As the second and third waves of COVID-19 continues to devastate the global economy, it has also sped up our transition into the digital economy. In the wake of the pandemic, call centers around the world needed to fast track their adaption strategies and shift the way in which they work.
Many contact centers were unprepared to adopt a work from home model (WFH) when the first wave of COVID-19 hit. Even managers that were somewhat prepared for the transition found it challenging to replicate the hardware and software their employees needed to work remotely. Now more than ever, the importance of a virtual call center is being recognized as it is ideal for contact centers that need to maximize performance while maintaining efficiency.
Why COVID-19 Accelerated the Roll-Out of Virtual Call Centres
The coronavirus crisis has undeniably changed how call centers view business continuity. While non-essential businesses were forced to close, office-based call centers were forced to figure out how to keep their employees safe while their business stays operational. Meanwhile, customer service demands in most industries skyrocketed.
Some call centers managed to find ways of continuing their operations by implementing social distancing among on-site employees, alternating shifts, and reducing capacity. Others opted to adopt a work from home approach and adjusted their operations, but the challenges of transitioning and managing a remote workforce were quite significant.
The current global crisis has forced many businesses to change how they operate and adjust continuity plans in the event of future crises and circumstances that might impact on-site teams. COVID-19 has pushed call centers to write a new chapter, but looking ahead, what does the future hold for call centers post the coronavirus era?
Irreversible Trends in Call Centres Created by COVID-19
Some trends that emerged across the industry (as a means of survival at the time) are here to stay. Here is a look at the trends we can expect in the world of contact centers as we know it:
A global economic recession is not a probability but rather an impending event. Businesses across the world have been devastated by government-imposed regulations, and some will probably never be able to recover. The hospitality, travel, and transportation industries have been the hardest hit throughout the pandemic, but even high-tech organizations such as Uber took hard hits.
Right now, companies need to prepare for a further drop in the demand and consumption of their services and products as families buckle under the financial constraints caused by the pandemic. At the same time, organizations also need to find ways to transform themselves into businesses compatible with the post-coronavirus world.
There will be job losses in contact centers, and some of these positions will never be filled by humans again. Instead, these positions will be filled by voice-assisted robots (voicebots) that deliver a seamless customer experience at a fraction of the cost. To help solve more complex calls, voicebots will work alongside human operators.
On the topic of Voicebots, next-era call centers that haven’t done so already will need to incorporate the use of automation. This way, call centers can respond to many more callers in the event of another shutdown. With a scalable frontline of voicebots, call centers can reliably counter future events. With the help of voicebots, human call center agents can spend their time solving complex challenges instead of dealing with routine calls. While voicebots can take care of general challenges such as translating calls, humans can focus their energy on solving tasks that automation cannot.
The improvement of voice channel security will be absolutely essential in a call center’s post-COVID-19 strategy. To guard a voice channel, call centers will need to implement innovative security measures. One of the only options in this regard for call centers is voice verification that uses voice biometrics technologies for additional security while communicating with clients. It can also promote a seamless customer experience and improve the Net Promoter Score since clients can be verified without remembering a password or answering other security questions.
The New Normal Is Now
The coronavirus pandemic pushed all sorts of buttons and forced the world to change the way in which it works. While some still believe that the world will go back to what it was in 2019, innovation and technological advances have made it clear that we have come too far to turn around and go back to an outdated way of working.
To survive in the post-COVID-19 economy, call centers must embrace the new normal, adopt new technologies and processes, and balance the combination of humans and AI.
The future will consist of voicebots that can automate many tasks to ensure that human employees can solve more complex tasks, as professional translations, business process outsourcing (BPO) and localization services. Companies will keep transforming so they provide the best possible user experience for their clients during and after the pandemic. The Coronavirus pandemic might have torn our “standard” approaches apart, but it has also prompted us to adopt smarter, more agile, and more effective ways of working.