chat alerts that inform customers that agents are working from the safety of their homes, and asks customers to be understanding of their situation in the event of background noises.

 

2. MAINTAIN QUALITY AND COMPLIANCE. A virtual contact center should adhere to the same standards as a physical one. Reporting and communication are the backbones of success for any contact center, but easy to lose sight of, especially when agents are virtually distributed.

Solution: Enhance the cadence that quality reports are delivered to leaders and implement real-time dashboards. What was once a weekly report should now be delivered daily.

 

3. DELIVERY CONSISTENT, TAILORED MESSAGING ACROSS ALL INTERACTIONS. Arm agents for success by equipping them with the tools they need to be successful.

Solution: Consider new technology. Spending at a time like this can be tough, but AI can enable your frontline in real-time with unified and crisp communications to send to customers. In many cases, new tooling can even grow your digital revenue stream.

 

4. UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING WELL AND WHERE THERE’S ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. Consider daily war-rooms for each team to report activities, educate themselves on current initiatives, and keep in contact with one another. Mental-health and connection to people are important, and war-rooms provide a quick and easy way to accomplish these tasks. Plus, it allows for culture-building activities like kudos sharing!

Solution: Schedule video conference calls with teams and leadership with the intention of sharing qualitative feedback about customer sentiments. Use this time to connect with your teams to embrace a bit of fun—consider a “home cooking” show where someone teaches a group how to make a certain dish. Lastly, given these challenging times, agents might need a morale or confidence boost, so access to leadership is also critical.

 

5. FINALLY, HAVE EMPATHY AND PATIENCE FOR YOUR AGENTS. Many of your employees are balancing more than just work responsibilities. They are likely worried about the health and safety of their loved ones. And if they are parents, they are responsible for educating and entertaining their kids while schools are closed. Be mindful and sensitive to agent needs during this time.

We hope you find these tips helpful. Cresta is here to support businesses as they make the transition to virtual distributed contract centers. Today, Cresta helps companies like Intuit and Cox Communications 2X their daily chat volume, increase revenues by 12%, and maintain contact center quality, consistency and performance. Please reach out to us at [email protected] with any questions, comments, or to learn about how our AI-based solution can reduce the need for in-house supervision and equip agents to operate at their best.

Osman Javed is responsible for Product Marketing at Cresta. Osman has nearly a decade of experience helping enterprise software companies develop winning product marketing strategies, including Tanium and Zuora. Osman started his career at Deloitte Consulting, where he helped clients define technology strategy through M&A. Osman holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California.

 

Andy Meisbach is a Customer Success Manager at Cresta. Andy spent over 10 years in the Contact Center space. He originally started as an agent becoming the top sales agent in his program before moving to management and then director. He’s successfully launched several offshore and onshore Outsourced Sales programs with fortune 500 companies over the past 5 years. Andy’s speciality is operational insights and strategic planning for all contact center work, with a focus on revenue generating chat/messaging.