The Beauty of Good People and Good Technology Working in Unison – What Successful Remote Working Can Look Like for Call Centres

Author: Chris Robinson | Date: 05/11/2020

Much has been said and written about remote working this year. As we head into winter and enter a further lockdown, in the fight against COVID-19, many organisations will be reverting back to the methods they introduced in the spring. The truth of the matter is as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc businesses’ practices are having to evolve for good, not just as a temporary measure. The ‘sticking plaster’ approach some may have taken to keep things ticking over is not robust enough to help you move forward and survive this tumultuous period.  

The good news is that mobilising your workforce isn’t a new phenomenon, some businesses have been doing it for years. In fact, take our customer Aquarius, Scotland’s first home worker-based call centre has been doing it for over a decade! As remote working morphs into a more permanent fixture for many there’s much that can be learned from Roddy Forfar, founder of Aquarius.

Aquarius’ client campaigns vary from housing associations to railway companies and accident repair providers to name a few, across the UK. While the customer engagement varies from business to business the scenario often involves having to escalate or triage different contractors to resolve the customer query. The team at Aquarius utilise Awaken’s Synergy for the initial call or email handling as well as Dispatch add-on which enables agents to quickly assign jobs to contractors with the key information to ensure each customer’s query is resolved as quickly as possible.   

Transforming Business and People Adapting

Let’s be frank, having the right technology and software is crucial if your business is going to be able to transform and your people are going to be able to easily adapt to this new way of working. But some difficult decisions beyond investing in the right tools may also have to be made. As Roddy explained, when we discussed his approach, “The secret to remote operations is the combination of great people and great technology”. 

Some may say that Roddy was ahead of his time, recognising that people can meet their KPIs and deliver outstanding results from their homes but he did point out that, “Our people are very different to those you find in a traditional call centre and it’s important to get these hires right. You need to recruit people that want to work from home and want the flexibility. They need to be self-starters who won’t miss the buzz of a call centre.” 

How to Onboarding Remotely

For those who find themselves behind the curve compared to Aquarius all is not lost. The flexibility in our technology has also helped Roddy and his team to evolve their onboarding process. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, Aquarius would train all new starters on-site at its office in Edinburgh however, now all onboarding has to take place via video conferencing with short training videos based on each customer type for the campaign in question. Significant decrease in training time means less expenditure, from 6 to 2 weeks on average, compounded by agents quickly going into production means they positively impact contact centre KPI’s earlier. 

Why Embracing Artificial Intelligence Makes a Difference

Once your team is all settled remotely (‘again’ if you managed to bring them back to the office for the summer) by using voice analytics you can monitor and analyse calls to draw out pertinent information that will help you to drive greater efficiencies and provide an exceptional customer journey. 

By embracing contact centre AI, you can monitor every single call taking place on a campaign, across your contact centre. Conversations are analysed so that you can draw out details such as the reason for the call, searching for particular phrases on a weekly or monthly basis that not only help agents to quickly spot issues and escalate where necessary but also to help sales and marketing bring any problems to a halt as soon as possible. Knowing what’s your customers’ reason for contact will help you determine how to solve their queries faster and potentially provide them with solutions or missing information through your other channels before they decide to call you in the first place.  

Voice Analytics to Better Support Your People

Our conversational voice analytics is proven to increase performance and reduce contact centre staff churn because agents are better equipped to deal with whatever the customer throws at them. That’s critical in a world fraught with call centre stress at the moment.  

Automated transcription commences from the outset of a call with seeded words, acronyms, names and fuzzy text search as well as identification of disclosures and key terms or phrases based on the campaign in question. Furthermore, natural language processing along with topic modelling helps to uncover hidden semantic structures within text bodies. It’s so much more sophisticated than simply call monitoring, as it takes the standard transcription function of speech analytics to a more advanced level of analysing cardinal emotions of the customer and the agent, but you can instantly see how you can quickly get a better understanding of your customers’ needs. 

As Roddy summed it up, “There are many challenges placed on businesses at this time and where customers continue to demand, even more, we’re able to intelligently remove many of the stresses and worries that they and the organisations servicing them are experiencing. The beauty of good people and good technology working in unison – now that’s Synergy!” 

To find out more about our work with Aquarius click here.