As the coronavirus continues to spread, many government agencies are implementing telework policies for the majority of their employees, but this isn’t always the case for contact center workers.
With the exception of a few call center workers who continue to perform their duties in secure facilities, the majority of call center workers are working remotely from their homes to continue to field calls and answer questions about healthcare and unemployment benefits.
With no reason to work remotely before, understandably many centers are experiencing difficulties shifting to remote contact centers. However, remote contact centers are now a common practice in the private sector. With this in mind, is it possible for government agencies to stand these up both for the immediate crisis and to serve citizens during the new normal?
Leslie Maltby, Senior Manager, Advanced Communications – Public Sector at Verizon; and Peter Tomfohrde, Product Marketing Manager, CX & Contact Center Services at Verizon, both answer this question, and much more, in our latest Government Technology Insider podcast, part of the Federal Remote Worker Series.
“It’s best to think about people, processes, and technologies when dealing with this current situation,” said Maltby. “This means having an Internet connection at home and being able to access applications, the ability for supervisors to manage and coach call center employees remotely, and having the right connectivity and security solutions.”
In addition, government agencies are pivoting quickly to manage massive influxes of calls by re-deploying call center workers to agencies that have a greater need.
“There’s nothing like a crisis to focus thinking and innovation,” said Tomfohrd. “We have seen government agencies deploying call center agents to support other agencies that are being flooded with calls. And, they are not changing the tools of the workers, but changing the flow of the overall work.”
In response to the crisis, government agencies are quickly embracing new communications tools to best manage call center workflow. “We have seen agencies updating calling trees and other announcements as the first priority, then adopting one-to-many proactive notification technologies about operating hours, and leveraging voice call-back services,” said Tomfohrd. “This also includes enhancing websites and adding chat-bot tools to let callers know when they will receive a call-back,” added Maltby.
Finally, with this new normal in place, there are ways that government agencies can use this crisis experience to enhance call center strategies in the future. “Going forward, you want to have a solution that is flexible in a time of crisis, but you still want to have all of the solutions that enable a great citizen experience everyday.”
Click here to listen to part 1 of the Federal Remote Worker Podcast Series on the importance of wireless communications during this crisis.