We have each watched the unthinkable unfold across our country in the last few weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered every aspect of our lives. For government agencies, the stakes have never been higher. Agencies responsible for providing essential services to citizens have been forced to take drastic action in order to continue to provide those services while protecting employees that are fielding an exponential increase in call volumes. There are no shortage of headlines highlighting the unprecedented steps that agencies are taking to respond to the impacts the pandemic has had on their contact center operations, or the fallout for agencies that are struggling to adopt new measures.
Our nation’s federal, state, and local governments have always provided a failover safety net to each other in times of crisis. What’s become most familiar to us over the last many years have largely been weather related events like floods, tornados, hurricanes and wildfires. In each of these scenarios the crisis is limited to a specific region or state, leaving other state agencies to help deliver essential services to the ground swell of citizens in the region that are woefully in need.
The problem is, what do you do when every federal, state and city agency is impacted by an unplanned event? While the answer is not simple, one thing that can be done in this time of unprecedented crisis is to turn to technology (I know, I know, it sounds cliché.) But consider this, the pandemic crisis is forcing agency leaders to rethink their existing technology stack when it comes to their contact centers. For years, many have adopted a short-sighted “if its not broke, don’t fix it” mentality. This pandemic, however, is proving why that strategy is deeply flawed.
For agencies that are still running legacy, premise-based systems, the struggle is real. Moving employees remotely requires training, VPN licenses and lack of visibility. On top of that, consider that agency contact centers are already stretched thin on resources and are now contending with the specter of the few resources they have becoming sick and infected. Make no mistake. THIS. IS. HARD. What’s even harder are the stories in the headlines of citizens desperately trying to reach out for support only failing to make a connection.
It’s no secret that over the last several years, we, at NICE inContact have spent a considerable amount of time espousing the importance of cloud contact center platforms to government agencies. To summarize the dozens of whitepapers, webinars, infographics and briefs we’ve authored over the years; a cloud contact drives three key capabilities over legacy premise-based systems that will help agencies in this crisis.
Cloud contact centers allow you to
- Scale infrastructure to align with the demands placed on your agency whether they are anticipated (like annual tax questions) or something unplanned (like a flash flood or tornado.)
- Activate new features and channels with greater ease and speed than legacy premise-based systems (think - AI, chatbots, digital channels, Workforce Optimization and Management) to improve communication and more importantly, the user experience for citizens.
- Easily shift onsite contact center agents remotely, protecting them while still ensuring that you are able to provide critical services to your citizens during an unplanned event (blizzard, flood or most notably, our current pandemic).
Cloud contact centers bring agencies the speed, scalability and feature set to help agents handle greater call volumes and solve citizen issues faster and most importantly, it keeps your agents safe and healthy, while still providing support to citizens. The technology is in place to make that happen. At NICE inContact, we continue to drive a significant effort to helping federal, state and local government agencies in this time of need.
Be safe out there folks, this is a scary time. To learn more, join our webinar.