Into the unknown: Preparing the call center for crisis

Ashley Sava

March 17, 2020

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There’s no getting around it, COVID-19 has seriously impacted businesses and people alike. In the coming months, organizations must continue to adjust in order to maintain business operations—especially call centers. Businesses who weren’t previously prepared have been rapidly forced to come up with continuity plans. Just as natural disasters can affect every part of a company and its staff, it is now apparent that international viruses can be equally damaging—if not, more so. That's why it's essential to prepare your call center for crisis.

If you operate contact centers, particularly in healthcare, government, travel, financial services and hospitality, your day-to-day life has been utterly shaken. You also are paramount to supporting customers and their communities in this time of uncertainty.

Readying the call center for crisis

When a crisis strikes, it can limit the capability of a company to respond to calls or messages in the usual manner. On top of that, the kind of call traffic coming in will be drastically different than agents are accustomed to. Delivering uninterrupted business operations as well as keeping employees safe is the goal of any reputable company. Therefore, there are three aspects that must be addressed in order to execute a well-prepared plan. 

Decide how to handle increased call volumes

There has been an enormous spike in customer contacts in most industries since the COVID-19 outbreak. To handle this, their contact center software must have the power of scalability. 

Cloud technology allows for dynamic scaling to accommodate the extra agents that are often required in times of crises where the increase in contact volume is simply overwhelming. In order to keep things moving in the right direction, call centers need a software that is built on a flexible cloud platform that can be instantly scaled.

Leveraging the power, scalability and security of Microsoft Azure, Tethr can scale on demand, ensuring flexible and reliable cloud computing. The cloud-first platform architecture provides a future-proof technical environment that can seamlessly accommodate growth and change. Tethr gives users the wings to rapidly scale up or down to ensure that regardless of the situation, you can respond to changing conditions and make sure that you are there for your customers. 

Learn how to keep employees safe and appreciated

Allowing agents to work from home during an outbreak decreases the chances that the infection impacts your business and agent availability. Employees who utilize public transportation to get to work will be especially exposed to potential health risks. Why even gamble on the health of your staff? 

When there is widespread sickness, chances are agents in the contact center will be impacted, even if not directly. Caring for sick family members and tending to children during mandated school closures are other considerations to keep in mind.

Employees should be able to work remotely during a crisis. In order for this to work, your agents must be provided with the best tools and trained on how to use them. Using listening enterprise software like Tethr, calls can be recorded and stored in the cloud, and supervisors can monitor agent activity from wherever they are.

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Establish training protocol for the call center in a crisis

Training should take place for these sorts of situations—ideally before the fact. All new call center agents should be introduced to the continuity plans so that in the event of a disaster or a pandemic, the process can be smooth and systematic. Training protocol can include items such as manuals, recording demos, use cases, and FAQs.

All companies need a plan in place to handle emergencies, especially call centers. Be sure to publish one and make sure it is understood and distributed to your entire team in case of a call center crisis.

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