The entire world was taken by surprise when the lockdown was imposed and the first reaction for businesses was to build a business continuity plan along with the contact center operations running smoothly. Managing infrastructure in an uncertain environment like this became the biggest challenge for most contact centers because in a close-knit system as a contact center, moving remote immediately has its own set of challenges that businesses weren’t prepared for.
To address this challenge, Ameyo designed immediate solutions around VPN, getting contact centers up and running, and provided a remote solution for more than 50,000 agents in as less as 10 days’ time.
Our industry experts, Joe Jackson, Director of Business Operations at Dalex Finance, Ikenna Odike, CEO at Outcess, and Sachin Bhatia, Co-founder at Ameyo have explained the challenges for contact centers in West Africa and laid out immediate solutions in the webinar, helping businesses build a contact center for remote agents in the post COVID world.
After a few weeks into the lockdown when the initial chaos settles in and businesses were running their operations remotely, the interesting question pops up for business owners across the globe. Would it be a short stint or WFH is here to stay, changing the landscape of contact centers forever? In continuation of this, there’s another challenge of a human to human interaction. Customers want real engagement across sales, services, and collections.
Automation, being the technology of demand, is successfully addressing the customer service challenges, allowing customers to self-serve but the human touch is missing.
“Studies have shown that the talk time has increased to 2X when compared to the telcos’ data from previous years with almost 100% increment in talk time. This is clearly an answer for businesses to preserve human interaction as consumers are looking for human touch,” says Ikenna Odike.
So, now human to human interaction is irreplaceable and businesses are realizing that it’s important to provide communication that has a human touch. With this being said, there’s another question that Sachin has addresses, “Are remote contact centers here for a short stint or is it going to be a major business disruption?”
Bringing in the advantages of Remote Ready Contact Centers, Ameyo has done a survey with its customer to uncover the major business disruptions that Remote Contact Centers will bring:
Low Operation Cost
In a remote contact center environment, businesses have the potential to save around 25-30% of the cost that is spent on the agents. Assuming that the agents’ cost is 50% of the total cost and you can reduce 25% of that amounting to almost 12.5% cost reduction. This can turn out to be a long term strategic advantage even in the post-COVID era.
For businesses to continue running their operations, remote contact centers will enable them to function even without agent infrastructure like a laptop. They can continue to run their contact centers using a Mobile or Smartphone with Ameyo’s Mobile Agent App. The only pre-requisite is to have a smartphone and a stable internet connection and you will have a mini contact center in your hands.
As security remains the biggest concern, businesses need to have a strategy that provides a no-compromise environment for their company. Rightly mentioned by Joe Jackson that they are a financial service provider, dealing with sensitive customer data across all departments. To ensure data security during and after the pandemic will still remain the top priority for their business and to combat this challenge, Ameyo has designed the solutions that will fit their business needs.
Eliminating the need to expand office infrastructure while planning to expand the business, remote contact centers provide yet another opportunity for organizations to scale as they go without worrying about operational overheads or infrastructural development.
The flexibility to operate from anywhere in the world has manifold advantages. Agents can provide customer service using any device, any browser, and any environment without any barrier of being physically present in the office. Providing flexibility to agents but not limited to that, it also provides businesses with an opportunity to hire the best of talents across geographies.
Additionally, as remote contact centers are here to disrupt the businesses’ landscape, it will bring in agents very high accountability and ownership with very little supervision required. The future will become the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) with huge advantages of flawless agent engagement across all channels.
Remote Contact Center Challenges
But, as much as of an opportunity this is, there are challenges of setting a remote contact center. Here, Sachin with our speakers Ikenna and Joe will address the top challenges and how Ameyo has designed solutions to overcome these.
IT Governance & Security
As stated earlier, security is the biggest standing concern for any business. There are certain challenges like:
- Remote device monitoring: Ameyo’s remote contact center solution is designed to monitor remote devices on 15 parameters that allow the supervisor to identify reasons for low productivity.
- Data storage: Agents’ control on call recording and capturing screenshots can be restricted or disabled to ensure no data leakage and the data can be directly stored on the company’s server.
- Data Masking: Customer’s data like their personal information can be masked from remote agents, ensuring that agents do not misuse the data or threaten the company’s reputation in any circumstances.
Onboarding & Collaboration
Working in a remote environment brings in challenges like communication between the team which can certainly lead to bad customer experience.
- Team Collaboration: Supervisors or managers should be present for agents to provide on-call assistance, helping agents to resolve customer queries faster. Along with that, there should be fluid communication between agents via the internal chat option, thus building a healthy work environment.
- Easy Onboarding: The agents’ interface should be intuitive and flexible so that agents don’t find it difficult to operate and they do not have to compromise on their productivity.
- Provide Customer Context: If agents are constantly toggling off between tabs to retrieve customer information, the average handling time might increase further leading to a low customer satisfaction rate. Agents should be equipped with the right tools to have access to customer information like previous interactions history to be able to provide effective customer service.
Managing business operations like the user to queue mapping and engagement on multiple channels can be challenging while working remotely.
- Agent-Queue Alignment: Supervisors should be able to observe the call flow and align or shift their resources to different queues in real-time. Real-time monitoring of remote agents is essential to maintain the productivity of the business.
- Inclusion of Digital Channels: Remote contact centers should not be limited to voice calls as a customer service channel because the customers like to approach businesses through multiple channels. An omnichannel presence on channels like WhatsApp to engage with customers more effectively.