When Things Get Tough, the Tough Get Going: Contact Center Transformation in an Age of Disruption
Originally published on Customer Magazine
Nearly every large enterprise and government agency has a dramatic story about shifting their contact center workforce to a work-from-home (WFH) model in record time due to the pandemic. Now that it has happened, out of necessity, and contact center leaders have worked through the initial shock of moving agents home, WFH is becoming the rule rather than the exception.
Getting there has not been easy.
According to one company who ended up accelerating existing digital transformations for their contact center and CX clients, and taking on entirely new clients looking for support when everything turned upside down in March of this year, “The pandemic hit customer service operations especially hard given that so much collaboration in contact centers happens with teams of agents, trainers, managers, and their leaders.”
Jeff Tropeano, a pioneer in developing automated CX solutions through the Eventus IntelligenceHub platform, also runs this Denver-based company’s managed services running contact centers for massive consumer brands, and given multiple roles in product development, marketing, IT, and innovation, says that having on the ground experience made it possible for the company to respond to impossible challenges.
While Tropeano could not reveal the companies with whom they worked to dramatically improve efficiency, security, and outcomes – in the middle of a storm – they include a Tier One digital service provider (otherwise known as a Tier One telco) with tens of thousands of agents in contact centers around the world.
“We could never – in a million years – been able to move as fast as we did to help them migrate as many agents as they had to – without really exceptional technology and data architecture,” Tropeano said.
The company also helped one of America’s largest health insurance providers by bringing in the new technologies (for example, webchat) that were already on the roadmap, but which served immediate purposes when things changed. “This is a client we have helped for many years,” Tropeano said, “and given that this crisis is a health crisis affecting many of their members and the businesses they support, putting productivity tools in place was lifesaving…literally.”
While the company itself had to change its operations overnight with their own team working from home, Tropeano said, “the massive demand for our help inspired our leadership team to step forward and step up, taking on big and complex projects because we truly care about every client we have. We learned what the real issues were – in real-time – and it was exhausting but exciting to partner with our clients and invent many new ways to work on the fly.”
Tropeano cited one such project as support of an Unemployment Insurance agency initiative in one of the largest states in the nation, which was inundated with millions of calls, and was challenged by fraudulent claims.
“This agency, which is known for their technology leadership, could not have been prepared for COVID-19 – none of the state’s agencies could have been,” Tropeano explained. “They wanted to get money into the hands of so many who lost their jobs and needed to feed their families as quickly and efficiently as possible, so we had to get creative and productive fast. Working with one of the world’s largest cloud CRM companies and leveraging our IntelligenceHub platform capabilities, we were able to put together a ‘tiger team’ of around two dozen experts and programmers and made a huge difference in a matter of days and weeks. The results were so positive that our mandate has been expanded and will be carried across other state agencies in 2021.”
Despite the circumstances, WFH shines a new spotlight on how businesses can maintain a high quality of engagement with their customers.
“With the right tools, we feel it can create situations in which agents can be more focused, more relaxed, more engaged, and more willing to help. Traditional beliefs that customer service can only be provided centrally in expensive real estate is no longer true,” Tropeano said, “and this changes the economics of this industry for the better. What we’re now seeing is massive cost savings are possible with technology that generates more cash to invest in even better technology to serve up personalized and productive engagements day in, day out. When we start to see these advances, we feel even better about the effort all have put in – the next normal actually could be a better normal than ever before. We will keep trying and pushing forward.”
Eventus is sponsoring a free webinar, produced by Customer Magazine, featuring Heather Barrow, product and platform manager for IntelligenceHub, and industry expert Jon Arnold on October 20, 2020. In part, this educational interactive industry conversation will address opportunities to leverage data, and not drown in data. Register here.
As enterprises continue to try and process the massive disruption, turmoil and uncertainty brought about by the global pandemic in 2020, how they plan and budget for 2021 and beyond – especially in the contact center industry – has taken on a whole new meaning.
Who isn’t trying to find new ways to conserve resources – lower costs – and generate better results from their investments in customer experience and contact centers? There are so many opportunities to save money by leveraging automation to reduce labor.