The reality of COVID-19 for most businesses is stark and harsh. Companies must figure out how to operate and conduct business while keeping their employees safe.
This is especially the case for contact centers, where agents are packed into 2’ x 4’ cubicles and often share headsets, keyboards, desks, chairs and more. Contact centers have been referred to as “petri dishes” because the close quarters occupied by hundreds and sometimes thousands of employees often result in bacteria or viral illnesses passing quickly from one person to another.
Companies are facing a new set of challenges. To begin with, many are financially challenged by severe reductions in business, as is the case with travel, entertainment and retail organizations. Others, like hospitals and clinics, are being overloaded and overwhelmed with demand. They need their contact center and customer service staff to be available, particularly during challenging times when the demand for support is typically greater, as we’ve seen in other periods of uncertainty.
Since COVID-19 is a global occurrence, it won’t help for companies to send their inquiries offshore, so the next best option is to have employees work at home. This is a viable option for companies that were prepared for this scenario, if the vendors and infrastructure they depend on for business continuity have the resources and practices in place to keep their systems going.
To help clarify some of the uncertainty for organizations, we have compiled a list of practical and actionable practices that can help contact centers manage through the pandemic.