This holiday season in the UK is awash with disruptions keeping workers away from the workplace. Unprecedented snowfall is hindering travel by car and public transport. On top of that, businesses must cope with the usual holiday season challenge of people calling in ‘sick’ because of the party the night before.
So how well is your contact center set up to cope with this disruption? Now is the time to review your technology capabilities with an eye to staying afloat in unpredictable waters.
For call centers, an emergency situation like this will require you to adapt and reconfigure your system very quickly to suit the situation. This can only be done if you have the right skills inhouse, and this implies having equipment that allows configuration without needing a university degree, so that many people can be trained in its use.
And once you have reconfigured, to minimise disruption you need to be able to apply changes without having to restart the whole system.
How well equipped are you in the following areas?
The usual applications of an IVR system (e.g. switchboard, playing and taking messages, etc) become even more important to take up the slack in emergencies when fewer bodies are available. But to be useful in emergencies, it must allow configuration quickly and easily by a wide range of people. Who in your organisation can do this?
Changes must be applied on the fly without having to restart. Are you losing valuable time here, or do you put off any changes till after hours? Not much use in an emergency.
IVR must be tightly integrated to your desktop interfaces, so that agents and supervisors can easily access all relevant functions and a call can move seamlessly between human and IVR.
Contact centers require integrated access to many contact channels. Do you have the facility to automatically send an email or text message, for instance in response to an incoming phone call sitting in a queue too long? Do your workers have access to chat, or instant messaging to allow them to respond quickly to changing situations?
If workers cannot make it to work, one obvious solution is to enable them to work at home. Can your workers log in and work from home as efficiently as if they were in your center? Or can you reallocate workers from other centers so that, in effect, they belong to you? The advent of IP-based communications makes this very easy, with browser based log in mechanisms and agent scripts (if you use them).
The good news is that technology is available now so that emergencies need not mean massive disruption and loss of revenue to your business. The bad news is that your current technology may be holding you back. Happy holidays!