As the crisis COVID-19 crisis subsides, contact centre leaders are focusing on gaining efficiency and cost-savings momentum while also improving customer and employee experiences. Organisations are rethinking their operations by doubling-down on the innovations that got them through the crisis -- like remote workforces, intelligent automation and cloud technology.
To help prepare for a better tomorrow here are 7 actionable CX strategies to get your contact centre back on track in 2021:
#1: Distribute your workforce
Organisations with distributed operations and at-home infrastructure fared better than those with centralised brick-and-mortar locations during the crisis. Contact centres with resources across the map were ready to disperse and deploy at-home resources or move operations elsewhere.
Action plan: Use a physical and remote hybrid model of work to maximise diversification in skills, resources and locations. This flexibility will be needed to deploy agents for various volumes and support needs.
#2: Future-proof your business
Disasters, natural or man-made, drew large volumes of support and exceeded capacity, leaving customers on hold during stressful times. Expected or unexpected, leaders will want to be prepared for the next crisis.
Action plan: Utilise the service capabilities enabled by remote work to give your organisation a flexible avenue to deploy emergency staff in times of distress. In times of uncertainty, the power of contact centres lies in pivoting and scaling support capacity quickly.
#3: Prioritise digital-first
Digital transformation tools, once on the backburner, are now a necessity. Customer-facing organisations realised the mission-critical benefits of digital tools when they had to deploy solutions quickly during the crisis.
Action plan: Make automation, AI-enabled learning, messaging and cloud-based systems a mainstay for your contact centre operations. Organisations have already seen costs decrease while contact resolution, employee productivity and customer satisfaction increase through a mix of agents and technology.
#4: Expand CX self-service
Massive effort was needed to support urgent needs in every industry when the pandemic hit. The triaging of labour resources to emergency issues made self-service essential. Smart IVRs, online FAQs, automated chatbots and enhanced knowledgebases became key call deflection solutions.
#5: Rethink security policies
Technology innovations are securely enabling remote work in areas including virtual private networks (VPNs), private cloud systems, "dummy" workstation machines and more. As remote work becomes common, security policies need to adapt to allow these technologies to be applied in a contact centre environment.
Action plan: Consider how video monitoring will allow for more flexible work arrangements without higher costs. Security leaders will have to rethink what works best and not be limited by what has always been done.
#6: Restart your sales engine
In-person sales visits will be greatly minimised for the foreseeable future. And broad, untargeted sales strategies will not be sufficient with tight budgets.
Action plan: Use advanced analytics to help target the most likely sales leads and retention opportunities, paired with an optimised inside sales team to help sales organisations be more effective and improve speed-to-close. From a tactical perspective, an at-home inside sales model also allows for greater flexibility and more personalised meetings. Remote sales agents will also be essential to connect with customers for renewals, replacements, and upselling/cross-selling activity as physical locations remain shuttered.
#7: Build a new classroom
Agent training is a critical piece of great CX delivery. Organisations will have to rethink what the classroom environment will look like in a hybrid remote and physical future.
Action plan: Your organisations can leverage asynchronous, digital tools such as gamified learning, AI-driven training practice scenarios and immediate feedback on individual strengths and weaknesses to tailor training that produces the highest performers. Leverage the potential of secure, non-classroom formats to personalise learning styles for different learners and offer self-paced, ongoing assessments.
Reset for long-term resiliency
If you'll like to learn more about how to build resilient, future-proof contact centre operations read our latest Labour Strategies guide.