Decentralised contact centres are here to stay (at home)
This new remote working paradigm, as established by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, is causing widespread disruption to a great number of businesses and their correlated support infrastructures.
One of those support pillars that is frequently overlooked in times of uncertainty is contact centres. In fact, these have to bear the brunt of much anxiety from concerned customers during times of crisis– a task made more challenging by having to set up an unfamiliar work station, or get acclimatised to new platforms, in order to function efficiently from home.
Nonetheless, contact centres are a human enterprise, as artificial intelligence (AI) and automated services still have some ways to go before they can attempt to replace people in contact centres.
Data from Contact Babel revealed that there are over 6,000 active contact centres in the UK, with the finance industry alone responsible for employing in excess of 225,000 people. At least 4 per cent of the British working population is employed in contact centres, and many companies across Europe will now face the challenge of supporting thousands of individuals working from home in the coming months.
To adequately service this number of employees working remotely, contact centre operators will have to turn to tools that powerfully support a variety of clientele across multiple platforms, yet are flexible enough to enable agents to work from pretty much anywhere, just like the people they are supporting.
RingCentral Engage Digital is one such platform that comes built with the necessary foundations for truly agile working capabilities, that also happens to be robust enough to provide security and control of all system activity from afar.
An example of Engage Digital’s flexibility is to keeping customers engaged seamlessly over multiple communication channels. A customer could initiate the contact from social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook Messenger, for instance, and if the need arose the communication could be extended over live chat or WhatsApp: whatever works best for the client and serves the required purpose best.
This sort of omni-channel integration with varied mediums is made possible because RingCentral Engage Digital is a fully cloud-based solution. Being entirely hosted on cloud services means that soon, there will come a day when no-one needs to be physically present in the call centre itself.
The demand for cloud contact centres is likely to outpace the current climate we are facing, and that is a good thing as SaaS solutions don’t need software installations or web browser extensions to become fully operational. All a remote working agent would need is access to the internet and a URL linking to the system, and it’s all systems go.
Besides agents, supervisors can also monitor individual and team productivity on live dashboards from their own remote station, ensuring efficiency levels are being met. Real-time data analytics and unified reporting further inform performance and managerial decisions, making sure short-term and long-term directives are being kept in sight.
Since a large number of customer service agents are now working from home, Engage Digital is the ideal system for recruiting the best specialists from around the globe, as recruiters will not have to be limited to physical hires.
Top talent might be attracted by the flexibility and the commitment to a work-life balance that a home office contact centre promises. Hiring the best along with the digitalisation of contact services will allow contact representatives to be ever-present, to better deal with increasingly demanding customers.
In essence, the contact “centre” can become wholly decentralised from physical requirements, yet still be versatile enough to order all the digital interactions into a singular platform, prioritised according to specific agent skills or any other filter, as determined by the controller.
With highly-encrypted data centres in both France and the US, RingCentral Engage Digital provides a high degree of remote, secured data access to users — with the proper authentication.
The shift to a cloud-centric, remote solution might happen as quickly as the global shift to working from home has taken root. Multiple studies have already pointed out that remote working yields higher productivity results and is a leading contributor to employee contentment.
What’s more, adopting a remote working solution will drastically reduce the operational costs of running a physical contact centre. And potentially in the near future, those physical costs might be eliminated altogether.
It’s clearly impossible to predict what the future holds, but it’s undeniable that remote working has been stress-tested over the last weeks. Whether or not working from home becomes the norm for many, it can at least be part of a viable business strategy, going forward. With RingCentral, any organisation can face the unexpected around the corner, or just as easily re-engineer any proportion of their working model.
Whatever plays out, keeping customer care services up and running is a whole lot easier than it was. To learn more about the RingCentral Digital Engage platform, click here.