Like any worldwide event, the impact most people feel from the coronavirus pandemic is economic. Not to minimize those who are infected, but we need to think about the implications of countries closing their borders, sending school children home, and shutting down businesses. The system that sustains us through a pandemic, namely the free market, needs economic stability. Food, medicine, utilities, and essential services are market entities staffed by people. Not everyone can work remotely, but the number of people who can (and now must) is industrially enormous. Let’s have a look at how we’re going to keep the world’s economic engine rooms staffed in our rethink of the workforce.
First off, keep working
It’s commonly thought that the Internet (then the ARPANet) was first envisioned as a robust communication network in the event of a nuclear attack. However, that was a secondary idea, not the original one. (Has anyone seen Wargames?) Initially, the Internet was just four phone-linked computers at different universities, communicating and sharing resources. As nations hunker down in response to the coronavirus pandemic, both visions of the internet become one. Businesses are maintaining continuity of service even with employees separated from each other, similar to the military vision. UC platforms keep employees collaborating with each other, just like the university design.
Get ready to adapt to a mobile workforce
An unprecedented number of people are heading home. Microsoft China reports that Microsoft Teams usage is up 500%. Cisco and Zoom are also experiencing all-time highs in usage. Cisco is offering Webex for free in many countries to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in the workforce.
But spreading out your workforce comes with significant hurdles. Employees must communicate, and companies are finding some remote workforce designs buckle under mass usage. Customer data is flowing through home devices, and your operations chief is scrambling to prevent data exposure.
Reporting for duty
With a dispersed workforce, bottlenecks occur when even a single employee is disengaged by a change in the environment. UC (Unified Communications) platforms let us open a virtual workplace for your employees regardless of their location. For continuity of service, it’s important that your workforce feels present in your operation. If you want them to make their meetings they need as similar an experience remotely as they do on-site.
Keep the watercooler alive
It might be a good idea to take a soft approach to the personal chit-chat that occurs on your UC channels. If your employees can’t talk by the water cooler or in their cubicles, they can keep up with each other through chat. Good teams usually have personal interaction so don’t shut it down if it’s not cutting into productivity.
Security outside the company
There’s no avoiding the need to keep your data secure. Ideally, your company needs to have a hand in providing the hardware your employees are going to use. Company-issued mobile devices offer employees a way to stay secure and productive when they store all critical data on the Cloud.
Have your employees support customers through the Cloud
The Cloud represents a haven of security for data. Cloud call recording on company-issued devices prevents credit card, social security, and phone numbers from theft. Naturally, this global crisis will subside, and when it does, any compromises we made will become evident. There are always malicious parties looking to steal data and a pandemic is a greater opportunity than most. If your customer’s PCI data is exposed due to security compromises, life could be worse for you after the pandemic is over.
Atmos records calls securely to our Cloud while intelligently scrubbing PCI data from each call, minimizing the threat of exposure. Cloud-recording UC platforms like Cisco Jabber and Microsoft Teams can keep your workforce secure and compliant.
Use AI for a comprehensive view of your customers
In a recent discussion with a company that books cruises, they requested that we analyze their recent call recordings. We were able to demonstrate customer trends in speech. In this instance, the apparent keywords were abundant: coronavirus, safety, cancellation, rebooking, refund, and so on. Being able to identify and categorize customer sentiment gives a company an action mindset as opposed to a defensive one. Your best response to a pandemic economy is to measure customer sentiment across your recorded calls before assembling your response.
Stay in communication with your workforce and your customers
How you treat your customers now matters most when things return to normal. Every business needs the ability to respond when it becomes clear that false information has entered the customer conversation. Identifying speech trends means the difference between reassuring, (and possibly growing) your customer base, and going into a freefall.
Implement consistent messaging (and check on it)
Train your mobile workforce to keep in touch with your customers as often as possible. Your reassurance is an act of customer service that will rebound in your favor when the pandemic has passed. Craft a corporate message and institute it with your entire workforce, on-site and remote. Using the data gained from your call recordings will help you to craft confident communications toward your client base. Keyword searching those same calls will ensure your corporate message is being properly shared by your staff.
A prepared mobile workforce is a silver lining
It may be hard to think that there’s a silver lining in all of this. However, the simple fact is that pandemics don’t last. Coronavirus may test our will, but when we implement effective measures we are part of the solution, not the problem. And if you’d like to know more about how analytics can absolutely help you with your remote workforce, reach out to us today.
Brian is a freelance technology writer and media editor based out of Central New Jersey. He’s logged 20 years of experience in the Telecom industry and side-hustles in the record industry. Brian started his career in technology at a company that made analog modems. He migrated to a marketing career in the call recording industry where he learned exactly how and why calls are monitored for quality assurance. These days Brian fuses his skills together to deliver his researched observations about telephony and compliance laws in polished articles and videos. He’s also composed the music for a long list of big Hollywood trailers. He does not miss the sound of analog modems but he is endlessly fascinated with phones.