The world is a strange and uncertain place right now.

In times of crisis, customer service plays a key role – it’s only natural that your customers will have questions and concerns, and it’s important that they know you’re still there to respond to them.

With this in mind, it’s important to consider all of the customer service options available when putting together your crisis management plan. Ensuring your business is able to adapt, respond, and continue to meet your customers’ needs to the very best of your ability is vital.

Professionally run contact centres are typically very well prepared for disasters that could impact their site. For example, most will have a backup communications cable running into the building in case the main one is cut. Many also have uninterrupted power supplies and backup generators to cover them in the event of a power cut, while others have redundant buildings ready and waiting nearby to house their teams if they have to vacate their building at short notice. For the most part these measures are enough.

But what happens when a natural disaster hits that prevents your entire team from getting into the contact centre? This area has been overlooked for many years because, companies frankly never expected anything like this to happen – and why would they?

Cast your mind back to three months ago. The situation we currently find ourselves in was totally unimaginable.

Who could have foreseen countries in lockdown, businesses shutting shop, and governments stepping in to shut down full contact centres?

Never before has having all of your team working from one, confined space been such a risk to business. In scenarios such as this, the best possible position for businesses is to have the ability to migrate their teams to a home-based model, with minimum disruption and down time.

Going forward, work-at-home needs to be seriously considered as a vital component by all organisations with contact centres.  Having an appropriate proportion of your agents based permanently at home means you’re not at significant risk if your operation gets turned on its head, as many have done over the past couple of weeks. And, if you do need to implement a partial, or full, work-at-home policy, the systems, support and technology will be in place to ensure your team is not only able to continue to deliver optimum customer service, but that they feel supported and prepared.

If we’ve learned anything over the past couple of weeks, it’s that the thinking around customer service options needs to change. More than ever before, it’s clear that modern customer service must be agile and flexible enough to satisfy both planned and unplanned needs.

The only way to achieve this is to ensure you’ve got the right bases covered. In short, for all businesses, work-at-home needs to be part of the customer service provision model going forward.

For further information on how SYKESHome can be integrated into your company’s customer service model, please get in touch.

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