The Coronavirus’ “opportunity”

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(Versión en español en http://www.aeerc.com/noticias_detalle.cfm?id_noticia=2482)

People say that everyone is responsible for how he takes the good and bad things that life puts in his way and, although totally true, sometimes it is difficult to control our minds’ reaction to some “black swans” that appear as an uncontrollable Armageddon that turns our expectations and forecasts upside down.

Covid19 is an infamous event that will bring important social and economic consequences from which it will take some time to recover (some of them as the loss of human lives unfortunately we will never recover). In spite of it, I believe that, talking around the topics we share in this forum, it is one of the great opportunities of our time, and circumstances have put it in our way to produce a transcendental leap in the traditional conception of the telemarketing sector.

First, we have the opportunity to value the importance of the sector in the lives of our fellow citizens and its assessment as a fundamental public utility. Although we are sometimes blamed for some of our behaviors, our people are proving that they are at the forefront of supporting the Society to which they belong. And doing so supporting businesses that, in these circumstances like never before, are shown with all their importance for the day-to-day life. Telecommunications, for example, have emerged in this time of crisis as one of the most relevant services for citizens, and ensuring its continuity and users’ support is as essential as the most important activity could be. Agents know that continuing their service delivery is a duty that goes beyond commitment to their job or their company.

Secondly, it is an opportunity to demonstrate the technological solidity of our infrastructure and the capability to improvise we have from an operational point of view. In our case we have been able to move to telework from their homes 100% of our first line of attention (2000 people) in five days (literally emptying our internal call centers), and our partners have been able to follow this deployment with a similar one in the same direction and timeframe. It is not only a matter of service continuity, but also a much more important one of safeguarding the security of all our agents and our customers personal information. In addition, we have been fortunate to have a very powerful WhatsApp support channel that has allowed us to make that even agents not servicing the voice channel could contribute their bit more easily from their homes. Overnight, we went from attending and fixing 5k to 12k client WhatsApp’s per day (and growing). It has been a great challenge not only technological and organizational but also logistical, as it has been necessary to prepare, move and install thousands of PC‘s in the agents’ premises in a record time. The result: not a single day of service disruption and the warm reward of our customers with a rise of 10 NPS points.

The current situation is going to produce much more than significant operational boasts. We are unknowingly witnessing a paradigm shift that will leave us with the famous “new normal”. We could say that nothing will be like before the pandemic. The Work from Home approach is going to be taken more seriously than until now (many of us have been working from our homes for years with excellent operational results, but until now we have not decided to take a leap like the one current circumstances are requiring to make). Messaging is the channel best suited to circumstances like these. Its asynchronous profile and technological “ease” make it very well positioned to succeed. Operations with many levels of specialization are less flexible and suffer more than the one stop shopping multiskill ones and, finally, the presence of AI and robotization becomes a must to deal with situations of significant imbalance between supply and demand

Kennedy said that during crises one should be aware of the danger, but also be able to recognize the opportunity. We have not asked for this crisis, but it is costing us so much that we are obliged to get something positive out of it.

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