Industry Insights: The Evolving World of Work – Calabrio (UK)

Industry Insights:
The Evolving World of Work


The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly and dramatically transformed the way we work, almost overnight. As lockdowns ease, the acute challenges will fade. But it’s clear that there is no going back to normal. This watershed experience has reset agent and customer service expectations — and accelerated several already-occurring shifts in the contact centre world. How can contact centres prepare for this new landscape of agent and customer experience? What does working remotely mean for the future of the contact centre? We surveyed 300 contact centre professionals — and gathered original tips and insights from experienced thought leaders in the contact centre and customer experience world.

Get to know the experts

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3 in 4

The workplace has changed

3 in 4 survey respondents agree that the post-pandemic workplace will be very different


Customer service has changed

63% say customer service will be approached differently after the pandemic


The contact centre is more important than ever

84% believe the pandemic permanently elevated the importance of the contact centre for their business


Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer, Shepard Presentations
Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer, Shepard Presentations
"A new way of doing business"
A new way of doing business
"We have been pushed to a new way of doing business that we would have eventually found in three to five years."
Adrian Swinscoe, CX Advisor and Best-Selling Author
Adrian Swinscoe, CX Advisor and Best-Selling Author
"Service as UNusual"
Service as UNusual
"The brands that are succeeding have figured out that we are in an unusual situation and an amped up business as usual won’t cut it. This is Service As Unusual."
Nancy Jamison, Industry Director, Frost & Sullivan
Nancy Jamison, Industry Director, Frost & Sullivan
"Remote work as a business strategy"
Remote work as a business strategy
"Seemingly overnight businesses everywhere have been forced to test their business continuity plans. Unlike the short-term response to an event such as a hurricane, this is different. Work-at-home is now being viewed through the lens of business strategy, not perks."

The State of the Contact Centre:
Embracing the Evolving World of Work

Trend 1

A New Standard in Customer Experience

The pandemic forced consumers to interact with organisations in completely new ways, accelerating already-emerging shifts in customer experience expectations.


call recording

Seamless Multichannel Communication

quality management

Video Conferencing

workforce management

Greater Emotional

voice-of-customer analytics

To Feel Heard by


Audrey William, Principal Advisor, Ecosystm

Audrey William, Principal Advisor, Ecosystm

"Not all customers will want to walk into a retail store now or call a contact centre. Therefore contact centres have a role in enabling customers to reach them through more digital channels beyond voice, email and SMS. This is the time to invest in digital channels and technologies such as Conversational AI to drive CX. You need to rethink how to personalise the experience. For example, how can you personalise the experience for your customer on WhatsApp, WeChat, LINE, Facebook etc? How can the FAQ on your website have more information? Are you making the Mobile App experience richer? Are you making sure all your digital channels are aligned?"

Jay Baer, Customer Experience & Marketing Expert

Jay Baer, Customer Experience & Marketing Expert

“Clarity is the most important element as we shape the next normal. What was assumed in the past is no longer a safe assumption in many cases. Hours of operation. Product availability. Returns policy. And a LOT more. Today, the world of CX starts by making sure your customer re-learns how to buy from you, and how your business operates.”

Dick Bucci, Founder & Principal Analyst, Pelorus Associates

Dick Bucci, Founder & Principal Analyst, Pelorus Associates

"The pandemic situation confirms the superiority of human agents versus self-service. During these past 90 days contact centre personnel have had to adopt to rapid changes in company policies, services, and products. No automated system can be as adaptive, responsive, and empathetic as a trained and committed customer service representative."

Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer, Shepard Presentations

Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer, Shepard Presentations

“Be reachable the way your customers want to reach you; phone, SMS, app, email, etc. – and then have the ability to switch channels seamlessly without having to make the customer repeat information. It is all about creating a convenient, low-friction and low-effort service and support experience."

