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Perspectives

Reinforcing Productivity in the Age of Remote Work

2020-06-23


Thrust into large-scale work-from-home programs by COVID-19, businesses are learning — often the hard way — that customers demand a high-quality experience no matter where agents are located. We explain how to meet customer expectations in a robust, scalable manner.

As businesses around the world take steps to ensure productivity while employees work from home, many have realized that merely distributing laptops isn’t enough. What they might lack are proper collaboration tools and adequate resources to train employees how to access and use their new remote desktops. Also missing may be related hardware and software services such as VPN gateways, communications software, collaboration platforms and secure storage.

To adapt to a remote operating model without losing productivity, businesses must ensure continuity while improving operational efficiencies along the way. A productive environment for remote working requires a robust, reliable, secure and scalable infrastructure that supports a positive customer experience while ensuring employee productivity and collaboration. Here are some ways organizations should address productivity on both fronts.

Delivering a positive customer experience

Many businesses view their customer experience as a more important differentiator than their products and prices. A study by Constellation Research found that improvements to customer engagement can increase cross-sell revenue by 22%, up-sell revenue by 38%, and order size by up to 85%. Moreover, brands that offer an industry-leading customer experience tend to outperform laggards by nearly 80%, and customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on their customers.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, customer service channels are deluged with customer calls and many contact center agents are not equipped to provide proper levels of support. They may lack access to their workstations. Organizations are dealing with a new onslaught of challenges to deliver the experiences customers expect or need.

Businesses that operate with traditional on-premise contact centers should look toward solutions that go beyond effective remote working and also ensure employees can deliver a positive customer experience. This calls for a cloud-focused view toward digitizing service desk operations.

Organizations seeking to effectively provision remote working systems should consider the following:

  • Improve global availability and scalability. By adopting cloud-based contact center solutions, which offer both of these advantages, businesses can avoid problems caused by agent non-availability and long wait times by onboarding agents who can, in response to unplanned events, engage with customers from anywhere using a web browser and an internet connection.

  • Enable digital channels. Companies should develop a self-service strategy that focuses on redirecting requests to digital channels that use tools such as bots, social media and interactive voice response to offer faster, higher-quality customer experiences.

  • Ensure seamless orchestration across channels. It’s important to adopt a solution that delivers a single view of the customer to keep customer service reps aligned with their needs.

  • Anticipate and proactively resolve issues using customer intelligence. Organizations can prepare by incorporating real-time insights with engagement histories using speech, text and journey analytics, then integrating this data with cognitive intelligence.

We worked with a leading life sciences company to replace its aging system by designing and building a modern cloud-based contact center using AWS within two weeks. We also integrated Salesforce for a 360-degree view of each customer as service requests were handled. As a result, first-time resolution and average handling times improved and customer satisfaction scores increased significantly. With the cloud platform, total cost of ownership dropped by 50%, while availability was 99.95%.

Enhancing employee productivity and collaboration

As teams interact virtually, businesses now must reimagine workplace productivity measures to ensure a seamless transition. Technologies for a remote-first workplace model include:

Secure remote access to desktops.

With a desktop-as-a-service pay-as-you-go approach and virtual data infrastructure, organizations can securely replicate the physical desktop experience for at-home employees, with minimal investment.

Seamless access to applications.

Application-streaming technologies, which store applications and data centrally in the cloud and stream to devices through encryption, provide smooth and continued access to desktop applications. This is especially valuable when employees are geographically dispersed and use disparate devices.

Reliable unified communications.

This will ensure employees can continue to meet and collaborate with coworkers and customers through text, call and videoconference. Cloud offerings provide the freedom to scale up or down and only pay for services used.

One of our clients, a leading healthcare analytics and technology company, needed to quickly scale up to handle 2,000 remote workers from an existing base of 100. The company also needed to minimize capital expenditures while meeting rigorous security and privacy regulations. We built a highly secure infrastructure to support all 2,000-plus user desktops and 250 applications cost-effectively in less than six months using AWS Cloud and Amazon WorkSpaces.

One critical and often overlooked enabler of remote productivity is ensuring the organizational culture supports the transition to the new workplace, processes and technologies. Businesses must develop a concerted adoption and change management campaign to help employees understand remote work solutions and security policies.

To support a productive remote-working culture, organizations should do the following:

  • Provide systematic training and orientation so that every employee understands the actions required of them.

  • Communicate and reinforce the need for employees to adjust to this new environment and remain agile for sustained business success.

  • Encourage more cross-functional collaboration through virtual knowledge-sharing sessions.

Businesses should look to this new workplace model as an opportunity to improve customer experiences, employee productivity and collaboration. By focusing on these areas, organizations can stay well positioned to address any potential vulnerabilities and nimbly adjust to fast-changing customer expectations.

To learn more, visit the Digital Workplace Services section of our website or contact us.

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Reinforcing Productivity in the Age of Remote Work