Business Continuity

Key factors to consider when choosing a cloud contact center for remote agents

By Devon Mychal

0 min read

Business Continuity for Contact Centers

The rapidly evolving health crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) is disrupting the lives of millions around the world. As cities and entire countries shelter-in-place to slow transmission, companies large and small struggle to quickly equip employees with the right technology to work from home.

In the midst of this chaos, customer service operations are particularly vulnerable. Over 85% of contact centers still rely on premises-based technology that can’t easily support remote work. Employees in many of these contact centers are tethered to their workstations, using physical telephones, desktop computers, and contact center applications that are installed on local servers. Meanwhile, customer demand remains high, with call and ticket volumes spiking unpredictably. Maintaining business continuity in the contact center has never been more critical.

If you are like most CX leaders, you have at least done some due diligence on cloud contact center solutions. You may have even started planning your contact center’s transition to the cloud in the longer term. Now, COVID-19 is forcing your hand and extending your on-premises technology with VPN for at-home work is fraught with risk.

Although moving your contact center to the cloud has many benefits in both the short and long-term, it’s important to choose a solution with the right characteristics and capabilities to support a seamless transition to remote work. Talkdesk can help you maintain business continuity and deliver an exceptional customer experience during the current crisis and beyond, with solutions designed to make your transition to the cloud quick, easy, and cost-effective, regardless of your business needs.

As you weigh your options, there are a few key factors that should always be top of mind.

Business Continuity

Business Continuity

Keep your business moving forward, even in times of uncertainty. Transition your contact center to the cloud in as little as 24 hours and equip your agents with best-in-class tools to work from anywhere, without missing a beat.

1. Speed of Deployment

Even if your contact center(s) is not located in an area heavily impacted by the coronavirus, it’s likely only a matter of time. A traditional contact center, by its very nature, is exactly the kind of environment that contributes to the spread of a virus. The recent outbreak in a South Korean contact center is a stark reminder that it’s time to send your staff home. At the same time, you need to ensure that your customers don’t experience any downtime. It’s important to ask any potential cloud contact center provider how quickly they can have you up and running in the cloud—and to understand exactly what that means.

Key questions:

  • How long will it take your cloud contact center provider to provision all of your agents, forward existing phone numbers, configure your IVR flows and setup inbound call routing?
  • Do they offer a mobile application that allows agents to take calls immediately, even if you aren’t able to provide them with laptops and headsets right away?

2. Ease-of-Use

An intuitive user experience should always rank highly among your evaluation criteria—slow onboarding and poorly designed workflows can cripple contact center productivity even in the best of times. When agents work remotely, it becomes even more important to provide them with tools that are easy to learn and easy to use. A quick cloud deployment won’t count for much if you choose technology that requires your agents and supervisors to go through extensive training in order to start serving customers.

Key questions:

  • Does the cloud contact center solution have a modern user interface that streamlines workflows for agents and supervisors?
  • How long will it take your staff to get comfortable using the new software? Are there online training and certification tools that can help with the training process?
  • Do they offer integrations with out-of-the-box automations that reduce the need for context switching, or provide agents with an AI-powered virtual assistant?

"Zumiez had to completely recreate our contact center from fully on-site to fully remote.Talkdesk was one of the few systems that took no effort whatsoever. We were able to transition our agents to home with absolutely no interruption in service, allowing us to provide mind-blowing customer service at a time when our competitors were struggling."

Megan Hamilton, Customer Service Manager, Zumiez

3. Insights and Oversight

As your agents start working from home, supervisors who have relied on in-person oversight and live training sessions to manage teams will face new challenges. Providing supervisors with accurate and timely insights will become even more critical to maintaining a great customer experience and operational efficiency. In-depth analytics and cost-effective call recording capabilities serve as the virtual ‘eyes and ears’ your supervisors need to manage agent performance, identify issues and provide coaching.

Key questions:

4. Flexibility and Scalability

During a crisis, changing market conditions and unpredictable new developments that impact your customers can cause interaction volumes to spike. To make things worse, IT resources are often stretched thin as the entire organization is forced to adopt new technology and processes to support remote work. As a result, you should carefully evaluate whether the contact center solution can scale quickly and is easily reconfigured without the help of IT.

Key questions:

  • Does the cloud solution make it easy to provision new agents and purchase new numbers?
  • Can it support the maximum number of agents you might need in the short and long-term?
  • Is it easy to build reports and dashboards, redefine KPIs, set up integration automations or make changes to your routing, all without a developer or dedicated technical resource?

5. Proactive Notifications and Customer Self-Service

News continues to break about contact centers experiencing an abnormally high volume of interactions as the COVID-19 crisis develops. As work from home agents adjust to new routines and technology, it’s entirely possible that your contact center could be overwhelmed by an unexpected surge in demand. However, some cloud contact center platforms offer outbound automation and AI-driven self-service capabilities that can help deflect inbound volume and create a more dynamic customer experience.

Key questions:

  • Does the contact center solution offer automated proactive outbound capabilities that make it easy to send timely notifications to customers via SMS or voice, without any agent involvement?
  • Could your contact center benefit from deploying self-service capabilities like AI-powered virtual agents, chatbots or an intelligent knowledge base?

CX Services

Bring your contact center of the future vision to life with expert help every step of the way.

The right cloud contact center for the current crisis, and beyond

Moving to the cloud solves several short-term problems while offering several more long-term gains. Considering the immediate need to offer agents the ability to work from home–ensuring their safety while maintaining business continuity throughout the COVID-19 crisis—it is crucial to choose a solution that supports a seamless transition to remote work.

Talkdesk business continuity offers several approaches to a dilemma that has only just presented itself, including contact center services activation in as little as 24 hours, the ability to retain the investments made in existing systems while transitioning to cloud solutions, and empowering agents to support customers from anywhere on mobile devices. Talkdesk cloud contact center solutions make it possible for companies to not just survive, but to thrive through the coronavirus pandemic and be set up for long-term success.

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Devon Mychal

Devon Mychal is a Product Marketing Manager at Talkdesk with a passion for telling compelling stories about technical products that solve impactful business problems. In his free time, he is a passionate foodie, coffee brewer, and collector of bourbon, with a love for sci-fi/fantasy novels. He lives in SF but takes every excuse to make a trip to Tahoe.