Along with much of modern life, the contact centre is forever changed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Workers in affected regions simply are no longer able to travel to and sit closely together in traditional contact centres which has led to an increase in contact centre agents working remotely. To do so, in addition to good connectivity and devices, they need access to enterprise-grade systems that enable them with all the capabilities of the traditional call centre in their homes.
The first phase has seen a temporary wave of fire-fighting initiatives aimed at keeping the organisation’s call centre capability operational but the next step will be to take a far more structured and strategic approach to managing a more permanent situation. It’s likely that, ultimately, a blend of home-working and traditional call centre working will emerge with functions like training happening in the centralised office while much of the day-to-day call handling happens at agent’s homes. The big barns with hundreds of staff working terminals are likely to house fewer workers as social distance is kept and ultimately may switch to smaller facilities.
“There will be less face-to-face business and more virtual business – at least for a while,” saidJohnnie Wilkenschildt, senior director of product management for SAP Contact Center 365 at SAP Digital Interconnect. “Although we will still visit bricks and mortar locations, the new world will see much more done online and people will order more digitally. This means hyper demand on contact centres and that is putting demand on agents who are working from home.”