Over the past few weeks, companies around the globe have been forced to make significant changes to their day-to-day customer service operations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As we begin to look towards the future, it’s clear that everything has changed. When things can go back to what we were familiar with, there’s going to be some differences. Things will never be exactly as they were and industry experts have considered how this will look. This insightful article by Bruce Temkin reinforces some of the key factors we at SYKES believe will be true moving forward.

Blended Delivery Models

Looking ahead, companies will reflect on their approach to customer service delivery, taking into account their learnings from the crisis. Some elements will be kept and integrated into their customer service models, others will be discarded.

As Bruce states, “for an activity to continue, it needs to be economically favourable, fulfil an unmet human need that persists beyond the crisis, and be nurtured into an evolved form as the crisis subsides”.

In terms of customer service delivery, this will likely see more companies adopting a blended approach, replacing 100% in-centre service with, say, 75% of agents working in-centre and 25% working at home. This provides a safety net should they quickly need to empty buildings in the future. Reliance on real estate always being available may not, as the crisis has highlighted, be the correct answer to a business need. Instead, executives should be prepared, and this can be achieved, in part, through blending other options into the service delivery model.

Work At Home

“Now that leaders and employees have been exposed to the benefits of working from home, and recognising there were some limitations, we’ll see more job descriptions allowing people at least partially to work remotely.”

Of course, that’s not to say that everyone who’s working at home now will continue to do so in the future. However, for many companies that previously dismissed work at home from their portfolio, the past few weeks will have encouraged them to reassess their approach. The crisis may have forced them to send people home but, now they have experienced it, employers and employees have realised it’s not quite as they anticipated. In fact, many are starting to embrace the benefits of work at home.

Going forward, the experts see that it will be a process of explore, re-orient, and normalise. Businesses have been forced to embrace the options available to them and are now beginning to re-orient their approach and settle into a new and different model. As the return to something close to the previous normality starts, they will adopt, implement and run this.

To find out more about how SYKES can help you integrate work at home into your customer service model, please get in touch.

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