This article details the results of the most recent QATC quarterly survey on critical quality assurance and training topics. Over 200 contact center professionals representing a wide variety of operations provided insight regarding the changes in their operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The largest number of participants is from call center operations with more than 500 agents. However, the balance is widely dispersed across all ranges. This mix of respondents provides a broad spectrum of call center sizes. The industries represented are also diverse with the largest percentages within the telecommunications, financial, travel, and healthcare sectors.
Biggest Initial Challenge for Work at Home
The biggest challenges reported to getting staff up and running at home were technical. Securing a stable internet connection was difficult for about one-third of the respondents (34%) while securing the needed IT equipment was reported by 28%. Limited IT support and security challenges were also widely experienced.
Prior to Pandemic
Respondents were asked what percentage of their staff was working from home prior to the pandemic. More than half (56%) indicated that it was less than 25% of the staff with another 15% choosing “other” which may indicate they had no staff at home. Only 7% had between 75 – 100% of their staff at home prior to the crisis.
Respondents were asked what percentage of their staff was working from home during the crisis. Almost three-quarters indicated that between 91 – 100% of their staff was working from home. Only 7% indicated that they had 60% or less of their staff working at home. This was a dramatic shift in a short timeframe driven by the necessity to protect the staff and comply with government regulations.
Impact on Metrics
Survey participants were asked if they experienced an impact on their metrics during the crisis. Approximately one-third (32%) indicated that they had no impact. About one-quarter (26%) experienced an increase in the length of the contacts (AHT) with only 3% experiencing a decrease in AHT. For 18%, Average Speed of Answer (ASA) increased, or service level (SL) decreased. But 7% experienced an improvement in ASA or SL. These changes are likely a result of changed customer behaviors as well as agent performance shifts.