What does it take to shut down a contact center? In the age of coronavirus, all it takes is a lackadaisical approach to cleanliness and preparation to impact the way that employees and customers experience your brand. As companies move forward in the new normal, earning employee and customer confidence is key. Employees want to know that they’ll be able to perform their jobs safely. Customers want to feel confident that companies are taking proactive measures to keep them—and employees—safe. In fact, one-fourth of consumers believe that a company’s treatment of its employees has increased in importance as a buying criterion since the crisis started, according to a recent McKinsey survey.
Success in our new reality will be defined by an organization’s ability to maximize resiliency, care for its team and customers, and minimize disruptions. If this seems like a tall order, don’t worry. Here are 19 ways to do exactly that, based on measures that TTEC has implemented in its own contact centers.
Be proactive in addressing health and safety concerns
Maintaining a safe and secure work environment for your associates is key to delivering the right customer experience.
1. Have protective measures in place to ensure the safety of agents returning to the office. This includes thermal screening, mask requirements, workstation barriers, having employees sign health attestation forms, pandemic training (reviewing prevention measures and good hygiene recommendations), as well as social distancing, and a zero-tolerance sick policy for the workplace.
2. Create a protocol for addressing agents that had confirmed exposure and/or test positive for COVID-19 (e.g., require agents to self-quarantine for 14 days, have the site deep cleaned and deploy professional antimicrobial fogging services, etc.)
3. Create a site closure protocol that determines when to close a site, how to proceed while the site is closed, and define criteria for reopening a site.
4. Entrances to the facility should be reduced to only those where compliance to all can be monitored.
Be ‘safety obsessed’ when it comes to the work site
Monitor and implement safety and health precautions from WHO, CDC as well as all state and local government protocols that are applicable to your workplace.
5. Post internal signage to promote and reinforce hand washing and social distancing guidelines. For example, placing floor stickers in areas that have the potential for a line to form (turnstiles, Kronos clocks, vending machines, thermal screening stations, etc.) to illustrate proper social distancing.
6. Set up sanitation stations at all entries, common areas, bathrooms, and throughout the production floor. Additional sanitizing wipes should be made available at workstations and common areas.
7. Hands-free fixtures should be leveraged for all commonly touched surfaced (soap dispensers, faucets, flush valves, etc.)
8. Evaluate HVAC systems for maximum air quality and make adjustments where needed.
9. All training rooms should operate at 50% capacity to ensure social distancing may be observed. If possible, virtual training is recommended to reduce the number of employees necessary on site.
10. Enhanced janitorial cleaning and disinfecting practices must be enforced to ensure frequent cleaning of all high touch areas and ensure garbage containers are dispersed to allow for proper disposal of PPE.
Stay vigilantStrategic planning and appointing health and safety leaders is essential to ensuring these safety measures are maintained and enforced.
11. Stagger break and shift start/end times. Workforce supervisors shall perform a review of all break and shift start/end times to ensure as much staggering as possible.
12. All on-site meetings should be encouraged to be facilitated through Zoom or other video conferencing platforms to eliminate large gatherings.
13. Limit site capacity. The percentage of employees allowed to be back on site should be determined based on local law and internal guidelines.
14. Food vendors should be limited or eliminated to avoid the potential spread of viruses. In some locations, closure of common areas and break rooms may be required under local law. If break rooms are permitted, strict social distancing protocols are required and chairs should be removed to ensure employees stay at least 6 feet apart.
15. Employees should not share headsets or other objects that are near the mouth or nose.
16. Each site should elect at least one health & safety ambassador who is responsible for ensuring these guidelines are observed.
Shift forward together
It’s one thing to create policies and protocols—it’s another to live by them. Make these new practices part of the company culture from senior leadership to frontline employees.
17. Provide paid sick leave so that employees don’t report to work while sick.
18. Create a cadence of communications about upcoming changes and its impact to help employees feel included and ease fears.
19. Have senior leaders host Q&A sessions during town hall meetings to foster transparency and trust.
Ultimately, the key to thriving in our new reality is making it easy for company leaders, employees, and partners to work together in keeping each other safe and healthy. By accomplishing that, employees can get back to what they do best, delivering an exceptional customer experience.