Remotely relevant – a contact centre employee story
John is tossing and turning in his bed. His wife, irritated by this, sleepily grumbles as she pulls the blankets back over herself. She can’t know, of course, the torment poor John is experiencing – the nightmare within which his subconscious is submerging itself. John is reliving the past – the way things used to be – the way things always were.
Inside John’s mind…
The commute from hell
The alarm goes off – 6:30am. He does not want to get out of bed – far from it. The air beyond the duvet is freezing. He turns to look at his wife, still sound asleep despite the alarm – and envies her more than it’s possible to express. He’d give anything to be able to sleep a bit more… but he can’t. He’s got to get moving.
Shower, teeth brushed, cup of coffee – wrap up warm for the walk to the bus stop – not that it helps, the cold seeps through to the bones. John walks down the street in the darkness, staring at the pavement as he goes. Having to get a bus at 7:30am because of a reduced timetable – arriving at work hours before he needs to. A bus because they only have one car and his wife needs it for work – exhausted before the sun comes up.
The shuddering bus (which had splashed him on arrival – leg still wet) makes it impossible for John to even attempt a little shut-eye before it arrives at the cardboard-box-like building he works at. He looks around at the other passengers – coughing and sneezing – and at the dirty railings and upholstery. All he can do is stare out the window at the darkness, realising from time to time that he’s actually staring at his own worn-out reflection.
According to TUC.org, commuters are losing out on 4 hours a week of personal time, and time with their loved ones – this loss of time can impact on employees negatively, leading to burnout and stress. This not only has a detrimental impact on the employee but the employer too: stressed and burned-out employees are not anywhere near as productive as they could be. Reducing the commute via hybrid working or work-from-home is a win-win for everyone involved.
Commuters are losing out on 4 hours a week of personal time, and time with their loved ones
Tired, stressed and under-equipped staff = unhappy customers
“Just get it sorted!” the customer screams down the phone. John glances at the time. 10:00 am. He thought it would have been later than this, but it isn’t. It’s never the time he thinks it is. Time is crawling, dragging, lurching from milestone to milestone in the day. This customer shouldn’t even have gotten through to him – the problem wasn’t something he could deal with anyway. And now when he tries to escalate, there aren’t any managers available. But the customer won’t understand this – and why should they? Two unhappy people, powerless to change the situation they’re locked in. One is angry because they can’t get the service they expect, the other is emotionally spent at being spoken to like trash for days, weeks, months and years.
The tiredness, the stress, the needless commute, the systems that don’t work together properly, the lack of easy communication – it all forms into a perfect storm, thinks John, as the call ends. He and his colleagues talk about it sometimes – on breaks, between calls – how things could be done better.
There’s no doubt that the customer experience is improved by unified communications. One way to measure the impact of this is to look at the widespread adoption of CCaaS – the Contact Centre as a Solution global market is set to go through further stratospheric growth: from $4.7bn in 2022 to $15.1bn in 2029.
This clearly shows that businesses understand the critical nature of providing their staff with the tools to do the job properly – leading to happier customers, better outcomes, and secure business reputations.
The fact is that modern communication solutions improve the experience for the employee overall in terms of their lifestyle. That positively impacts their productivity and general satisfaction with their job. That, in turn, creates a better experience for the customer.
Then and now
Lunchtime. John plays with his meagre pickings – hastily thrown together. A drab sandwich. A bit of fruit. Nondescript, metallic-tasting coffee. He misses his kids. He thinks about how he won’t be able to pick them up from school when they’re older – he’ll be stuck on the shaky bus, staring at his shoes.
He sees his whole life, all of a sudden – rising stress, emotional starvation – missing out on so many important moments with his kids. Never home in time for their bedtime. Sinking so much of the time he’ll never get back into a place he doesn’t care about, speaking to people he doesn’t know about things he can’t fix. Never armed with the tools to even attempt to feel like he’s doing a decent job – a punching bag for strangers, a target for blame for a system that set him up to fail. And then beyond all that, feeling like a failure when the working day is done – not present in his own life –
John jolts awake.
