Our Sales Director, Matt Marshall, has over 25 years experience in the contact centre industry. During this time he has seen the industry change dramatically. The latest challenge facing ResQ and the wider contact centre world is the COVID-19 outbreak which has forced a move to homeworking. We asked Matt for his thoughts on how the crisis is affecting the industry and what the long term implications will be.

I predict that providers will make an immediate assessment of homeworking and how they can capitalise on it. Homeworking is a model that we have considered in the past and was always a contingency plan in the event of an incident such as a fire or a flood. We hadn’t seriously considered it a primary service option for our customers until now. We love the hustle and bustle of the call centre environment and believe our staff thrive in that atmosphere but productivity and performance have not dropped off at all since working from home. Being forced to move to homeworking has really demonstrated the possibilities of this model. A model that has emerged as a viable option and a powerful solution moving forward. What we’ve been able to do, getting so many agents set up, dialling from home and all compliantly is amazing.

I imagine there will be many companies that will start to ask themselves if it’s really necessary to rent or purchase office space if they have the capabilities to enable homeworking. It has certainly given us cause to consider this offering for our clients and build in an element of homeworking to our solutions.

I foresee that there will be some changes in the offshore market too. Several large offshore outsourcers in South Africa, India and the Philippines have had to close to align with their countries lockdown instructions and brands are finding that they don’t have the infrastructure in place to enable homeworking as we have. This could lead to an erosion of desire to use offshore providers and see many British brands return their contact centre provisions to the UK.

Brands will look to companies that handled this crisis well and place more emphasis on contingency plans and agility when next searching for an outsourcer. I anticipate for years to come clients will be asking, “How did you handle the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and what provisions do you have in place should the unexpected happen again in the future?”

Fortunately, we began our contingency planning and started working on our homeworking solution well ahead of the lockdown announcement. Our agility and innovative IT solutions have enabled homeworking for the overwhelming majority of our staff.

This is a trying time for the industry with an increase in call volumes and the closing of several large offshore contact centres. There are many customers out there who need servicing and brands that need supporting. We, fortunately, have the capacity to step in and help brands who might be struggling at this time and welcome them to get in touch. We can help manage essential frontline services from our call centres which have strict social distancing measures in place or utilising our homeworking solution.