Contact centres in a time of uncertainty

Business leaders have long understood the importance of contact centres for customer service and as a sales channel. Recently however, and as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become more widely recognised just how important contact centres are to the broader UK economy and society.

Throughout the crisis, contact centres played an essential role underpinning the UK’s response. This was often direct support, for example through NHS 111 with call handlers being tasked with triaging calls from people with symptoms consistent with coronavirus.

400%

Increase in calls for service since start of UK crisis.

In traditional contact centre operations where a large number of people work in close proximity, maintaining appropriate social distancing is a challenge. Companies have therefore had to find ways to maintain high-quality contact centre operations while prioritising responsible working practices that protect their workers.

In meeting this challenge, many leading organisations have taken the opportunity to rethink the contact centre and bring forward innovations that were once planned for the distant future. For these organisations, reopening means to reinvent the business.

To be ready for a future in which businesses must continuously outmanoeuvre uncertainty, firms need to realise the contact centre of tomorrow, today. That means thinking ahead to new capabilities and ways of working that will enable longer-term operational change.

Into the clouds

Business with leading contact centre operations are turning to the cloud to enable the features that will deliver exceptional levels of customer service while supporting their employees in their roles. Organisations are using the cloud to deploy next generation integrated CRM and Service Management platforms that enable advanced digital features, including self-service portals, chatbots, and natural voice telephone services.

6 steps to transition and transform

To help businesses make the transition to the contact centre of the future, we’ve created a roadmap that sets out how to quickly define a contact centre strategy.

1. Vision & target state

Workshop with relevant stakeholders to agree the future state vision and ensure alignment.

2. Process re-engineering & target operating model

Work with key stakeholders to re-engineer process and re-look at the target operating model for the digital contact centre.

3. Requirements, tech architecture & integration

Use as-is processes and future state vision to jointly define target state solution architecture.

4. Investment case

Build high level investment case, with breakdown of costs and ROI, to inform funding asks.

5. Roadmap & plan

Agree key principles for driving recommendations and define strategic roadmap for capability deployment.

6. End user journeys

Map as-is user journeys and translate target state capabilities into processes for customers and agents.

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Accelerating innovation

Customer care was already on a journey to a new digital future. COVID-19 only reminded everyone why high-quality contact centre experiences are so necessary, while providing an insight into just how much can be achieved by rapid transformation in the cloud. Based on these factors, it is likely that the flexible contact centre of the future will be here much sooner than anticipated.

Emma Roscow

Intelligent Cloud Infrastructure Lead, UKI


Randy Moore

Intelligent Cloud and Infrastructure Networks Lead, UK


Sanjay Singh

Intelligent Cloud and Infrastructure Contact Centre Lead, UK

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