Sam O’Brien of RingCentral gives insights and examples of what a successful remote contact centre looks like.
Are you wondering if it’s possible to run a successful remote contact centre? Here are some examples of businesses already making the change to inspire you.
The era of remote work isn’t just a concept shimmering on the horizon any more.
At the beginning of 2020, the arrival of the COVID-19 coronavirus caused the widespread disruption and transformation of a huge number of businesses. The result meant that employees could no longer work in the office, and large contact centres with hundreds of team members struggled to survive.
One of the most crucial support pillars in our landscape is the contact centre. The contact centre isn’t just an environment for making sales and cultivating customers. These spaces are also a source of support, guidance, and reassurance for customers in times of crisis. In fact, in times of global panic, it’s usually the contact centre that bears the brunt of customer concern and anxiety.
Since artificial intelligence and automated systems still have a long way to go before they can deliver the kind of outcomes that today’s customers expect, it’s important to have another business continuity strategy in place.
Businesses are rapidly discovering that if they want to withstand any potential impact on the contact centre, then they need to have a strategy for remote work set up.
The work-from-home call centre in the UK might still be a worrisome concept for a lot of business leaders, but many are beginning to realize that remote strategies are essential to maintain ongoing operations in times of crisis.
With at least 4% of the British population now employed in contact centres, failing to have the right strategy in place could mean not just the destruction of companies, but the crumbling of the economy too.
TTEC Holdings Moves Entirely to the Cloud
To ensure that contact centres can continue to operate in times of crisis, businesses are increasingly turning to the cloud in search of increased flexibility and opportunity.
Cloud-based contact centre solutions, also known as CCaaS, ensure that operations can continue as efficiently away from the office as they do in a traditional environment.
For instance, TTEC Holdings, a leading provider of customer experience technology, focused on the implementation of disruptive solutions for leading brands, announced that it’s hiring over 3,500 cloud contact centre employees.
The remote workforce will include operations managers, team leaders, and agents, all permitted to work from home in the UK.
The company’s new at-home model ensures that client workforces are properly distributed throughout various geographies, so that all customers can continue to get the high quality of service that they expect.
TTEC assists its employees with a variety of service and technical needs across channels for chat, social media, voice, and email.
The work-from-home solution combines all of the same security and operational excellent of the TTEC onsite customer engagement centre, with more flexibility for the current landscape.
TTEC’s approach to the at-home contact centre is similar to the strategy used by AXA Insurance, which recently revolutionized its own contact centre solution and customer service strategy using RingCentral Engage.
The company achieved a 50% month-on-month increase in digital interaction, a 50% reduction in time to reaching resolution, and a 10 times increase in case resolution.
Both TTEC and AXA are proving that moving the contact centre into the cloud doesn’t just offer more opportunities for business continuity, it could make the workforce more productive and effective too.
In the future, contact centre jobs may be more commonly conducted from home, if businesses continue to see the value in allowing for a flexible workforce.
The lesson to learn from TTEC’s work in the remote contact centre space is that the quicker that you can begin building a strong remote workforce, the easier it will be to prepare for any disaster that might happen.
The company’s decision to expand with remote contact centre agents meant that it could not only continue with business as usual but also deliver more of the right interactions, in the right locations for customers.
Working with a global cloud contact centre provider with data centres around the world will mean that you don’t have to compromise on call or service quality when making the switch to remote workers and the cloud.
You can access an enterprise video conferencing solution that ensures colleagues, partners, and clients maintain the same incredible experiences, no matter where your contact centre might be.
Kuoni Strengthens Customer Experience From the Crowd
Similarly to TTEC, Kuoni, a luxury travel company, recently discovered the benefits of the remote call centre for its teams. The business decided to launch a new central contact centre environment, powered by 40 people, all working remotely.
These well-travelled and highly experienced personal travel experts are designed to help customers manage and create bookings.
When the COVID-19 crisis emerged, travel was one of the industries most affected by the rising need for customer service. As airlines and airways shut down, companies were forced to deal with thousands of customers, all calling in to find out whether they were still going on their upcoming vacation.
To deal with this influx, Kuoni decided that the best option was to create a dedicated team with the right insights to help people from home.
Although the Kuoni brand was forced to close its 48 stores around the UK to help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, the company reassured customers that they will continue to get the first-class experience and support that they expect.
This was only possible with the adoption of a cloud-based contact centre environment and remote call centre jobs.
The dedicated remote call centre team are on hand to help customers reshape their plans according to the coronavirus crisis. Additionally, the employees will also be available to help anyone plan ahead for holidays in the year ahead.
