How new Culture and Leadership imposes more challenges than Technology in the new normal
Throughout the pandemic, companies have been required to move staff to work from home. However, this can be difficult, especially for companies with complex or large on-premise infrastructure, and/or those who are dealing with sensitive customer information (i.e. credit cards).
As we move the needle into the New Normal, we see that many organizations want to continue with allowing part of their staff to rotate between working from home or at the office, without being forced to select one or the other. This however, can be a tedious task since it requires a lot of development and changes in various areas of the business.
We’ve gathered some experience from this as we, with our large “bricks and mortar” sites, managed to move 65% of our workforce agents to work at home environment within 4 weeks.. This means providing them the mobility, communications and the technology to combine the best of both worlds – to work from anywhere, at any time.
Now, we’d like to share with you some of our great insights and learnings!
Initially, this requires changes in technical delivery through investment in, or expansion of, a new mobile and more flexible infrastructure. Using cloud and internet delivery capabilities is a necessity in order to move away from the large, static call center with expensive network connectivity and fixed PC and deskphone solutions.
Furthermore you need to ensure the agents can literally work from anywhere, in a controlled, safe and secure environment, with the same user experience at home as they have from the office. For us, and probably for most, this means an investment in a hybrid of Public and Private cloud rather than site based technologies. To go more in depth, we managed this through the use of a Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), cloud based proxy solutions, two factor authentication (2FA) and the deployment of laptops and softphones using internet connectivity.
We learnt though that delivering the infrastructure is the “easy” part. The harder part of this change is the switch in mentality, communication and people management techniques to shift from a present and personal style and fixed desk mentality, to a floating, autonomous culture, protecting and improving productivity through increased trust and also focused remote management, productivity & communication technologies – yes, as you see, it’s a lot.
To elevate both the agent and customer experience, and deliver companies business we see that many providers soley consider the remote connectivity, but we want to make a new leap by incorporating and leveraging advanced digital channels solutions like automation, digital recruitment, learning and coaching solutions and not least conversational technologies like messaging, bots and conversational analytics, and incorporating these into its standard operating model as part of the New Normal.
Lastly, it has been found that the customer’s mindsets and expectations can also be very demanding and constantly changes during the pandemic, especially with the closure of physical offices or store locations branches and constantly changing governmental policies. They have a higher trust for basic queries being handled through bots, webchat, messaging and are expecting augmented social media presence. Not to forget is that phone queries are increasing for more complex questions, and it’s required to link all these channels together and make the customer experience seamless no matter which channel the customer chooses to communicate with.