8th November 2021
By: John Jackson, Product Lead, Cloud, Maintel
It is fair to say that life has become more difficult for everyone. COVID-19 has changed everything, and we have all had to adjust to new ways of living and working especially in a remote/distributed environment.
The pandemic means that more people are trying to get more information from organisations online or through call centres. Whether it’s people looking for information about how COVID-19 impacts their business or personal circumstances, trying to access insurance details or rebooking their holidays, call centre support has reached unprecedented levels. This stretches further call handling teams and will frustrate customers if response times are slow. If queues are allowed to build over a period, this will not only lead to an increase in complaints but also potentially significant reputational and regulatory impacts for businesses or organisations.
Overcoming changing environments
On the flip side, homeworking has increased flexibility for staff. However, although commutes are non-existent or at least less stressful, it has driven heightened stress levels in different ways. Agents are not able to be in their usual buildings with their PCs and companies struggle to support technology remotely. Also, although teams can work from home, they lack the expertise to deliver remotely day-to-day.
This can also impact customers, create regulatory headaches and incomplete processes whilst the delays build up, as well as massively impact the mental wellbeing of staff with customers being more demanding as they expect greater amounts of information and support. The increased demand, sense of isolation, distractions in the home environment and a large increase in abuse incidents experienced over the pandemic all affect the mental resilience of staff, which is hard to manage remotely.
How can the employer help?
Employers are finding it difficult to detect mood changes in employees as people’s emotions are much harder to read remotely. This hinders early intervention for supervisors and managers who previously could step in much earlier when they see deteriorating performance or wellbeing. Sadly, many companies although quick to roll out the technology to support remote working, have been slower to look at technology and programs to check on staff wellbeing and offer training and advice on working remotely, and motivate staff effectively. The upshot of this means that staff are unable to cope, and burnout is common. In a recent study, 91% of call centre staff are likely to leave their jobs within six months * which has huge ramifications for businesses.
Although technology has allowed so many to work from home it does have its challenges. We have all experienced poor connectivity over broadband at some point or slowness in accessing customer information to resolve their queries. Video has also been a challenge with many experiencing security breaches when interacting with customers.
Making homeworking better
A successful transformation to home working requires much more than technology, operations, or facilities considerations. It is a bigger employee experience challenge, where you must think more specifically about staff wellbeing. The pandemic and various lockdowns have meant call centres are booming as they help companies deal with an unprecedented number of calls.
Maintel is here to support you with your contact centre needs quickly and efficiently. We have the solutions to improve your call centre and drive both efficiency and cost savings, but also to discuss technology that improves the experience of homeworking, including the wellbeing of your staff.
We have successfully transitioned thousands to a remote working model during the pandemic, and we are here to help you deliver and manage a model tailored to your needs.
*Agent wellbeing research report February 2021 by Enghouse Interactive
Our expert team is readily available to help with any questions you may have.