There’s no shortage of call centers that are outright refusing to move to remote work during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Needless to say, such decisions clearly go against and actively undermine the efforts of the CDC, the government – and the world even – to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Call centers are spots where hundreds and hundreds of people work in proximity. Depending on the type of call center, agents might even be working less than 6 feet from each other for 8 hours a day or more. Clearly, the potential for infection right there is immense.
It might be a difficult decision from a business perspective, but in the long run, it ensures call centers remain open – even if it means operating remotely, from home.
Updated March 31st, April 7th. See the latest update.
Control Is Essential in a Call Center
Look – of course, many contact centers value control over their employees. These are places that provide some of the most valuable customer interactions that drive businesses. And right now – it’s the most important time for positive customer experience.
Since everyone’s especially anxious over the news, businesses that can do anything to not add to that anxiety should strive to do so.
But that doesn’t mean call centers can’t switch to remote agents. There are tools out there that permit efficient supervision of employees and allow for business continuity even in times of crises, such as the Coronavirus Pandemic.
And it’s not difficult to understand why executives in these call centers want that level of control for their people. Traditionally the call center space has been a very diverse one when it comes to background. Entry-level call agents come from all walks of life and lack of trust from managers is almost constant.
But guess what?
The Jobs Are Essential to the Employees Too
These jobs are important now especially because most call agent jobs are entry-level positions. They are the backbone of many successful careers. A lot of people started out as call agents.
The decision to become a call center agent is never one taken lightly. People need jobs, they need stability, they need a paycheck. And how does the coronavirus affect these needs? Simple – the needs are even more urgent.
So, there’s a very LOW chance that people won’t work if they are sent home. Typically, home is an environment that allows for quicker breaks with fewer distractions compared to a workspace.
There may be exceptions, but provided executives take the chance to select good remote contact center solutions, these exceptions will be monitored and the risks can be mitigated even more efficiently than in brick-and-mortar offices.
Business Continuity Is Essential to Call Centers
Good contact center solutions don’t have to cost business continuity. It’s a fundamental truth that many call centers seem to forget because they forego doing the appropriate research. It’s 2020 and there are tools at their disposal for quick and easy business continuity.
Most technology providers, like us, actively look for business opportunities and that means making sure any new client does not lose business by making the switch.
There are contingency plans in place that prevent this. If a provider offers a remote solution, you can be sure they’re already using a remote solution themselves. Engineers and support agents take into account priorities during this time and, seeing as they’re already efficiently working from home, they will be ready for new tasks.
So the earlier contact centers make the move to remote, the sooner they’ll secure their business.
Moving to Remote Work Now Saves Businesses Later
Not all states or countries are equally affected by the Coronavirus. Some places still seem relatively safe – Nebraska, Idaho, and other states. However, that only gives businesses in those areas an advantage in that they’re able to make the move slower, more calculated, and with fewer risks.
However, every call center, wherever it is, must take any leeway time to streamline processes, acquire new software, and secure their data before they are obligated to move towards remote work.
Furthermore, call centers that are ready to make the move should do so irrespective of how the Coronavirus Pandemic is evolving in their locality.
Many more reports are coming in of call centers refusing to make the switch:
- In Washington State, one of the areas most affected by the Coronavirus, a Wells Fargo call center is refusing to send employees to work from home.
- In Arizona, call center agents fear for their lives at an OnTrack Call Center.
- In Syracuse, N.Y – the top state by the number of infections in the US – Spectrum support personnel are still working at the office.
- Another Arizona call center, this time belonging to Consumer Cellular, is also refusing to send people home, prompting agents to fear they’re part of “one big germ pool”.
Meanwhile, we’re seeing examples of call centers that could potentially be epicenters of infection in their communities:
- A worker was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Auburn, Maine. The person was employed by the building to clean the offices of a call center belonging to TD Bank.
- Emergency call center workers are not safe either – a San Francisco 911 operator working in a call center recently tested positive for Coronavirus.
A new case of a call center infection that could potentially endanger the lives of countless workers and their families:
- A worker in a call center in El Paso was diagnosed with the novel Coronavirus. The Maximus call center works with federal government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the 2020 Census – which makes its jobs essential. But should government-sponsored call centers be exempt from the work-from-home transition?
Meanwhile, unemployment call centers and websites are facing a volume surge:
- With over 190,000 Ohioans filing for unemployment benefits as of last week, call centers working with the Department of Job and Family Services are getting overwhelmed by the rising call volume.
Efficient Remote Solutions are Essential
We’ve kept saying this and are saying it again: before you make the move, take a bit of time to ensure you have the overall best solution you could get for remote contact centers right now.
Here’s our pitch:
We’re launching OMNI+ – a premium remote omnichannel contact center solution. Remote because you can work from home. Omnichannel because you can reach customers on Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social channels, in a single desktop interface.
The best part? It’s free for the duration of the pandemic. This means that for up to six months, you could have a free contact center software license for one of the best solutions on the market right now, able to handle thousands of remote agents.
Are you an executive in a contact center? Do you have over 30 seats? You’re eligible for this offer!