Workforce engagement platforms will be vital in helping companies make the difficult transition to mobile working.

The arrival of Covid-19 creates enormous challenges for call centres and, inevitably, some will handle it better than others. Homeworking is going to be essential, but this can be an enormous logistical challenge. Businesses need to protect staff, but they also want to ensure business continues as normal, customers receive the same level of customer service and staff can be managed as effectively as if they were in the same building.

To do so, they must start by thinking about all relevant stakeholders.

  1.       Customers

Business continuity is the name of the game. Customers must continue to receive the same level of service they always have. Queries must be answered quickly, issues resolved, products delivered and services provided in exactly the same way as they were before.

  1.       Employees

For many people, working from home will be quite an adjustment. It’s hard to overstate the strangeness of this situation. All of a sudden, you’re having to adjust to new routines, create your own work-space and deal with balancing work and childcare, often in the same room.

This brings a whole new set of pressures and stresses people might never have dealt with before. They may need help with the required equipment. Not everyone has access to high speed internet or a good home computer. They might not have enough space in a flat for a dedicated office away from the rest of the family, and there may be no contingency plans in case there’s a problem such as an interruption in power supply or connectivity. The company will have to replicate all the redundancy provisions they have in an office on a micro scale for each employee.

  1.       Employers

The biggest burden will be arguably felt by employers. They will have to tie all sides together. On the one hand, they want to protect their employees, that means not being forced to lay people off or ask them to take unpaid leave.

Aside from being the right thing to do, it also avoids negative publicity and allows the business to firstly maintain operations as much as possible, through the lockdown and, secondly, to be in a good position to pick up once again when life returns to normal.

While doing this, they need to make sure customers continue to enjoy the same levels of service they are accustomed to. This means no delays, interruptions to service or inconvenience.

From their perspective, they want to be able to maintain oversight and provide support to employees in much the same way as they had in the office. This means collaborating, managing workflows and assessing progress. All of these will be more difficult to achieve

Workforce engagement

The solution lies in workforce engagement technology such as QStory. Using the latest AI technology and intraday automation, QStory brings all stakeholders together. It can reduce required headcount and costs, manage daily operations and schedules, identify risks and maximise productive time. 

Having everyone in the company using the same platform encourages smoother organisation and a more productive working environment in which managers can track what’s happening, staff trust processes and time can be used efficiently.

For example, QStory allows you to schedule productive time when agents are free so customers still receive prompt replies to their queries.   

The system relies on automation which is not only more efficient but reduces friction between staff and managers. If issues such as holiday approval and working hours are decided by individuals, the process is always open to protest. The answer lies in an automated approach, in which all approvals are automatically set according to the rules.

A centralised management dashboard allows managers to see what is happening in real time and quickly manage bottlenecks. They can identify trends and spot any risks to workflows before they become critical.

An opportunity

The challenge of shifting to a homeworking environment should not be underestimated, especially for an organisation which has always relied on staff working from a central location. However, we are perhaps fortunate that this crisis is happening at a time when digital technology makes mobile working easier and more practical than ever.

By harnessing the power of platforms, such as QStory, companies can not only shift towards mobile work patterns in the short term, but they can also embed these benefits for the future. Coronavirus could prove to be the shock the industry needs.

Mobile working has proven benefits when business is running as normal. It can reduce costs, widen the talent pool and improve staff morale. However, until now a natural inertia holds businesses back from the culture change required. Covid-19 has been the push factor they needed. Like it or not, all businesses are having to embrace mobile working and, while things may be challenging now, they could see the benefits when life finally returns to normal.

QStory is helping companies to manage their mobile workforce right now.

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