With the rampant spread of COVID-19, customer care leaders are taking unprecedented business continuity actions to overcome the constraints primarily driven by the shortage of contact center agents.

Not to forget, most organizations had formal “Business Continuity” and “Disaster Recovery” processes. However, these so-called BC and DR processes were highly influenced to recover IT assets, and they were not much about people’s availability concerns.

Following are some of my observations of the challenges that customer care leaders are dealing with:

  • – Agent availability concerns
  • – “Work-from-home” setup, compliance and governance
  • – Corporate employees taking over some of the voice and email workloads
  • – Chat BOTs continue to bring customer frustrations
  • – Deflecting voice calls to email/chat options
  • – Attempting to develop makeshift customer self-service solutions
  • – A large number of un-subscription requests via non-voice channels with no good ways to retain/up/cross-sell

Instead of focusing on interim issues, in this article, I am hoping to divert our attention to the “New Normal” and to challenge the “This is only way” thinking. Following are some of my key points in this regard:

  • – Companies who have been working on customer self-service automation need a candid discussion with business solutions and IT to expedite.
  • – Security paranoid IT leaders need to rethink the right balance where remote agents can deliver exceptional performance without jeopardizing information security.

Why customers are still sharing confidential info with the agents either:

  • – To authenticate if they are talking to a legit person or
  • – To get credit card number or SSN to subscribe to a new service.

Unfortunately, most fortune 100 subscription companies are doing this, from cable TV to airlines and more.

And finally, when COVID-19 subsides, should customer care leaders go back to ‘old ways of doing things’ or become an author of their “New Normal”?