interactions live 2021
Call center agent uses CXone to work from home.

In Pre-pandemic Crises, Contact Centers Have Long Relied on CXone

Disaster planning and recovery, business continuity, working remotely and now, working from home. As these terms increasingly dominate the vernacular around business operations and preparedness, a diverse community of companies and organizations are finding that NICE inContact's CXone cloud contact center platform enables them to meet disaster-related challenges in ways they never thought possible.

CXone drives disaster recovery, business continuity

Because of the current pandemic’s far-reaching health and economic impacts, it’s hard to remember that major disasters and emergencies have unfolded across the U.S. and worldwide on a regular basis—long before the coronavirus appeared. CXone users have relied on the cloud platform in crisis situations—from life-threatening Arctic blasts and hurricanes to fires to government shutdowns—for business continuity and disaster recovery. With CXone, organizations are able to keep their operations going; relocate their contact centers and agents on a dime to work remotely and stay connected with their customers to satisfy demand for information and products.

Work-from-home capability: the new must-have Call center agent works from home and stays with employer due to efficient software.

Few organizations anticipated the devastating effects of the coronavirus. But with the introduction and subsequent expansion of CXone@home, businesses and government agencies could quickly (48 hours or less) and seamlessly shift employees to work from home or shift work across locations to maintain business continuity and manage large swings in interaction volume. The ability to have employees work from home has enabled organizations to accomplish important objectives in very little time and with relatively little effort, including:

  • Keeping employees safe
  • Shifting work across locations
  • Ensuring service reliability
  • Moving fast to support customers

One such company is NICE inContact customer HireRight, a provider of employment verifications and background checks. With CXone, scalability, ease of use and work-from-home capabilities converged perfectly to allow the company to address critical—and urgent—needs that arose as the pandemic spread. “With COVID-19, we needed to immediately move non-customer service teams to a work-from-home solution,” he says. “We were able to set up approximately 100 additional employees to support their lines of business with­in one week.”

Likewise, pet insurance provider Trupanion needed to act fast in the face of the worsening crisis. With CXone, the company moved nearly 900 employees home—in less than 72 hours!—while maintaining its commitment to its traditionally high customer experience (CX) standards.

Retailer Vera Bradley and its customers have benefitted in similar ways—currently and in past situations. “CXone’s disaster capabilities have saved us so many times, from COVID-19 to power lines being cut,” says Susan Campbell, the company’s Director of Customer Experience. “Our contact center stays up and running, and the customer experience is seamless.” Although skepticalWine Country Gift Basket about agents working remotely at first, Susan says the company had conducted an earlier pilot program and was thrilled by the results: “Our work-from-home agents are actually more productive than ever!” 

CXone’s ability to drive business continuity in a crisis came unexpectedly for others. As the coronavirus pandemic unfolded in the early months of 2020, the capabilities that enable agents to work at home were new to Wine Country Gift Baskets. The company quickly learned that with CXone, it could continue serving customers without missing a beat.  “Thank goodness we have NICE inContact now or we wouldn’t be able to have people working at home at all,” said Jeff Fawcett, Call Center and Training Manager. 

Disasters of all shapes & sizes

United Way of Connecticut, also a relatively new CXone user in the early weeks of the pandemic, found that it was able to quickly respond to the challenges it was suddenly facing by migrating two contact centers entirely to the new cloud technology. In addition to speed of deployment and flexibility, ease of use has been a big factor in United Way’s and other organizations’ ability to serve constituents without interruption.

But besides the current pandemic, businesses have always faced disasters that have threatened their operations and disrupted customer contact and relationships. In situations like these, too, CXone has been a lifesaver. Consider the government shutdown of December 2018-January 2019, when Americans across the country worried about how they would continue to receive much-needed benefits, including food stamps and Social Security  payments.

NICE inContact responds during blizzard. State agencies were flooded with tens of thousands of calls that could have overwhelmed their contact centers. But CXone users were able to communicate important information to anxious residents through CXone’s self-service IVR to keep call volumes under control, reduce wait times and enable agents to focus on more complex residents.

Later that same winter, disaster struck again. Several northern states faced an exceptionally bitter cold snap, which threatened residents with loss of critical services like heat and electricity. Once again, CXone enabled state agencies to put prerecorded answers to the most frequently asked questions on the self-service IVR, and in the face of constantly-changing conditions, effortlessly script and update new messages on the fly with CXone Studio.

The weather, it seems, accounts for more than its share of disasters. In October 2017, for instance, Hurricane Harvey left a path of flooding and destruction in Texas. NICE inContact CXone played an important role in the recovery efforts, when a large contact center was set up for 2500 agents in just 72 hours!

How 211 LA County harnesses the power of CXone

And then there are the increasingly frequent weather-and climate-driven events in California, including massive fires and earthquakes. In these situations, all of CXone’s key features--agility, flexibility, scalability, security, reliability, ease of use, quick training—function in equal parts to drive 211 LA’s response to emergency situations.

As a hotline for various health and human services,
211 LA County serves Southern California residents 365 days a year. But the organization is also increasingly called upon to respond not only to disasters in California but also to events like blizzards and hurricanes in other parts of the country.  

Chief Operating Officer Amy Latzer says that CXone enables her team to ramp up quickly in emergencies—and even to train and add volunteer agents. The 211 LA team may provide assistance to other contact centers but may also take over an entire contact center operation thousands of miles away, where agents have had to be sent home or Internet connectivity has been lost completely.

Wildfire engulfs forest and 211 LA county uses CXone to respond. In fact, in one season alone, Amy recalls, her team’s disaster support included Hurricane Florence in North Carolina and on the heels of that, Hurricane Michael in Florida, quickly followed by the deadly Woolsey fire in Ventura and LA County. Amy uses a variety of CXone software to meet these challenges but notes that CXone Workforce Management (WFM), in particular, gives her the planning tools to realistically project what is and isn’t possible for her team.

Most recently, 211 LA County established a partnership with Expivia, a business process outsourcer (BPO) and CXone user, to scale rapidly in response to the pandemic.

Are you ready?
Unfortunately, disasters and emergencies are a fact of modern life. But companies, agencies and other organizations worldwide are applying what they’ve learned, to perfect their business continuity and disaster recovery plans and protocols. For scores of current and future users, CXone will continue to play a central role in maintaining operations and CX under the most challenging conditions. Find out how NICE inContact and CXone can set your organization on the path to preparedness for the next crisis ahead.