Right now, many companies across the UK are running their businesses remotely, as they abide with social distancing ‘rules’ laid down by the Government in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
Right now, many companies across the UK are running their businesses remotely, as they abide with social distancing ‘rules’ laid down by the Government in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. Maintaining these strict measures can be difficult at the best of times, but it’s especially a problem for call centres. Here are some tips to help owners and managers deal with the necessary restrictions.
As you're aware, the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the way we all work.
With the UK possibly in lockdown for six months, which would take us through to the first days of autumn, call centre managers have been dealt a tricky hand.
They must do their best to present a ‘business as usual’ image to customers while, at the same time, ensure the wellbeing of all employees.
On the face of it, this appears to be quite a tricky balancing act and may even seem impossible to achieve.
But don’t despair because there are ways to minimise or reduce the damage the current crisis is having on businesses, as well as its personnel.
To observe social distancing ‘rules’ laid down by the Government, for reasons of health and safety, this has resulted in many people working from home.
But this is particularly difficult for the call centre sector, who must find a way of looking after staff while attempting to maintain a good customer service?
However, there are solutions to this rather perplexing problem.
Here are three steps for running a call centre from home, and so ensure the successful continuity of your business:
1 Arrange for remote access
First and foremost, your team needs to have remote access to call centre systems and applications.
Therefore, install one of the Unified Communications cloud-based management systems which are currently available.
Configured remotely, these provide a number of advanced features all aimed at giving your customers the best possible service during the coming weeks and months.
- Shared whiteboards
- Automated reporting
- Call monitoring and assistance
- Queue monitoring and handling
These features allow for monitoring, collaboration and transparency, which are currently more crucial than ever.
Call monitoring and assistance allows a business to deliver remote on-the-job training, while ensuring agents remain highly skilled and that all calls are dealt with in an efficient manner.
2 Audio delivery and quality
VoIP solutions allow your agents to access your corporate network. This is achieved by installing an agent-to-cloud VPN (virtual private network), using your employees’ home broadband systems.
This ensures consistent, top quality audio throughout the call by using an integrated softphone.
A SIP (session initiation protocol) compatible softphone requires no installation on an agent's desktop or laptop, but still allows call centre managers to monitor their workforce remotely.
3 Ensure security and compliance
To be confident that a company’s remote call centre is secure, and agents comply with the necessary rules and regulations, robust systems need to be put in place.
It is vitally important all applications require agents to use unique usernames and passwords, when signing in through your VPN or corporate network.
You should also encrypt all of your traffic with transport layer security (TLS).
For those agents who take card payment data, your system must adopt features such as a Semafone*.
This will ensure you follow PCI (payment card industry) security standards for every CNP (card not present) transaction.
This feature stipulates that sensitive data, such as a three or four character security code, must be protected and cannot be stored.
Managing your agents remotely
Fortunately, with technology improving leaps and bounds with almost every new release – with regards to cloud-based software developments – operating a call centre remotely is easier and more secure than ever.
You must also keep your agents motivated, by offering rewards to those who meet business objectives.
Although we are living through unprecedented and extraordinary times, there is no reason why companies cannot continue to offer good levels of customer service, while also maintaining growth during this nationwide lockdown.
Hopefully, the above guidelines will help you to navigate your way to greater business success over the coming months.
* Semafone provides software to contact centres so they can take personal data securely over the telephone.
This article comes courtesy of PBX Hosting, a leading IP telecommunications provider that offers a robust, Wholesale Channel Partner solution complete with fully automated self-service portals to enable rapid deployment to market.