Post-Crisis Planning: Addressing the Next Set of Workforce Challenges with Avaya Business Continuity Conversation
After months of COVID-19 hardship, the pendulum is finally now swinging. Businesses are beginning to emerge from their urgent response phase, and leaders are focusing on the next set of workforce challenges as they plan for recovery. There needs to be conversation around the new, post-crisis normal – addressing current state realities, understanding the new normal for business, and creating collaborative recommendations for addressing future operations – especially in contact center environments where customer satisfaction is most critical. Just as Avaya acted fast to support organizations at the onset of the crisis – enabling millions of remote workers and contact center agents with remote licenses and Avaya Spaces – we’re acting in this next (and arguably most important) phase with Avaya Business Continuity Conversation, a process that evaluates what steps have been taken during COVID-19 crisis mode, how well that has worked, and how to plan long-term for the changing business environment.
Over 80% of executives say they are moderately or extremely concerned about the continuing impact of COVID-19 on business. Avaya Business Continuity Conversations are led by trusted Client Solution Directors and designed to help organizations address key challenges along their recovery journey:
- Managing increased inquiries: Customers are flooding organizations not only regarding COVID-19 but existing orders, appointments, inquiries and more. There’s also the need to manage increased inquiries across a widening range of digital touchpoints. For example, research from Zendesk found that support tickets coming in over WhatsApp have spiked more than 100% since February. Companies need to maintain quality of service while easing the stain on their call handling infrastructure and human resources.
- Proactively reaching customers: From health systems needing to proactively communicate with at-risk patients to retailers needing to handle delays for supply chains, businesses must find a way to efficiently and proactively communicate with customers amid an ongoing crisis. For example, solutions that automatically reach out to individuals or groups with optional response tracking, text interaction, and auto-forms to capture information.
- Maintaining customer relationships: A study from Harvard Business Review found that the average percentage of customer service calls scored as “difficult” more than doubled when COVID-19 was at peak levels. Issues related to the pandemic have dramatically increased the level of customer emotion in service calls, making the job of maintaining customer relationships much more difficult. Now more than ever, it’s critical that organizations create experiences that matter.
- Employees working from home best practices: Zendesk’s research found that visits to self-service resources like online help centers or FAQ pages have risen almost 65% since February, with the biggest jump for remote work and learning (376%). Employees – especially contact center agents – should have everything they need to learn and do their job well all in one place. For example, their individual scorecard should be easily viewable, presenting key performance metrics related to call handling behaviors and customer journey. Personalized e-learning materials should be available with the click of a button (i.e. materials on empathy in the call center or the company’s “values in action”). Managers and other subject matter experts should also be just as accessible as if they were in-office.
- Relocating contact center agents to remote locations: The requirement to relocate entire divisions and business units remotely has raised the awareness and requirement for a seamless migration of on-site to remote worker environments. To maintain this seamless migration of operations, it’s important to consider how operations are conducted on-premise and what needs to occur to provide the same level of service remotely. Since February, Avaya has enabled more than 2 million remote workers for more than 11,000 companies worldwide responding to COVID-19.
- IT communications infrastructure, resilience, security, and scale: In order to support remote operations, we need to provide for the capability and processes so that a business has access to applications regardless of location. This functionality might be within the business processes, in the physical facilities or in the IT hardware or software. Similar to disaster recovery procedures, we need to establish a way to conduct business operations whether the employee is on-premise or remote.
There are several business outcome areas of concentration that are reviewed in the Avaya Business Continuity Conversation process including inbound/outbound, customer journey, customer experience, reporting metrics, infrastructure, and more. At the conclusion of the Business Continuity Conversation, our team will compile discussion points and prepare an executive presentation that outlines current environment, business operating overview, key challenges, goals/objectives, and official recommendations for competitive positioning now and in the future.
COVID-19 has given businesses no choice but to rethink resiliency, customer interactions, and work-from-home solutions. You can’t trust someone to guide you when they don’t understand your journey. This is Avaya’s space. We understand it. We know it well, and we’ve been doing it for decades.