In today's business landscape, companies face significant challenges due to demographic changes and...
With the world’s largest work from home experiment beginning, many companies and employees find themselves in unknown waters. Can workers be as productive remotely? Will they still be able to access all the systems and data needed for their job? How will they communicate without coffee breaks and water coolers?
Typical Barriers to Remote Work
If you’re already part of a distributed team or work from home, these won’t be a surprise. For the rest of the world, many of these challenges are quickly becoming a fact of daily life as entire countries stay home.
- Different time zones
- Local software
- VPN not functioning well
- Lack of persistent chat
- Not having a home “office” environment
If you work in customer service or a contact center environment, your main three challenges will be more specific such as:
- Accessing critical systems remotely
- Communication with your team
- Access to support data
Cloud migration is already in full swing in many industries and tools such as Google Docs are already the norm in our private lives. Thus, the world has never been better positioned to thrive in a remote work environment.
Here are 5 must have tools for contact centers working remotely to succeed in crisis and come out stronger afterwards.
1. Contact Center as a Service software (CCaaS)
CCaaS software is a cloud-based solution accessible via browser. It offers many benefits over local on-premise options but for the #quarantinelife, the fact that it's accessible to all of your agents independently of their location ensures continuity of operations.
2. A Knowledge Base
In a remote environment, there are no coffee breaks or shoulder taps. That means if you’re data is scattered around a mix of systems, your team may not be able to access everything.
Moreover, one of the biggest challenges we are all facing is uncertainty. At least in the narrow space of your customer service, a single source of truth enables your service agents to confidently deliver clear and certain answers, even from home. Without answers, there is no customer service.
This is why a cloud-based knowledge base is not just critical, it's a must-have.
3. Self-Service on your website
Many but not all employees can work from home. That means staffing shortages and potentially at a time of massive spikes in inquiries. If you're in the travel or events industry for example, you're dealing with never before seen volumes of inbound requests.
More inquiries and less staff means web-based self-service is more crucial than ever to deflect tickets, shorten wait times and deal with capacity issues.
One customer of ours, Bowflex offers a good example of web-based dynamic FAQ that offers customers relevant support information based on what webpage the user is on. This provides instant service and ensures many tickets are never created.
4. Online Chat (Bots & Live)
This applies to both live chat and chatbots. Bots can be used to field initial inquiries and common questions while complex cases are transferred to live agents.
5. Persistent Chat & Video Conferencing
While technically two things, many tools such as Slack and WebEx offer both and therefore we'll cheat a bit and lump them together.
In order to facilitate communication and prevent feelings of isolation, it is important for employees to have an easy communication tool with a low barrier to entry. Sometimes we don't know the best person to ask a question or after several, we hesitate to reach out yet again for fear of bugging someone.
Persistent chat like Slack is the perfect solution, allowing the creation of channels around particular topics. This makes it easy to create informal areas for general chat and work or issue specific ones.
Jarrod worked as USU's Product Marketing Manager for Knowledge Management in 2019.