Heavy snow and icy roads have caused havoc across most of the UK with the Met Office issuing severe weather warnings. Amid the chaos, motorists have been warned to make only essential journeys and commuters faced major delays, forcing many businesses to close their doors for the day or continue with reduced workforces rather than put staff at risk.
Losing a day of revenue or causing considerable annoyance to customers trying to contact them on the telephone has left many business owners disappointed that their current telecom infrastructures was not adequate to support their needs. Many large UK call centres have already shut due to the treacherous weather conditions but don't have the ability to continue to field customer calls and are now facing the back lash from angry customers. Although most companies can divert calls to different offices or home workers, staff often don’t have access to the same level of information as they would if they were at their desk and customer satisfaction is being affected.
“Although call centres traditionally suffer from poor public image it is during times such as this that they can actually help improve customer relations,” explains Sarah Barrow, customer service manager at Wokingham Borough Council. “When we heard the warnings of further heavy snow on Tuesday we took the decision to set up some of our call centre agents to work remotely from home which allowed them to field calls while the rest of our staff made their way into the office. The service provides links and call plan intelligence between customers and other agents so we can maintain our high level of service.”
Wokingham Borough Council uses NewVoiceMedia’s cloud-based ContactWorld service which provides the functionality of an on-premise solution at a fraction of the cost for distributed workforces as well as large companies that don't want to deal with the hassle of specialised hardware, databases, and other CRM components. The service also provides agents with call history (the system can be set up to route callers to agents they've dealt with in the past) and purchasing profiles, as well as access to previously recorded calls.
Barrow adds, “With the snow comes an increase in enquiries from the local community. The ability to quickly answer enquiries and respond effectively to the needs of the community is essential. The general public are also able to take advantage of web chat and email so the local community will experience no change to the level of service they normally receive.”