NEWS - Call Center Insights
The latest industry insights & news from CCSI, Specialists in Establishing Contact Centers in Mexico for Debt Collection, Customer Service, Sales, BPO and more.
To ensure a healthy work environment for their contact center, employers should not take for granted the reopening strategy of their on-site operation. There are several things to consider to protect your agents, from administrative measures and engineering controls without forgetting the psychological factors. If you moved your agents back already, we invite you to continue reading and see if you need to do adjudgments o add some things to your strategy.
Before the lockdown, we had in place measures to prevent infections on our contact centers, since then we have learned more about the virus, we’ve seen new cases spike, and because of that, we should take new and more effective measures. We need to think as well; what have your agents lived during this time and keep in mind that we are not going back to where we used to, this is a new normal. Here is what you should consider for your reopening:
Build a Structured Plan: You need to define your objectives, and it should cover the physical and mental health of your workforce, we have seen that this contingence has also affected our mental health, and a new transition can affect too. Next, identify the main activities and steps to follow, assign responsibilities, review the plan with the experts of each area, and modify it on the way. The purpose is to keep an effective strategy for future contingencies as well.
Assess your Risk: Spot the areas of your center and activities that have a high risk of transmission, those where employees have more contact or generate conglomerations. Doing this will help you take specific actions for those areas and activities and maybe even consider closing those areas and eliminating or changing the way the operations run to reduce your overall risk.
Manage Agent Numbers: The reintroduction must be staggered by groups or phases; otherwise, the return of agents in large volumes will hinder and make the control of those groups difficult. Take into consideration that not all your agents can come back as soon as possible since some might be more vulnerable to the virus. You want to manage these numbers strategically to ensure coverage across roles.
Continue Remote Work: We recommend maintaining some agents working from home for a few more months; The management of your on-site workforce will be more efficient to manage since those groups will be smaller. You might have noticed by now that some agents might have performed better in the remote modality, this group can be at your latest phase of transition.
Prepare the Space: Reconfigure office spaces, cubicle allocations, and seating arrangement on the operation and common areas like breakrooms or cafeterias, install barriers where needed and place signs to keep the distance. It is crucial that if agents don’t use face masks while working, maintain the 6-feet distance or protective barriers between them.
Make Cleaning a Priority: Cleaning and disinfecting is more critical now than ever. It would be best if you made this priority number one: communal spaces, surfaces, and objects such as desktops, keyboards, mice and headsets, dining tables, doorknobs, and handles should need disinfecting. You can follow the CDC guidance to clean your workplace.
Daily Health Checks: Have a temperature checkpoint at your entrances to monitor the health of the personnel and identify any symptoms before they get in contact with other people. At this point, you can also ask them to disinfect their hands. Let them know who to reach if they start feeling any of the symptoms, train your supervisors and medical personnel to assist them.
Educate: You need to communicate and train your agents on how to protect themselves and minimize transmission at work. Put signs on strategic places of your center about hand hygiene, social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, measures to prevent infection at public transportation, etc. We need to help them take care of themselves and their family.
Employee Motivation: A lot has changed, agent routines during the lockdown, their workspace will be different with the new arrangements, their coworkers might have changed as well, some probably won’t come back, there might be new faces. It will be like a new start, and it is our job to help them adapt to it, keep them informed of the new normal before they start to come back and communicate all the measures we are taking to protect them.
Don’t be afraid to ask them how they feel about it. Once they come back, do some team building activities, retrain them and update them on the main tasks of their work. Address their concerns and needs to support them.
We hope this helps you address the things you should consider for your reopening to minimize the risk of infection, but also keep a great work atmosphere, help your employees feel safe, and happy to work with you and maintain your performance. This pandemic is a lesson for us to keep a plan to protect the health of our employees.
Tell us, what would you add to this guide?