COVID-19 has created a perfect storm for call centers as companies are being hit from multiple sides.

Many are facing service disruptions to their core business that is driving call volume to unprecedented levels. Companies in hospitality, events, tourist destinations, health care, or reservations that need to be cancelled are being battered right now.

At the same time, every contact center is facing the almost inevitable situation where they will need to close the doors and have agents work from home or go without answering the phone. Even those call centers that have the ability to work at home may experience high absenteeism or attrition due to the outbreak.

All the while, customers are paying attention to how companies respond and will remember their experience. Organizations that handle the crisis will retain customers for life, those that fail risk losing customers for years to come.

Yet, responding to a Customer Experience Crisis does not need to be a daunting task. The key is to be proactive and move fast. Don’t wait until someone in your call center tests positive or there is a shelter-in-place order and you’re forced to close down. There are several ways you can prepare your contact center for the Coronavirus pandemic.

Customer Care Imperatives during a Pandemic

The first step in executing a Customer Care plan during a pandemic, is to be clear on what's critical to your organization. In partnership with our customers, we've developed three key imperatives for Call Centers during the COVID-19 crisis.

  1. Ensure Employee Health and Safety - Implement proper protocols to protect employee health and safety, primarily by implementing Work from home infrastructure and call automation
  2. Maintain Impactful Customer Experience and Support - Retain customers and increase lifetime value by maintaining the level of customer support your customers expect
  3. Intelligent Cost Control - Reduce labor costs and infrastructure expense to maintain core operations

How Call Center AI aligns to your imperatives

Artificial Intelligence may finally be coming of age for the contact center. In an era when companies need to control costs without sacrificing their customer support, AI tools can help. These opportunities range from Digital and Intelligent Assistants, like chatbots and voicebots, to predictive analytics for workforce optimization.

Automate Customer Interactions

The most immediate and positive impact to your business can be had by implementing self-service and COVID-19 call center automation options to deflect calls into the call center. While this is not a new concept, traditional approaches have failed to deliver on their promise. With the advancement of cloud infrastructure and natural language processing, these tools have significantly improved their effectiveness.

AI enabled IVR

Intelligent Voice Assistants and cloud based IVRs are relatively new to the call center arena and can create immense value for your organization in the form of improved customer experience and service levels.

Most IVR vendors are still stuck in the past, with forcing you to install expensive hardware and software licenses that lock you in to their platform for years. And worst of all, they're not all that effective and the Return on Investment (ROI) generally takes years.

However, with the advent of Xaqt's Cognitive Voice Automation portal (CVA), there is no capital expense (CAPEX) required and the improvement to your customer experience and your bottom line is immediate.

With a Cognitive IVR, you can start by automating just one or two call types and add more overtime. This ensures you can respond quickly to your crisis needs, while working towards your long term vision.

There are several call types that are well suited for intelligent voice automation, such answering Frequently Asked Questions, processing reservation and appointment changes, level-one tech support, and routine account maintenance calls.

If your customers are calling with questions about your policies or service coverings that are impacted by COVID-1/ (Coronavirus), then Cognitive Voice Automation is a perfect fit.