March is a transitional month—warmer days and more sunlight signal the end of winter. March 2021 also brings more COVID-19 vaccinations across the country and the promise of a return to some form of normality in our lives. But we’re not there yet. As our most popular blog posts in March demonstrate, contact center professionals are still dealing with the fallout of a year-long pandemic—highly emotional customers; work-at-home fatigue; hiring, training and engaging contact center staff; and the shift to digital channels. Read on to take some inspiration from our authors!
20 Empathy Statements to Show Stressed-Out Customers That You Care
These are difficult times, and our anxious customers need us more than ever. Some of them need help with a simple task, like: “How do I add a new driver to my auto insurance policy?” Others need help solving a problem: “Why was I charged twice for inflight WiFi?” All of them need our empathy. They need us to infuse our emails, chats and social media responses with words that demonstrate we understand what they are feeling, we see things from their point of view, and we care.
Avoiding Work-at-Home Virtual Shock
The business world was turned upside down as thousands of companies were suddenly forced to send their employees home to work virtually. IT departments moved into high gear, and as executives learned that employees could gain access to company systems and serve customers from home, they breathed a sigh of relief—crisis averted. But for employees, everything felt different.
Thinking Differently About Digital in Your Contact Center
Contact centers often see ebbs and flows. Customer preferences change, new tools emerge, and leaders are left with the challenge of dialing up or down specific channels to accommodate evolving customer behavior. For example, at the beginning of 2020, our own research had overwhelmingly shown the importance of digital channels, particularly among younger demographics. Fast forward to April, with the coronavirus pandemic in full swing and millions locked down in quarantine, suddenly phone had a massive resurgence: Verizon reported handling over 800 million daily calls week over week, compared to its 2019 single daily high of 400 million.
How to Retain and Engage Your Best Contact Center Agents
Can you ever have enough high performers? Do you wish you could clone your best agents and make their outstanding performance the norm? Do you worry about losing your best team members once the economy turns around? Those challenges are about to become greater. An agent’s job will soon require a higher skill level because artificial intelligence and self-service will handle routine inquiries. As a result, a greater percentage of agent interactions include complex or emotionally challenging situations.
Contact Centers Grapple with How to Sustain—and Grow—Remote Workforces
Not long ago, as I walked the floor of a contact center, the voice of a customer service rep echoed toward me across mostly vacant cubicles. As his call ended, I approached. Noting the stress ball he was crushing, I said, “Tough call?”
“What’s it like managing those without all your peers here?”
“Well, at least there are a few of us left here to talk to,” he grinned.
As a remaining worker—who had been hired, trained, supervised and supported in the era of on-site camaraderie—it was clear he found what support he needed from those still present on site. Yet months had passed since the pandemic first struck and most of those co-workers, who had once filled hundreds of cubicles across multiple floors of the call center, were gone.