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  • Bianca Wright

How To Prepare Your Call Center for Coronavirus

The Group of Seven (G-7) leaders met on March 3, 2020, to determine how to limit damage to the global economy from the coronavirus. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) canceled their ELC 2020 Annual Meeting set for next week. American manufacturing has slowed to a crawl as the virus jams up the global supply chain. Organizers have canceled industry events due to travel restrictions and anxiety from attendees and sponsors.

The ripple effect of this deadly virus is being felt worldwide.

As businesses grapple with the economic impact of this latest health scare, customer call centers are dealing with the people side of things. Customers are anxious; call volume is high.

In a perfect world, businesses would be prepared for every contingency. It’s one thing to prepare for a known event, like an oncoming hurricane. But how does a company manage a situation that seemed isolated but in a short time finds itself in a full-blown crisis?

In times of crisis, you need to have a certain level of agility. If your operation doesn’t have it, you can’t manufacture it overnight.

How can customer service automation serve you in a time like this? Let’s address your business pain points.

Top 4 Pain Points Facing Your Customer Call Center

Pain Point No. 1 - Anxiety. Customers are understandably anxious. What people crave during times of uncertainty are calm reassurance and accurate information. Your customer call center represents the face of your brand. You want your company armed with the best guidance tools to be able to provide a seamless experience. Providing a consistent customer experience is paramount when customers want answers now. Agent guidance can help. When agents have insight into the next best action, they’ll always know what, when, and how to respond to customer questions.

Pain Point No. 2 - High Contact Volume. If you’ve ever tried to contact a governmental agency or phone service provider, you’ve experienced long wait times. I know I have. There’s nothing more frustrating than enduring a 40-minute Muzak soundtrack only to be asked to repeat the same information!

Customer service automation can rescue your customers by delivering personalized guided servicing options including visual IVRs, multimodal assistants and intelligent chatbots. With omnichannel connectivity, these concierge experiences have not only reduced calls, emails, and chat messages (which require call center staffing) but also increased first contact resolution for customers.

Talk about de-escalating a stressful situation. Everyone wins.

Pain Point No. 3 - Lost Productivity. Most call centers already suffer from high employee attrition and long onboarding times due to the complexity in delivering customer service. During a shared crisis, like with COVID-19, companies need to get up to speed quickly which can be even more challenging. If you hire temps, you run the risk of giving out wrong information and providing an inconsistent customer experience. If IT and other external staff are fielding calls, they’re taking time away from their job. Your company may face compliance issues as well.

Sometimes, the toughest moments of crisis require the oldest plays in the book. You probably don’t have the time now to roll out a full-blown next best action tool or an attended robotic process automation bot. Before you resort to printouts or a static knowledge base, see how a simple call center script or an interactive decision tree can help you onboard your temps more effectively.  

Pain Point No. 4 - IT Stress. Your IT department is always under the gun, often working on short turnaround times. A crisis creates tension. IT does not have the luxury of time to solve every problem.

During medical emergencies and national disasters, first responders use triage to get treatment and food to those who will benefit most. What if you could provide basic triage for your organization?

When you’re strapped for resources, citizen development can become crucial. Someone in your organization could build a guided flow or a chatbot for a customer, for example, or a robot to automate tasks for a new agent.

Automation software enables a business analyst to build a solution rapidly, publish changes and iterate on improvements, all within the governance model put in place with IT support.

A low-code, no-code solution gives you the agility to manage customer service operations and meet governance needs. You create your own rules. Test it. Change it. Move on.

The Intersection of CX and the Global Community

The human family is interconnected. Today, it's COVID-19. Tomorrow could bring the next spike in global uncertainty. The need for preparedness and agility is more important now than ever. There’s a new way to think about contact center management and a better way to serve your customer -- using the power of automation.

Digital transformation is possible. Even during times of crisis.

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