Back in the day, we could meet face-to-face and talk through the imperative information needed to make business decisions. Some of us would get up from their seats to walk over and have a chat with a co-worker to get clarity on work tasks. If we were really busy, we’d often schedule a meeting to meet face-to-face. My favorite parts about going to work were feeling like I was an effective change manager. With a simple flick of the wrist, we hosted hack-a-thons, onsite case studies, and all while making real strides to learn about the real end-user. Thus about our products and our business. That was 8 weeks ago.
The good news is that we can still do all of that… from the comfort of our homes.
There is no secret sauce during these unprecedented times. Just like everything else, work must go on. I conducted an online interview with our VP of Product, Barry Williams, and hit him with some tough questions on the subject of working from home and what are the dire needs to be met for us to be successful through this time.
Q. How are you doing Barry? Please have a seat.
A. I am doing well Manni, thanks for asking. We have a lot going on with the company but it’s all good stuff. Happy to take a virtual seat and chat with you!
Q. Right. How do companies have to pivot their workforce to meet the needs of today’s business landscape?
A. That depends a lot on the area of industry and includes everything from remote workers to providing safety equipment like gloves and masks for a critical business like food processing or mask manufacturing, but for our industry, in particular, it means remote workers using voice, chat, email and social media to help their customers. Many of our customers and partners went fully remote overnight, putting a strain on their network, security, and vendors for voice and other channels. We went fully remote as well, and are fortunate to have infrastructure, resources, and knowledge to do so quickly. For contact centers, the challenges of scheduling, quality management, customer experience measurement, and operations are uniquely challenging with a new remote workforce. They need reliable tools, knowledgeable partners and software vendors like us to help them not only operate but to get closer to their customers during this crisis.
Q. So, doesn’t that require a lot of effort to schedule, optimize, and enable agents to meet this new paradigm?
A. It certainly can. Without automated tools for communicating schedule changes or tools to measure customer experience & compliance, contact centers will experience a downturn in Csat, SLAs, and potentially lose revenue by losing customers. Today’s customers often will expect continuity despite a lack of stability in their own lives. Contact centers are more complex than they have ever been and need tools to reduce costs, guarantee levels of service, and keep them compliant.
Q. …and work cultures are changing. What do companies need to do to keep up with the times?
A. Maintaining flexible strategies for hosting software, choosing vendors like us who are environment agnostic and keeping policies, and security as modern as possible all grease the wheels for staying relevant and competitive in today’s markets. Times have changed, and remote workers, cloud solutions, and VPN are being used in places they were not allowed before.
Q. You’re telling me that we should learn how to be experts in… what? “Adaptation”?
A. Well, we work in software to solve complex problems like keeping customers happy even when they are reporting an issue. The ability to scale, migrate, measure complex data sets, illuminate issues early are critical to staying ahead of the pack, and retaining customers. Compliance used to mean inflexibility but today it means keeping up with ever-changing regulation. Customer experience used to mean a smiling agent following a good script, but now it means multi-channel, multi-skill. In our business those who do not adapt get left behind, especially when things get hard like they are now.
Q. You have 5 seconds left. What if any are your closing thoughts?
A. We understand the challenges out there today, and where things are headed. Our goal is to equip our partners and customers with solutions that elevate encounters for their customers regardless of business climate, industry, regulation, or environment. Everyone is being challenged right now, budgets are tight and things are tough. It is during these times that true leaders and innovators take the lead position for easier times. Now is the time for opportunity.