James Dodkins, CX Rockstar

James Dodkins, CX Rockstar

"Here’s my checklist of 5 things to remember about CX in the post-lockdown landscape:
1. Technology is important but it’s not the most important thing
2. Be there for customers. If you can’t be there for your customers in the bad times, don’t expect them to be there for you in the good times.
3. Needs have shifted, understand them and pivot to deliver them
4. Keep on top of rapidly shifting expectations and work to meet them. Exceeding them would be great — but at minimum, meet them.
5. How you deal with this situation will be a defining moment in your company’s history, don’t underestimate this."

HALF of contact centre managers say CX is more
important to brand loyalty than ever before


Success in the Customer Experience Era

Trend 2

Workforce Flexibility is Here to Stay

The pandemic rapidly accelerated the shift toward remote work and flexible hours. Contact centres are already seeing the benefits — to both employees and their businesses — of a more flexible work environment.


say a remote environment will continue long term


plan to continue flex hours long term


Employee Satisfaction

72% say agents are happy working remotely

Managing Remote Agents

Service Flexibility

47% believe remote working will drive long term service flexibility

Managing Remote Agents

Team Performance

73% of managers are satisfied with their remote employees’ productivity

Managing Remote Agents

Cost Efficiencies

HALF expect to realise operational cost savings through continuing a remote work environment

Managing Remote Agents

Employee Retention

47% believe enabling remote work will increase employee retention



“For the employer, working from home opens up new recruitment opportunities for senior citizens, disabled persons, university students, military spouses and others. Plus, less fixed costs — rent, utilities, insurance, maintenance and tax — associated with brick-and-mortar facilities.”

– Dick Bucci
Founder & Principal Analyst, Pelorus Associates

“The main perk of remote working is that breaks mean more and are more mentally refreshing. The casual water cooler chatter is replaced with stepping out into a garden, cooking rather than reheating, and spending time with pets or family members.”

Nancy Jamison
Industry Director, Frost & Sullivan

A Complete Guide to Managing a Remote Workforce

Trend 3

Workforce Engagement Will Drive Performance

The pandemic reinforced a simple truth: A contact centre’s greatest asset is the quality of its people. No matter where employees are working, contact centres are increasingly recognising that investing in the skills, job engagement and performance of their people delivers value to their customers and to the business. Moreover, as the pandemic barrels down on world economies, businesses are forced into survival mode. Cutting back is a large part of surviving, but even in this uncertain time, businesses are making smart investments to optimise costs while keeping employees engaged from afar.

7 in 10

contact centre managers believe that improved employee engagement will drive cost optimization


Nate Brown Chief Experience Officer, Officium Labs
Nate Brown Chief Experience Officer, Officium Labs
Nate Brown
"The days of "butts in seats" as both a physical reality and a management style are OVER. Successful contact centre leaders will be those with the capability to engage a remote workforce, creating both an exceptional agent and customer experience with a decentralised team.”
Meghan M. Biro, Founder & CEO, TalentCulture
Meghan M. Biro, Founder & CEO, TalentCulture
Meghan M. Biro
“It’s so important to have a digital platform that is customizable for each and every person in the company, and to train people to be able to self-track their own results, and optimise their own dashboards to support their best work. Since COVID-19 we’ve put so much pressure on our employees to stay motivated and connected, and we see people step up to the plate beautifully. Now we can keep this paradigm shift going by ensuring people have the integrated platform to continue the evolution, no matter where they’re working from.”
James Dodkins, CX Rockstar
James Dodkins, CX Rockstar
James Dodkins
“Workforce engagement will become even more critical in the coming months. As more people adapt to remote working, making sure they still feel part of the team and are contributing to something bigger than themselves is going to become more vital than ever.”


1 in 3

contact centres have
INCREASED their evaluations


are using predictive analytics and automation to
enhance Quality Monitoring and WEM

“Old-school Quality Assurance (QA) methods, such as walking the contact centre floor, will quickly become obsolete. Analytics will be called upon to modernise and democratise QA, bringing objectivity to the QA process and supporting the career development of remote workers. Like the contact centre itself, QA strategies must modernise in order to remain viable.”