Commenting on the decision to move to a contact centre in the cloud, the CEO of Kuoni said that they’re pleased to be up and running with a remote contact centre backed by a talented team of travel experts.
The lesson to learn from Kuoni’s efforts in remote contact centre support here is that the company is continuing to put the needs of its customers first during difficult times.
Through cloud-based technology, the business can ensure that it’s not leaving its clients high and dry. Picking the right people for the remote contact centre team means that Kuoni will be able to look after customers with a professional and informed experience.
This approach is remarkably similar to Toptal’s strategy for remote working, which involves hiring people who have the most remote-friendly traits, like the ability to work independently or respond quickly to collaboration requests.
When you’re building your remote contact centre, remember not just to consider what technology you need, like collaboration tools for sharing screens or video calls, as well as CCaaS technology. You’ll also need to consider how you’re going to choose the best people to lead and inspire your remote working strategy.
Ctrip Achieves Early Adoption Success
Finally, it’s important to remember that the possibility of remote work existed long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
While the coronavirus outbreak has pushed more businesses to consider remote work as a reliable alternative to the office, there are early adopters out there that have already proven that the strategy can work.
For instance, a Stanford study into remote working and how effective it can be for today’s businesses looked at a Chinese travel agency called Ctrip. This company with 16,000 employees assigned a small group of call centre employees to work from home.
The initial experiment meant that the business could discover some of the benefits of remote working for themselves, before jumping into a full investment.
Ctrip discovered that there are dozens of benefits to remote working in the contact centre that are waiting to be unlocked. For instance, having a remote workforce means that you can access a wider selection of talented people to fill the gaps in your team.
Additionally, when there are fewer employees cramped into an office, then you can reduce your overhead expenses too.
Allowing employees to work externally means that you need less space in your traditional office. What’s more, employees have the freedom to work in the environments where they feel the most productive.
The study on Ctrip discovered that the team working from home were a lot more productive than their counterparts. They worked longer hours, completed more tasks within less time, and were also so much happier with their jobs.
On top of that, Ctrip found that allowing remote teams to operate in the contact centre means that these employees were less likely to quit. Since turnover is a common issue in any call centre, giving your people the freedom to work remotely could help you to hold onto crucial talent.
Ctrip also saved around $1000 per employee when it came to the reduced costs of office space and other overheads. This suggests that anyone in the current business landscape looking to cut their budget or save money can benefit from a remote workforce too.
Ctrip’s remote workforce teaches us that despite popular belief, allowing your employees to work remotely doesn’t make them less productive or more prone to distraction.
Instead, it opens the door for more effective and satisfied employees who are committed to supporting your brand.
If you have the right technology in place to ensure that your team members can work successfully from home, including collaboration tools and contact centre technology in the cloud, then there’s no downside.
You save money, reduce turnover, and increase productivity, all at the same time.
Embracing Remote Contact Centres
Taking your contact centre into the remote landscape can seem like a complicated process. There’s a lot of work to be done if you want to ensure that you have the right system in place.
For instance, you need to do your research into appropriate vendors and find the company that can give you a reliable global experience that mimics your in-office contact centre.
You’ll also need to think about how you can make the work from home call centre in the UK more effective. This could mean investing in tools to go alongside your remote call centre, such as collaboration tools for external employees, and call recording and reporting solutions to help you to keep track of things like productivity and performance.
On top of that, there’s also the demand for contact centre leaders to carefully consider which employees should work from home.
Choosing the right team members to embrace the remote working strategy means that you’ll be more likely to unlock improved productivity and better customer experience, regardless of whether your contact centre is online or in the office.
However, the case studies above prove that when you have the right remote contact centre strategy in place and the correct technology to enhance it, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.
The remote contact centre in this current environment sets your business up for success in the future by giving you access to more talent and happier employees.
Your remote contact centre also reduces your overhead costs, so you can ensure that you’re spending money on the right things, like developing your business and expanding opportunities for better customer experience.
All the while, using a tool will give you the chance to unlock disruptive new ways of serving your clients. For instance, customers can launch contact experiences from everything from social media to an instant messaging app.
With cloud-based solutions for the contact centre, businesses don’t just protect their companies with the right tools for business continuity.
The contact centre in the cloud also means that you can open the door to endless new opportunities for profit, growth, and transformation.
For more from RingCentral on the topic of remote contact centres, read their article: How a Remote Contact Centre Contributes to Business Continuity
Find further information about RingCentral’s contact centre solutions by visiting www.ringcentral.co.uk/contact-centre