Covid-19’s impact on the world is visible – so many industries and sectors have seen drastic changes in what “Business as Usual” means. Not only has the way businesses operate changed, but the customer experience has been altered as well. The post-COVID contact center has evolved from the pre-COVID contact center, and here are some of the changes:
Pre-COVID: Transactional Relationships
- Previously, customers often preferred talking to someone in person at a physical location for more complex customer issues. Phone calls and online chat was usually reserved for more transactional conversations, such as order tracking, return policy, and shipping & delivery questions. This meant that contact center agents weren’t required to provide the same type of experience that employees at a physical location provide.
Post-COVID: Authentic Connections
- Today, it’s more important than ever that agents spend focused, dedicated time with each client. Without physical locations, contact center channels such as voice and chat are much more crucial to excellent customer experience. Adding visual options such as video chat is one option that can help bring your customer journey to the next level.
Multichannel vs. Omnichannel
Pre-COVID: Disparate Conversations
- Before COVID, many companies outsourced their contact centers to third-party BPOs. Often, they would contract multiple BPO vendors, which resulted in a lack of continuation from interaction to interaction. Every time a customer reached out to the company, they often had to start over, since there was no shared content from BPO to BPO, or even channel to channel.
Post-COVID: Omnichannel Experience
- Since going to a physical location isn’t currently an option for many people, it’s more important than ever that the contact center stays interconnected. Seamless integration between various channels enable quick resolution of any issues and an enjoyable, valuable omnichannel customer journey.
Call Volume Trends
Pre-COVID: Predictable Patterns
- Pre-COVID, contact centers could plan staffing and scheduling around predictable call volumes. There were seasonal and daily highs and lows, but the patterns remained similar from year-to-year.
Post-COVID: Unanticipated Spikes
- Today, the changes in the world have resulted in changes in contact center interaction volume. It’s changed when and why customers call, as well as what they expect. This has led to changes in staffing, call wait times, and which channels are popular. Understanding and staying up to date with these changes will help you enhance your customer experience.
Location, Location, Location
Pre-COVID: Central Offices
- Prior to the pandemic, contact center agents had to commute to a central office location to work. Very few contact center employees were able to work from home.
Post-COVID: Work From Home Model
- Due to the pandemic, many agents now work remote. This affects many different aspects of the business – cybersecurity is more important than ever, as well as quality connections. At the same time, it can open up new talent pools in areas that used to be too far from central locations.
So much has changed over the course of this year, and the contact center industry is part of that. It’s important to stay on top of new trends and patterns in order to continue to provide Best-In-Class customer service and stay at the top of the industry. Taking into account all these changes among the rest is a step in the right direction.