We like to joke that the UK is woefully unprepared for snow.
The lightest flurry seems to lead to day-long tailbacks, cancelled trains and closed airports.
While this is clearly an exaggeration, every year there are heavy storms, floods and freezing temperatures that disrupt transport links and force people to stay home. Whether the UK is unprepared or unlucky, the reality is that the British weather is good at getting in the way of business as usual.
So do contact centres have to accept snow days as just a part of business in Britain?
Do contact centres have to absorb the costs of lost days and reduced service levels?
Or can contact centres work smarter to dodge the avalanche of snow-related problems?
Contact centre agents might not seem like the ideal colleagues to have working from home, but modern technology makes it possible – and often more effective – to have employees working remotely.
If your unified communications solution is cloud-hosted, then mobilising your agents may be quick and easy to achieve. Plans must also be made to provide access to other essential systems, including CRM, ID&V and compliance tools.
Flexible working shouldn’t just be for Christmas though; you can improve employee engagement, workplace outcomes and the customer experience by helping your agents reshuffle their work-life balance.
Worried that your home-working agents are doing the laundry instead of answering calls? No need to worry; productivity monitoring software can keep track of your agents’ time and ensure they are focused on their work.
Even if you have employees who can work from home when the need arises, it’s not easy to shift resources at the last minute. Before your contact centre is affected by winter disruption, check that your workforce management systems enable to you to quickly make changes to personnel.
Plan for disaster
In addition to making sure that your contact centre agents can easily work from home – ideally at short notice – it’s also important to test procedures for when workers can’t reach the office. Ensure a complete plan exists, covering things like people, processes, applications, security, compliance and the HR requirements for flexible working.
Once the plan is prepared, communicate it to all contact centre agents and make sure that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities when snow strikes.
Is your contact centre ready for snow? Or do you dread the sight of snowflakes in your weather app?