The world has changed, success lies in organisations that are nimble enough to utilise innovations born out of crisis. CX leaders in the European contact centre space who want to emerge stronger after COVID-19 need to act on the new expectations of both their customers and agents.
TTEC’s webinar, Shifting Back: How to prepare for what’s next in the contact centre discussed 3 innovations that are essential for building long-term resiliency and future-proofing your organisation for CX success.
1. Invest in digital-first
Digital transformation is here to stay. The pandemic created a cultural and behavioural shift that will drive new innovations in the field. The contact centre can take the opportunity to be at the forefront of the shift.
The massive drive around digital adoption is in part due to the need to interact with other human beings. It’s becoming a testing ground for organisations to see just how well they can provide authenticity with ingenuity.
Chatbots and automated capabilities are making massive strides in deflecting low-effort customer interactions. But as the digital front door swings open, it adds more pressure to upskill your labour force to complete complex interactions.
Invest in automated capabilities that can handle complicated tasks with discretionary authority. This can be accomplished by utilising chatbots as a virtual co-worker with remote agents to provide relevant suggestions and prompts for highly emotional conversations.
As you digitise remember:
- Digital transformation is no longer a luxury
- Digitise and automate to unlock self-service
- Social distancing = need for distributed interactions
- Nature of labour talent needs will evolve
Chatbots will also become an integral part of the new onboarding experience. The lack of coworkers and face-to-face mentorship will create a gap that needs to be filled by intelligent digital assistances. Conversational AI can serve actionable advice and suggestions to replicate physical environments.
2. Deploy people quickly and flexibly
Before COVID-19, many contact centres were operating in varying degrees of centralised hubs. Social distancing and restrictions will force organisations that were primarily focused on brick-and-mortar models to rethink the notion of a distributed workforce. Flexibility will be crucial.
We are now seeing incredible geo-diversification of the labour force. CX leaders in the space are embracing decentralisation and becoming more flexible to virtual models. They can now utilise a nimble workforce that can be redistributed around the globe with a hybrid of brick-and-mortar and remote agents. This is helping them amend for previously over-concentrating in certain markets.
The historical shift from physical centres is currently a temporary model, but plan for a portion of agents who may wish to stay home or become incorporated in a rotational mode. Consider how this new workforce may fit into a hybrid virtual and brick-and-mortar mode.
When strategising the future of your distributed workforce consider:
- Real estate needs and costs
- On-demand technology enablement and security
- Blending virtual and brick-and-mortar attributed staff
For the foreseeable future, there will be less density in physical centres and decrease of reliance on real estate. This will call for deeper investments in digital transformation tools that will enable employees and customers to better use self-service through intelligent knowledgebases and chatbots.
3. Disaster proof your future
Many organisations were forced to invoke triage strategies that served the needs at the top of the funnel while de-prioritising less critical interactions. It served the need and was necessary during crisis, but came at the cost of deflecting many interactions.
CX leaders will be more prepared next time. Organisations need to be better poised to scale fast and invest in technology that allows them to do it even faster. Winning in the future means being able to interact and understand the preferences of customers on the channels of their choice.
When planning for future crisis invest in:
- Technology that allows you scale fast
- Agents high levels of empathy and people skills
- Case management and workflow capabilities
- Exception-based operating rules pre-vetted and approved
Part of this will rely on the ability to pivot and scale support capabilities from your remote workplaces. But you will also have to rethink training and vetting your agents for rapid onboarding during emergencies. This will be driven by digitally enabled training so all the pieces are in order before disaster strikes.
Be agile, be brave
Embracing the new normal will lie heavily on a leader’s ability to not only recognise change, but also to act upon it. Organisations who are not able to adapt quickly enough to their customers’ expectations are at a disadvantage. It’s no longer a matter of being ready for change, organisations need to be a part of it.
Watch the full webinar, Shifting Back: How to prepare for what’s next in the contact centre, to learn more about what it takes to future-proof your contact centre and organisation for CX success.