February 11th, 2021 by Adam Vervaeke
For many companies, in as little a few days, business models shifted from tried and true operations to everything happening over the phone. We are all in uncharted ground, where distancing has become the prime directive and in-person interactions are by necessity curtailed. Phone call volume has soared to unprecedented levels, resulting in widespread busy signals, and the demand seems unlikely to abate any time soon. For many companies, the phone has become the front door – and business has changed for good.
In this new terrain, how can you ensure you’re able to meet demand not only now, but for the foreseeable future? How do you know you’re delivering a great experience when you can no longer see your customer’s reactions?
Many organizations, across multiple industries, are finding new communications and collaboration tools – such as Unified Communications and Contact Centers as a Service – to be indispensable gear for the new landscape. These solutions help businesses of all types meet and exceed customer expectations, drive productivity and accountability, and also provide a positive experience for employees.
Restaurants and Takeout
Even small restaurants and takeouts began encountering bottlenecks with existing analog systems. As dine-in patrons shifted to take-out, callers often heard a busy or call waiting tone due to greatly increased demand for delivery and pick-up – which meant lost revenue when they couldn’t get to customers in time and capture their orders.
Using Intermedia Unite™, restaurants can route calls into specific groups of agents for orderly distributed answering, with the option to play a recorded list of specials while customers wait. Building on this capability, Contact Center Express offers real-time metrics, such as the ability to see calls in queue, wait time, abandoned calls and more. Express also offers smart greetings, keeping callers educated on wait times. Finally, the product delivers extensive built-in reporting, helping managers gauge customer satisfaction now and over the long haul.
Youth Services / Mental Health
In British Columbia, Canada, an integrated network of health and social services centers assists young people combatting addictions and mental health issues. With the arrival of the pandemic, the organization needed to quickly shift its delivery model, and deploy a solution that would empower its clinicians to stay connected to clients and each other – while also staying safe.
To stay connected with youth calling in, the group turned to Intermedia Contact Center Pro. Linking clients, clinicians, scheduling departments, and 140 care partners, the solution not only powers a responsive remote care experience but offers entirely new levels of insight – helping the organization to respond to demand now, and readily scale to meet future challenges. Components of this deployment included:
- IVR menus, to help direct clients to departments, individual staff members, and outside care partners.
- Skills-based routing designed to connect clients with clinicians who are most adept in certain disciplines.
- Callbacks function for particularly busy times, allowing clients to hang up but retain their place in line. Staff members are automatically connected to these callback requests once their status returns to “available.”
With most facilities shut down until further notice, one leading university decided to take all its customer-facing departments remote with Intermedia’s Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platform.
They faced a common but significant hurdle: the existing on-site PBX equipment had no means of connecting inbound calls to outside devices. In other words, they could receive calls but not route them outside the premises – at a time when everyone was required to work at a distance.
Adapting to changing circumstances, the university deployed advanced Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus plus call queues. With this strategy they were able to route calls to entirely outside devices, including remote agents’ cell phones – and deliver context to the agent about the incoming inquiry.
The university may mosve entirely to its new “vendor-agnostic” setup, or it can continue using some on-site components. Intermedia’s solution is highly flexible and can be spun up on a stand-alone basis or in parallel with existing communications, making it an ideal choice for quick pivots and rapid deployments.
Recently, a leading public health line experienced an unanticipated flood of inquiries that temporarily overloaded resources. Immediately after the state government announced presumptive new cases of infection, the telehealth service was flooded by a record volume of calls. Residents calling in began to receive busy signals, compounding the existing concern and confusion.
However, the organization was able to rapidly address the situation. In the span of about 72 hours – and during a weekend – Intermedia was able to complete the upgrade request and expand capacity by hundreds of seats, with no on-site visits or equipment installations needed. By Monday morning, the capacity of this health line to meet radically escalated call volume had been not only restored but greatly multiplied.
Contact centers built on CCaaS offer the ability to add seats on very short notice, compared to on-premise traditional models. On-premise systems typically require substantial lead time for moves, adds, and changes: telephone line capacity must be added to the organization’s premises, the on-site equipment needs to be modified or updated, connections must be run to the various agent workstations, and more. It’s also worth noting that changes and maintenance typically require a third party to perform the work, further inflating lead and response times – not to mention costs.
In contrast, CCaaS is built on cloud infrastructure. Adding additional capacity requires the provider to simply increase the number of licences, users, or “seats” based on the customer’s requirements – typically done via a browser-based control panel.
As a further safeguard, the organization’s new contact center plan offers “bursting” or elastic demand capacity. In a scenario where inbound volume suddenly exceeds normal metrics, the number of connections allowed will automatically scale up, accommodating as much as 50% increased capacity with no intervention required.
The landscape has changed for virtually every industry. Contact Function4 for communication tools that help you not only adapt – but get ahead and stay there.
Posted in: Phone Systems