Over the last 14 months, many office and contact center employees have been working from home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that vaccines are rolling out and all adults in the US are eligible to become vaccinated, businesses are beginning to open their offices, returning to a more traditional setting once again.
With the return to traditional offices, your business will see some changes. Still, the effects of the last year will be felt well into the future. The pandemic is not yet over, so your business should still implement the many recommended safety precautions. What effects will this new normal have on your business and its customers? While many of the long-term effects on offices and contact centers are still unknown, some are certain.
The Business Environment Has Changed
Even as contact center agents return to the workplace and prepare to settle back into the office environment, the effects of the time spent away will be impossible to ignore. Sanitary precautions should still be taken into consideration, especially in a contact center environment. These include:
- Spaced out work areas
- Sanitized phones and headsets
- Masks when appropriate
With limited workspace, it is likely that agents will be continuing to work from home, at least part-time. This hybrid schedule is a new phenomenon that agents have become comfortable with during recent months, especially because many business calls can be answered from anywhere.
With the use of headsets, remote networks, and re-routed office phones, agents have the ability to take calls at home or in the office. This was a common practice for many businesses during the pandemic.
The Customer Base Has Evolved
Contact center agents are not the only people who have adapted to the year at home. Customers who once perused stores and browsed selections have moved to online shopping and e-commerce. Customers who have spent the last year at home have grown more familiar and more comfortable utilizing online and over-the-phone communications.
Customers at home have also spent more money on recreational items such as new televisions, workout equipment, and hobby supplies to keep entertained during their time inside. This influx of purchases increased the need for customer support.
Telephone communications have continued strong throughout the pandemic, though, and contact centers have seen a massive call volume increase throughout the pandemic.
- Customer service calls
- Technical support calls
- Sales calls
Customers will likely continue this trend into the future as the return to traditional offices continues. Primed with the added experience, contact center agents will be more primed than ever to answer customer calls with accuracy and efficiency, especially in the office where resources are more accessible.
Necessary Technological Has Been Implemented
During the early days of the pandemic, you likely saw areas where your business was lacking. While this is harrowing during a time of change, it allows you and your business to take stock of these weaknesses and improve upon them. All of the following were of the utmost importance to contact centers during the pandemic:
- Conference calls
- Remote networking
- Digital filing techniques
Strategies that work in a day-to-day office environment might seem fine until they are put to the ultimate test, and their faults are uncovered. If any practices fell short during the work-from-home period, the results could be disastrous. In order to adapt and survive, businesses were forced to upgrade outdated technologies and brainstorm ways to overcome these challenges.
Luckily, these technological advancements will continue into the traditional office atmosphere. Your contact center agents will be working more efficiently and with less stress and increased productivity due to the implementation of better methods and systems.
Your customers will benefit from these advancements, as well. When your contact center is streamlined, customer calls will be answered more quickly. When you give your agents the proper tools to work with, customer loyalty can improve.
About Ansafone Contact Centers
Ansafone Contact Centers is an award-winning BPO provider with 50 years of world-class customer experience and brand care. We are a national call center with omnichannel services, fully equipped to help you with your business and with any special circumstances.
Please request a quote or call 800-510-0514 to learn more about our custom solutions for creating exceptional customer service experiences for your clients. We’re happy to offer insight into what your customers seek from your company’s language offerings and tailored customer solutions.