As the immediate chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic eases, most contact centres are reflecting on how they can become more resilient. Is your contact centre ready to weather the next storm?
If you want to keep your service levels high during the next crisis, preparation and flexibility are essential. You’ll need to:
- Prepare your team with the right plan, training, and technology to respond during a crisis
- Give yourself options and be ready to pivot quickly
Train Your Team And Give Them A Plan
A large part of creating a resilient contact centre is training your team well. The more confident and empowered they are to handle complaints, the more comfortable they’ll be switching processes under pressure.
Empower your agents by training them in multiple specialties, while providing specific training on how to respond during a crisis.
Creating a crisis plan
Part of preparing your team is giving them a plan to follow in a crisis — this removes a lot of the energy and worry required to take action quickly.
- Choose a crisis scenario
- Assess which of your systems are most at risk
- Plan your response, including defining key personnel and specific action plans for departments
- Test the systems that are most at risk and how they respond to a ‘mock’ crisis
- Talk to your vendors and partners about your crisis plan and what they can offer you to help you respond better
We’ve created this workbook to help you prepare for various post-pandemic market scenarios. With this guide, you can confidently lead your contact centre through whatever the future holds.
Invest In Crisis-Proof Technology
If you haven't stress-tested your processes and systems, then you shouldn't be surprised when things start breaking under pressure. Invest in the right technology now so when the next crisis hits, you’re not scrambling to find the tools you need to get the job done.
Intelligent IVR Routing
Optimise your workforce by investing in intelligent IVR software to prioritise calls better and training your team in multiple specialties.
To give yourself a head start, set up Crisis IVR options in advance. When a call surge strikes, you can turn the appropriate IVR on and quickly pivot to a new process.
Your crisis IVR should prioritise the most important calls and divert other customers to either an appropriate self-help solution or a cheaper way of getting in touch — like live chat support.
Call-Back Scheduling Software
Call-backs are essential for the day-to-day running of the contact centre but they’re a lifesaver in times of crisis. Many non-urgent enquiries can be diverted by scheduling a call-back at a later time or — even better — a later date.
Instead of turning call-backs off when your hold time starts running into days, offer scheduled call-backs a week in advance on all channels. People will wait if they're confident the appointment will be kept and you can confirm it through text or email.
Try offering an alternative ‘contact-back’ option, i.e. “We cannot answer your call right now but please leave a message, and an agent will email you at your account email address to resolve your problem.”
Being Resilient Means Being Giving Yourself Options
Unless you have a small and incredibly agile team, you'll have problems pivoting during a crisis without a good plan. Create multiple plans of action for various disaster-scenarios.
This may seem like a momentous task in advance but your future self with thank you for the time you invest now. Survival in a crisis is all about having options; the more options you give your team, the better they'll do.
Work with your partners to put flexibility into your contracts and vendor agreements. The last thing you want in a crisis is to be restricted by a greedy or incompetent supplier.
Prepare Your Contact Centre Crisis Plan Now
The next few months hold more uncertainty than any of us anticipated at the start of the year. We must make our processes and contact centers more resilient if we want to thrive in the post-pandemic world — and survive the next crisis, whenever it happens.
Put your contact centre in a position of success by developing your post-pandemic strategy now.