How do you address the most significant technology and infrastructural challenges in remote working?

70 to 90% of the call center workforce have moved to a work-from-home model or remote working model since the onset of the pandemic.


This move was forced, and organizations did everything in their capacity to move their agents’ homes. This helped them to continue serving their customer needs without massive interruptions.


Organizations faced several challenges – cultural, social, infrastructural, and technological challenges.


We will look at the technological and infrastructural challenges in this article.


Technological and infrastructure challenges


Most organizations had an on-premise dialer or contact center solution. It didn’t make it possible for them to move their agents’ homes. Besides, for the agents to connect to their office systems from home, they needed VPN connectivity.


VPN licenses come at high costs, and also the bandwidth required to access in-house systems using VPN connectivity is reasonably large. Most home broadband connections do not provide this level of support.


Most agents did not have good quality computer systems at home for them to start working at home. Many of them had access to only shared computers, tablets, and mobile phones.


Also, you have to consider the dependency of the entire family on the home broadband availability. It has to be shared between people trying to access in-house office applications, collaboration apps, online schooling, and entertainment needs. Getting additional lines and upgrades was also an issue during the pandemic.


Moving to cloud


The easiest solution was to move its call center infrastructure to the cloud. However, most incumbent vendors weren’t focused on the cloud, and they needed anywhere between 4 to 6 months to get to a basic version of a cloud offering.


This is where we helped most customers by moving their call center function to our cloud offering. We made them operational within 24 hours, with the option to connect to their internal systems at a later point in time.


The advantage with this move was anyone with a browser – be it tablets, mobile, or computers, can access the cloud contact center solution without any hassles. This allowed them to ensure business continuity.


Low-bandwidth connectivity


Internet connectivity from home broadband solutions has low bandwidth connectivity that results in poor call quality with jitters, delays, and choppy voice.


We circumvented low bandwidth issues using a connected method for telephony with regular PSTN connectivity. We provided credentials to every agent that made their voice calling secure and integrated the connected method telephony with the contact center platform seamlessly.


The most significant concerns that call centers have while moving their agents’ homes are overcoming the technological and infrastructural challenges.


You don’t have to worry anymore.


Solutions are available to circumvent most technological and infrastructural challenges.

Why should brands think about customer journey orchestration?

There are multiple schools of thought when it comes to customer journey orchestration. According to Blueconic, some of them are:


  1. Customers – and only customers – own their decision journeys
  2. Customers own their entire buying journey – from start to finish
  3. The customer, and only the customer, decides which company to research, business websites to browse, brand apps to download, and, ultimately, products or services to buy

Given this fact, should you worry about customer journey orchestration, for you don’t have much control over there? Or, should you look at customer lifecycle orchestration?


Customer lifecycle orchestration is where you focus on the individual needs of your customers. This would move your customers from one lifecycle stage to the next based on actions taken. 


This sounds interesting. Are there any examples that you can derive knowledge from?


I am going to take the example of Netflix here. 


Netflix customer lifecycle orchestration 

The most important lesson from Netflix is to look at your product or service, not in terms of what it “is,” but from the value it provides customers. 


Netflix focuses on customer data, not based on rudimentary data points like genres watched, viewer ratings, and so on.


Netflix bases all it’s business decisions on both broad, high-level numbers and specific, granular information. 


As a Netflix user, what is the most evident user of Netflix’s ability to use data? It is the system’s ability to provide personalized movie suggestions to you.


That is only the tip of the iceberg. Among many other pieces of data, Netflix collects information regarding:


  1. When viewers pause, rewind or fast-forward
  2. Completion rates of all content viewed
  3. Logistics such as the device used, time of day, and current location

Netflix knows that you like to watch comedy in the mornings, binge watch shows during the weekend, and courtroom dramas are your all-time favorite. 


There are 2 million subscribers in India. This means there are 2 million versions of Netflix in India. 


Everyone’s Netflix experience is personalized based on factors specific to the individual user. 


Data-driven business decisions

Beyond using data to provide laser-focused content recommendations, Netflix also relies on making major business decisions – whether to purchase certain movie rights or invest in new original content. 


Shows like ‘House of Cards’ were predicted to add millions of subscribers on board, and it delivered on those predictions. 


Data analysis shows when users are most satisfied, engaged, or happy while using the service. 


Netflix works towards providing content that achieves the maximum happiness per dollar spent. 


In conclusion

We are a family of three, and we have subscribed to multiple OTT platforms, including Netflix. I pay the highest for Netflix, and despite that, the experience that we get in Netflix is unbeatable. 


There are three users in my house, and all three of us would vouch for the Netflix experience over anything else. 


Netflix is truly a customer-focused company, where they have co-created customer experience with the customers’ inputs. That’s what makes it a blockbuster.


Every business has a blockbuster in them. Go ahead, and identify it by focusing on customers individually. 

What does this designation Customer Success Manager mean?

When a business buyer purchases from a seller, a customer relationship begins. However, as the customer benefits from the purchase, the association expands into a long-lasting one.


Ongoing customer care and growth were the forte of Account Managers till about ten years ago. But, now that responsibility is with Customer Success Managers (CSMs).


Customer Success Managers don’t just make additional sales, but they manage the gap between sales and service, between company interest and customer interest, and between product expertise and customer insight.


Heard of this….


Have you ever heard of anyone from your organization reaching out to your existing customers and telling them that they should cancel their subscription to your product?


Even the customer would be surprised to listen to this. The reason attributed to the suggestion was that the customer wasn’t fully utilizing the solution they have subscribed to. There is a lot more that they can do with their subscription.


This person then takes them through what they can do with what they have bought and how it would help them.


Imagine the level of loyalty that the customer would feel towards you after this exercise.


This is precisely what a Customer Success Manager is expected to do.


The difference between customer service, customer experience, and customer success


Now that we have a signpost to understand what Customer Success is, it remains cloudy, and it is interchangeably used with customer service and customer experience.


How do you differentiate between the three?


The ‘Future of CIO blog’ attempts at this differentiation, which I found to be best representation of the difference.


Customer service is reactive, available when customers need it, in the channel when customers want it.


Customer experience needs to be interactive to delight customers at every touchpoint.


Customer success is proactive, identifying ways to help customers gain value from the product or service you provide.


Customers need all of these areas to be a focus of the business, if you want them to continue to buy and recommend your products/services to others.


Voice of the customer


A CSM is ideally placed to advocate the customers’ needs, as they work directly with them. They constantly run surveys, reviews, and feedback to find out what the customers like or dislike about the product and share it with the other functions.


They make sure that the voice of the customer is always heard.


Besides doing all of this, the CSMs should help your organization articulate how to sell the hole instead of selling the drill.


The CSM makes sure that your customer understands the benefits of what they are buying into and not just the product or service features.


Read more: How do you provide this kind of customer service?