The only constant is change – helping businesses to keep pace
Recent events have propelled companies into rethinking their business models. Contact centres, the frontline of many businesses, have really had to pull out the stops to meet new demands in customer services. Andy Tucker, Success Manager at Cirrus, discusses how resellers can help contact centres ease into new ways of working and meet customer expectations with CCaaS offerings.
We know that flexible is the new way to work
The last nine months have shown that companies need to be flexible in how they do business. Whether that means hiring extra staff to meet demand or putting employees on furlough for short periods to meet new lockdown rules. Flexible is the new essential. Every business is affected, whether in retail, hospitality or financial services, for frontline staff or back office operations, adaptability is necessary for survival.
For contact centres this is particularly true. Switching rapidly to a remote working model, or a hybrid of socially distanced contact centre connected to some homeworking agents, has resulted in critical changes. Not only have businesses had to look at systems that can support homeworking (having been previously reliant on an existing legacy communications infrastructure), they have had to consider two key issues. Firstly, how can they easily scale up systems to meet peaks in demand, and secondly, how can they effectively support staff working at home using new systems, at a time when they are already under stress with the enforced changes. Adaptable, easy to use systems are the key. Flexible in that licences can be added easily or reduced (based on an agreed minimum number) to match fluctuating agent numbers, and intuitive to use such that agents can plug in and be up and running with minimal training or support.
The traditional buying cycles are changing
We know that many contact centres have set buying cycles (of around 3-5 years) and may not wish to invest in new systems. However, the great advantage of cloud-based services is that the switch can be done very easily in a piecemeal approach using operating budget. There is no need to invest in big new infrastructure projects using capex budgets. Cloud solutions offer a flexible, ‘pay as you use’ model.
Going digital – keeping up with customers
New digital channels can also be added as an overlay as part of a unified communications structure to meet today’s customer expectations. Most customers are already using their phones throughout the day, swapping from WhatsApp to email to Facebook. For businesses wanting to provide an optimum service, offering a choice of how customers can interact with them is an obvious win.
Enabling customers to choose whether they use livechat, email or a voice call can also help with peaks in demand. When the phone lines are busy and it’s a simple question, how much easier is it for the answer to be on the FAQs on the website or for a chat bot to handle the query? It also frees up agents to deal with more vulnerable customers who may require that extra reassurance.
Covid is no longer an excuse
Customers may have been forgiving earlier this year when they had longer call waiting times to cancel their holiday booking or talk to their bank. But now there is no excuse. Businesses can, and should, have put alternative working arrangements in place. With cloud on-demand services there is no reason why there are not enough agents available to answer queries, or alternative communication channels be available as options. The old forecasting and scheduling models may be redundant, but today companies can quickly scale up or down to meet Christmas demand.
Proven expertise in customer success
There are an estimated 1100 Contact Centres with 20+ seats in the UK and approx. 5% of UK population works in them. It’s a big market and now is the time to take advantage of it. As a reseller you may be left thinking – how can I help customers to move forward with these new unified comms models? Cirrus and Gamma are both established players in the market and have the expertise – and experience – of working with resellers and their customers. Cirrus’ proven cloud solutions complement Gamma’s systems and offer a flexible way for contact centres to dip their toe in the new way of working, reaping the benefits in customer service delivery while managing risk and cost.