He hears his wife grumble. He’s in the darkness. It was just a nightmare. He checks his phone – it’s 6:30 am. He’s about to get up when he realises he doesn’t have to. The relief washes over him like a gentle, warm wave at the beach. Everything changed. He can go back to sleep. And so John does go back to sleep, and instead of being woken by an alarm at 6:30 am and being on the bus at 7:30 am, he’s now woken by his kids – who run into the bedroom at around that time and jump into bed between him and his wife. All four of them get to share the morning together now, every single day.
He has coffee with his wife while the kids eat their breakfast. They have a relaxed chat about what the plan for the day is – she has a lot more freedom now that he works from home. He can keep an eye on what’s happening with the kids – not all the time, but his employer is supportive with his familial situation. It’s 8 am now, so he starts to think about getting set up for work.
Hybrid workers are getting better sleep, eating more healthily and exercising more – these are fundamental to mental wellbeing. This is facilitated by UCaaS and CCaaS, which not only provides better tools for the employee but actually improves the experience for the employee overall in terms of their lifestyle. The knock-on effect of this increase in their wellbeing impacts positively on their productivity at work and general satisfaction with their job.
Communication solutions have become critical for delivery. The widespread adoption of new unified technologies has undoubtedly improved the experience for customers
The new normal
“Time to get the nose to the grindstone,” he says good humouredly to his wife, as they share an affectionate moment – and then he walks a grand total of about ten metres to his home office where everything he needs is set up.
Computer on, headset on, morning meeting with his team. They can all see each other on video. They all know exactly what they’re supposed to do. The software allows their manager to show them their statistics for the previous day, and he gives some pointers on things they could do to improve their performance. Everyone is in good spirits. The conversation is relaxed, genial. Everyone encourages each other to have a good day.
“Thanks so much for your help – you really saved me a lot of trouble,” the customer says to John, as their conversation comes to a close. He feels great – a job well done. He was useful. Now, the vast majority of customers he speaks to are ones he can help. The rest are automatically routed to the right place or escalated to management. Once in a while it goes wrong and the AI routing messes things but – but on the whole, it’s a huge improvement. He isn’t spoken to like he’s nothing all day, anymore. And even with the easy calls, the AI switches on whisper mode, and helps him along with the clients. If something is going really wrong, a manager is alerted. All in all, a much less stressful situation.
COVID-19 changed everything – and accelerated positive change in some areas, including the rise of hybrid working. The need for lockdowns made UCaaS and CCaaS something more than ‘nice future ideas’ in the minds of business leaders – they became critical for delivery. The widespread adoption of new unified technologies has undoubtedly improved the experience for customers. Indeed, despite the disruption of the pandemic, many businesses are reporting that customer levels are as good as, or better, than they were pre-2020.
of UK customers say that they are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalised experiences
The modern workplace
John has lunch with his kids – warm in their own home. He decides to work through the afternoon (hours are more flexible now) so he can finish at 5:00pm and get to his family sooner, without having to start up again later in the day. The flexible hours will be great for the future when his kids are a little older – and he still gets to see them at bedtime – reading them a story and tucking them in to sleep.
And when the work day is done, he clocks off and voila – he’s with everyone he loves, within about a minute. John leaves his home office and walks through to the living room where the rest of his family awaits. He feels useful, valued, calm and at ease. He thinks back to the nightmare of what was. He thinks how everything has changed completely – emotionally and psychologically. He thinks how rather than dreading going to work, he actually looks forward to it – a modern workplace, making more of a difference to the lives of its people than it can ever know.
of UK customers say that they have switched companies because of poor customer service
of UK customers say that they are more loyal to companies that offer a good customer experience. See how Gamma can guide you to the right solution to suit your business needs.