home Contact Centre, Employee Experience Hybrid success for contact centres

Hybrid success for contact centres

Since the pandemic, most contact centres have implemented a hybrid working model. And according to research by Observe.ai, the majority (54%) envisage they’ll continue to operate on a hybrid model in future.

Embracing a hybrid work model delivers a range of benefits for contact centres. The improved agility makes it easy to add additional agents to handle volume spikes, also helping to improve business continuity in the event of another social crisis or natural disaster. Hybrid contact centres also reduce facility-related expenses such as real estate costs, utilities, and in-office amenities. The more flexible model also helps to reduce absenteeism, which increases costs and frustrates customers with longer wait times.

Above all, employees are happier with the option of hybrid work. In fact, research by the CCMA (Call Centre Management Association) indicates that the vast majority (79%) of contact centre professionals prefer a hybrid work environment, resulting in happier staff who create a better customer experience. Amid an ongoing global skills shortage exacerbated by the Great Resignation, securing and retaining talented staff has never been more challenging.

So how can contact centres ensure the consistent delivery of excellent customer service by adopting a hybrid approach?

These are three key steps:

1. Deploy professional grade tools

To create seamless hybrid customer service and solve issues quickly and effectively, it’s necessary to have the right tools – both hardware and software. Creating real customer connections, building strong relationships, and delivering positive outcomes require crystal-clear audio. 

Poor quality audio and uncomfortable headsets create additional stress for employees who are often dealing with frustrated customers and don’t need the extra barrier of communication difficulties. Whereas when customers and representatives can hear each other well, mistakes and misunderstandings are avoided. Professional-grade audio and video equipment enable seamless, natural conversations, helping to foster an authentic connection and increase morale. This creates not only a better customer experience but a better employee experience.

2. Leverage cloud investment

According to Deloitte Digital’s 2021 Global Contact Centre Survey, 32% of organisations are running cloud contact centres, with that figure expected to rise to 75% within the next two years. Cloud is seen as an imperative for doing business in volatile times, with technology changing rapidly. It enables contact centres to instantly deploy the latest features and updates to ensure that hardware and software work smoothly together.

Wherever your organisation is in its cloud adoption journey, providing staff with the right communications technology will get the best results from your investment and reduce waste. Ineffective collaboration and communication are major causes of failure in business. Research has found that people are losing 29 minutes per week due to poor quality audio on voice calls, with 44% experiencing sound quality issues with phone calls, and 39% with internet calls. 

3. Boost workplace morale

According to the 2022 NICE WEM (Workplace Engagement Metric) survey, nearly one in three (31%) customer service agents and managers are looking for a new job right now, with 40% feeling disengaged with the industry. This aligns with McKinsey research, which shows that 19% of contact centre employees are dissatisfied with their job – even higher (30%) for tech and telecom companies. Some directly reported “tools and technology” as a factor in their reason to stay or go.

McKinsey notes that “companies that can keep service agents on the job longer not only reduce operating costs but also improve customer satisfaction”. With engaged and satisfied call centre staff being four times more likely to stay than dissatisfied colleagues, and more than three times more likely to feel “extremely empowered to resolve customer issues”, it’s clear that organisations must do more to engage valuable employees. As well as equipping them with the best technology, they also need to address wages and job security, promotion opportunities, and stress, while also fostering a stronger sense of community.

A contact centre is all about communication; therefore, its communication technology choices are the foundation of its customer and employee experiences. To make the most of your hybrid model, everyone – both staff and customers – must be seen and heard clearly, no matter where they’re working or calling from.

Bill Zeng

Bill Zeng is a Senior Director, Asia Pacific for Poly. In this role, he is responsible for leading Poly’s vision in the region, as well as leading sales acceleration and partner alliances.    Zeng joined Poly in early 2019, bringing over two decades of experience in the telecom and information technology industry as a technology leader and innovator. He has led technical sales and operation teams across the Asia Pacific region, having been based in Sydney, Beijing, and Singapore for several years. His ability to foresee the industry transitions and marry disruptive technologies to business needs has enabled him to be a trusted advisor to customers and partners. He is highly respected by industry peers for his depth of knowledge in both voice and video technologies (MGCP, H323, SIP, H264 etc.), some of which he helped develop as an active contributor in various standardisation bodies.