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Work From Home Contact Centre Solutions – if it sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is.

30/07/2020 By Matt Sanders Group Executive, Strategy and Innovation
Customer Experience Technology work from home
By Matt Sanders Group Executive, Strategy and Innovation
Customer Experience Technology work from home

Disclaimer – I am a HUGE believer in the absolute necessity for modern businesses to have a world-class cloud contact centre solution. What I am not as keen on is seeing marketing campaigns during Covid-19 purporting to be able to solve all your work from home contact centre agent problems in a matter of days.

The critical point is, whilst there is a short term requirement to get contact centre team members working from home (or at a minimum, having the option to do so if needed), making knee-jerk decisions to solve short term problems is likely going to lead to a poorer customer experience (CX) over the medium to long term. We are already seeing organisations that have made short-term tech decisions to plug a gap (i.e. getting call recordings for the WFH solution) starting to plan for how they wind them back once the Covid-19 emergency is over. Worse still, it is impacting their ability to execute their strategic call centre technology transformations.

The good news is that these mistakes are avoidable. By making intelligent moves now, you can solve both short term challenges and set yourself up to make a quantum leap in how you engage with your customers in the future. The not so good news? It isn’t going to be as quick and as simple as those seductive (can I say irresponsible?) marketing pitches suggest.

Let’s clear up a few things first. Call centre team members working from home is not a new concept. It has been contemplated and tested for years, and there is a reason (many, in fact) that it hasn’t taken off at scale. 

First up, contact centre environments are complex! They typically deal with sensitive customer data and require close support and monitoring of agents to ensure a consistent and high-quality CX is delivered. These factors don’t go away when a team member works from home; in fact, additional problems arise (e.g. speed and stability of internet connections, monitoring a remote agent workforce, remote technical support, team building, etc). If you don’t put in systems and processes to manage these risks, then… well, no one wants to go there!

Secondly, contact centre technology transformations are hard! A typical contact centre technology stack is steeped in legacy. They aren’t usually designed to support remote contact centre roles or to support a typical work from home environment, and we are seeing a lot of crude “hacks” to try and make them do it. These hacks may relieve pressure in the short term, but they are going to add a lot of dreaded “tech debt” that will slow you down when you try to transform your contact centre technology (which, by the way, you need to do 😃).

If you’re still reading then I’ve hopefully convinced you to at least stop and think about the decisions you’re making. If so, great! Now let me tell you the key things I think you need to contemplate right now to make better remote contact centre decisions that will set you up for future customer experience delivery success:

  1. Consider your medium and long-term customer engagement strategic goals – and choose solutions that will help progress you along that journey. Will you want to support BYOD (bring your own device)? Intelligent IVRs that leverage speech recognition and synthesis? PCI compliant IVR payment solutions? This is an opportunity to take a step to unlocking these capabilities, and the best Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) players don’t have long-term commitments, or large implementation lead-times, which means you can move fast and without big commercial commitments.
  2. Do a WFH trial with a leading CCaaS platform pick your optimal, long term CCaaS provider and do a trial with a group of team members. The key to successful innovation is experimentation – there has never been a better time to rapidly experiment with leading cloud-based contact centre technologies to solve immediate challenges but also learn for future transformations.
  3. Pick the right implementation partner – (disclaimer – shameless sales plug) you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) start from square one – pick an implementation partner who will help you make the right decisions and rapidly spin up a trial – and then be there with you for the long haul of your CCaaS migration. But make sure you pick the right partner that has the experience and capability to accelerate your transformation.
  4. Optimise your operating model – work from home solutions are as much people and process-focused as technology – look to market leaders in this space (another shameless marketing plug for TSA) who have learned the hard lessons about how to make WFH models work. 

At TSA, we have partnered with AWS to successfully roll out solutions for our clients that are powered by Amazon Connect. A great example is our partnership with G8 Education, Australia’s leading provider of early childhood education and care. The Amazon Connect powered platform we built for G8 allowed us to migrate the entire contact centre teamwork from home model, both for inbound and outbound voice, within 24 hours and with no degradation of functionality, quality, or customer experience. The nature of WebRTC platforms such as Amazon Connect means they do not require the typical on-premise network and telephony infrastructure to deliver a high quality and secure voice capability. We were able to deliver the exact same capability with all the same quality assurance functionality (e.g. analysed call recordings) without any additional development or configuration activity (or any costs), which when coupled with the right operating model, people support and remote working tools, has led to a world-class WFH outcome.

We are supporting a number of our clients to rapidly stand up remote working voice and messaging solutions. If you are facing challenges with your existing solutions, or just want to explore the concept, challenges and common pitfalls of having team members working from home, please just reach out to us and we would be more than happy to have a chat and share our insights with you.

TSA are Australia’s market leading specialists in CX consultancy and services. We are passionate about revolutionising the way brands connect with Australians. How? By combining our local expertise with the most sophisticated customer experience technology on earth, and delivering with an expert team of customer service consultants who know exactly how to help brands care for their customers.

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