The newly announced Opening Up America Again task force has laid out a plan to get America back to work, including call centers, collection agencies, and their agents. This plan comes with some strings attached and varies by state or region depending on the severity of cases.
There is a lot to plan for when considering when and how to bring your call center agents and other staff back to the call center floor. Like, should agents wear face masks? Is now the time to implement an at-home-work policy? What does our new normal look like?
The New “Call Center” Normal
Managers and HR professionals in the call center industry around the United States and the world are scrambling to figure out what the new call center normal looks like in a post-pandemic society. More emphasis on floor plans, desk space allocations that promote social distancing, and mental health will all be a top item for those agents looking to return to work. For TCN customers, the transition to at-home agent work has been smooth as butter.
Each state, as well as local government agencies, are extending guidelines to help call center employers navigate the various scenarios. Here’s our take.
Bring agents back in groups or phases.
Enabling agents to come back to work in phases comfortably will ensure a safer environment for everyone. In addition to boosting morale, call center agents will be more apt to return, knowing that specific steps have been taken to ensure a safe return.
Pro tip: Rethink floorplans or space allocation to each agent if your space and office permit. You’ll want to take the time to gauge agent and staff sentiment on working conditions and environments to make sure everyone is comfortable.
Encourage additional learning and training.
Agents have just spent a significant amount of time either working from home or, in some cases, furloughed all together. Either way, both will need the training to help them get up to speed while easing them back into a routine. For more help check out this guide on What Makes a Great Agent.
Pro tip: Be sure to have your training start small and grow on skills call center agents already know to boost confidence. This will help the customer experience.
Review policies on debt collection and billing.
Whether your call center is handling debt collection or inbound customer service, chances are your agents will be fielding a lot of questions on whether there is a relief plan in place for a particular bill or service. Be ready to handle those ahead of time.
Pro tip: Check out TCN’s TCPA Compliance Complete Guide for more information.
Practice a disaster recovery plan.
If you had a disaster plan in place, congratulations, most organizations do not. Sometimes the most significant challenges aren’t in the drafting or planning a disaster recovery plan, but in the execution when the time comes.
Pro tip: A disaster recovery plan needs to be tested quarterly to be effective and to make sure services and employees can operate effectively regardless of circumstances.
These are just a few important steps to consider when planning for returning to work. For more current and up-to-date information, please check with your local government health officials and the CDC.
Be sure to request a demo for more information on how TCN’s call center platform can increase efficiency with a no-contract experience.