Happy Global CX Day from Cyara!
On this, the first Tuesday of October, the CX community celebrates individuals, companies, and organizations that work hard to bring quality customer experience to their audiences.
This year brought so many added challenges, so to celebrate CX Day, we’d like to shine a light on a few of our customers who’ve embraced the challenge of delivering superior CX throughout the many (thanks 2020!) challenges we’ve faced this year.
As evidenced by the stories we’re sharing today from presentations at our recent Xchange 2020 Virtual Summit, there have been some absolutely incredible obstacles that had the potential to derail efforts to deliver flawless CX. Blair Pleasant – President and Principal Analyst at COMMfusion – who presented Emerging Trends in the Contact Center’s Crisis Response at this year’s Xchange, summarized the major impacts that COVID-19 has had specifically on the contact center industry, and four of the items on her list were:
- Call Center workers are considered “essential” workers
- Contact Center traffic surges
- Contact Center agents working remotely
- Cloud-based contact centers demonstrating value
These trends were brought to light in a panel discussion with Jessica Kaufman from Humana, Cheryl Parsons from The Capital Group, and Joe Eisner from Amazon AWS, in which they “sat down” with Linda Chen, Cyara’s Chief Marketing Officer, to chat about Insights and stories from the Virtual War Room.
When COVID-19 was officially named a pandemic, Humana and its contact center workers demonstrated their essentialness and ability to meet unforeseen traffic surges. “All of a sudden there was this immediate call-to-action and we literally had over a thousand people who stood up on a Saturday and said ‘how do we make a complete pivot as an organization, drop everything we’re doing, and focus on what this means to our customers,” said Jessica Kaufman.
She went on to reflect on the tremendous amount of effort, collaboration, and attention to detail that the Humana customer service and contact center teams put in that ultimately resulted in their successful, continued ability to answer the needs of their customers and provide home health services, and even add new services like meal delivery to people locked in their homes, under new, sudden, and challenging business operation conditions. This paints a real-world picture of exactly what Blair Pleasant noted in her summary of COVID impacts on the contact center, when the Department of Homeland Security deemed contact centers essential businesses and contact center agents essential workers.
In her presentation, Blair went on to discuss the increase and unsteadiness of contact center traffic, which is further explored in this Wall Street Journal article detailing how, at the onset of the pandemic, “…the deluge of calls to consumer-facing businesses began with travelers and has shifted to consumers calling makers of in-demand products such as toilet paper and diapers, investors calling financial institutions, and patients calling health systems and insurers, among others. “
Blair’s chart illustrating that “…depending on the vertical you’re in, you’re going to see either increased volumes or decrease volumes.”
Humana’s ability to ask the hard questions and make rapid decision that led to success in delivering this support to their customers through spiking demand exactly illustrates Blair’s first two COVID-caused contact center trends.
Beyond contact center workers’ essential-ness and traffic surges, the need to move call center agents to home office operations without disrupting the ability to provide quality customer experiences was a challenge that Capital Group’s Cheryl Parsons discussed:
“It was amazing how fast all this seemed to happen,” said Cheryl, who shared about Capital Group’s massive and rapid shift to agents working from home. “One week we were talking about how we would respond to this, and a week later we were taking 2,500 phone associates and sending them home… The challenges around that were substantial,” Cheryl said, going on to list what went into setting up remote workers, including getting hotlines up and running, stress testing VPNs to ensure systems could handle new and heavy technical requirements, and purchasing and provisioning new devices so that agents could work from home, all within a two-week time frame.
And to confirm Blair’s point about the pandemic highlighting the value of a Cloud-based contact center, Joe Eisner from AWS shared that, “we’ve set up 5,000 customer implementations of Amazon Connect in March and April alone in response to COVID.”
In their respective Xchange sessions, Blair and Joe both discussed the specific benefits that a cloud-based contact center offers customers, especially in situations like a global pandemic, including:
- Enablement of agents
- Speed of deployment
- Pay-as-you-go pricing
- Business continuity
- No obsolescence
Echoing Blair’s findings, Joe said “(AWS was) able to very quickly deploy and scale on behalf of customers, and it was really heartening to see… and be able to fill in the cracks quickly under urgent circumstances as part of our customer obsession.”
It was awe-inspiring to hear from these companies about the amazing focus, teamwork, and pivoting it took to overcome these challenges and find new ways to meet customer needs through interactions in the contact center, and we know that there are so many more stories just like these.
We’d like to use this CX Day to congratulate the amazing accomplishments of Humana, The Capital Group, AWS, and so many other companies who have demonstrated true customer obsession through uninterrupted, flawless CX.
To hear more of their stories on how brands are responding to the impact of COVID-19 on contact center operations, watch these sessions and others from Xchange 2020 Virtual Summit on-demand.