– Paul Stockford
Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research

“Agent coaching should focus on:
1. Understanding the customers’ needs and emotions
2. Ability to connect humanly and empathise and reiterate
3. Ability to own the solution and deliver
4. Follow through and ensuring that the customer feels whole”

Jeanne Bliss
President, Customer Bliss

The Definitive Primer on Contact Centre Employee Engagement

Trend 4

Contact Centre Intelligence has Become Mission-Critical

The pandemic revealed a largely unmet need in most businesses: the ability to understand the voice of the customer in real time — and use that knowledge to drive agile, customer-centric strategies.


of contact managers expect
insights from every department

1 in 4

contact centres are not
collecting the VOC insights they need


Meghan M. Biro, Founder & CEO, TalentCulture
Meghan M. Biro, Founder & CEO, TalentCulture
Meghan M. Biro
"BI is a gamechanger – the digital muscle to be predictive, not just reactive. One exciting aspect is how it can light a spark with employees. There’s a huge sense of power and energy involved in being able to understand and leverage data — answer the questions each individual is asking, rather than a cookie-cutter approach. It takes more than analysis to look into the future, it takes intelligence — and right now, that’s exactly what we need to do."
Jay Baer, Customer Experience & Marketing Expert
Jay Baer, Customer Experience & Marketing Expert
Jay Baer
"All businesses must relearn what customers want, need, and expect - as all of that may have changed significantly. The organisations that understand their customers better are those that can display customer empathy more consistently. And those businesses will succeed disproportionately in this new set of circumstances."
Maribel Lopez, Founder & Principal Analyst, Lopez Research
Maribel Lopez, Founder & Principal Analyst, Lopez Research
Maribel Lopez
“In the wake of COVID -19 companies are realising it’s never been more important to empower all employees with the right information at the right time. To support this, companies need a contact centre solution that uses AI to analyse and help define the next best action from all available data such as email, tweets and previous calls.”


9 in 10

contact centres are maintaining or increasing their investment in


Jay Baer: Which 4 Types of Customer Feedback Should You Use?

Trend 5

Agility is the Key Ingredient

Perhaps the most essential takeaway from the pandemic is that the future will be defined by rapid evolution — in what customers want, what technologies make it possible, and what unexpected challenges it will require. The pandemic experience has exposed the need for nimble, agile technologies that integrate easily and adapt rapidly — so businesses are prepared for whatever comes next.


1 in 10

contact centres made the move to fully cloud-based either before or during the pandemic


plan to increase cloud utilisation to enhance agility


Sheila McGee-Smith, Founder & Principal Analyst, McGee-Smith Analytics
Sheila McGee-Smith, Founder & Principal Analyst, McGee-Smith Analytics
Sheila McGee-Smith
"The need for two elements of agility have become clear, one more general the other quite specific. The first is to embrace cloud-based solutions sooner than later. Recent experience shows that waiting for “the right time” to migrate isn’t an option. The second is for AI-driven workforce management solutions which allow companies to quickly create and communicate work schedules to an increasingly at-home workforce."
Paul Stockford, Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research
Paul Stockford, Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research
Paul Stockford
"Contact centre executives who have been dragging their heels rather than modernising their contact centres will now find themselves in a catch-up situation. As the smoke clears from this crisis, how fast can we get ready for the next one? ... The industry needs to modernise, and do it in a hurry. The cloud is no longer a novelty, it is an imperative."
Adrian Swinscoe, CX Advisor & Best-Selling Author
Adrian Swinscoe, CX Advisor & Best-Selling Author
Adrian Swinscoe
"There is an economic pinch coming so budgets are likely to get squeezed. However, resist the temptation to make cuts across the board and, instead, take the time to think about where you will get the best return for your investment … Investing in technology that enables customers to self-serve and helps employees do their jobs better are likely to deliver the best ROI."

Read the Full Survey Report

The State of the Contact Centre:
Embracing the Evolving World of Work

How Leading Contact Centres are Turning Forced Changes into Future-Ready Strategies

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