The Critical Role of the Contact Center During COVID-19


COVID-19 update

As technology leaders, we have been mulling over what the Aspect technical team can do to help us get through these challenging times.  The medical and economic threats our world faces can’t be fixed with software, but perhaps some of the things we have learned, building tech over the years, can be of use.

A few years ago, Aspect surveyed employees and asked us to rate, on a 5-point scale, our agreement with this statement: “I think what I do for Aspect is extremely important.” Privately, I struggled with this a bit. I thought, I help businesses with phone calls and chats—but that’s not exactly solving world hunger.

This current crisis has driven the reality home for me that what Aspect does is a significant cog in the wheel of the overall global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Making sure that companies can direct calls to the right medical professional, staff contact centers that handle getting and keeping grocery shelves stocked, and helping people navigate challenges with internet connectivity—all of this is extremely important!

By leading technology teams over the years, we have also learned that two things are critical to successful outcomes: collaboration and optimism.  The need for collaboration is obvious; if a group is fighting rather than working together, it won’t get anywhere.  Optimism for success is just as important to keep a team moving forward. I keep a list of Colin Powell’s Rules on the wall of my office, and the one I turn to most often is, “Optimism is a force multiplier.”

I also learned—and this applies to resolving any technical question—decisions based on actual data are better than the alternatives, including gut feelings, fear, rolling a pair of dice, or reading chicken entrails…or anything else.

So, how do these lessons learned relate to our current global situation?

I believe our global community has good reason for optimism.  We see examples of countries that were hit early in the pandemic, such as South Korea, that have used collaboration and data driven techniques to successfully flatten the curve of significant outbreaks.  We now see techniques like this being adopted in countries around the globe, including India, the US, and across Europe.  And optimism breeds further positive outcomes, like reduced hoarding, buying a gift card from your favorite bar or restaurant to enjoy in the future and continuing the spending (if you have the means) that keeps our global economy moving.

The Aspect technical team wants our customers to know that they have inspired us with a new understanding of the importance of the work we do for them.  We may not be solving world hunger, but we are helping our customers do critical work: They put food on grocery shelves, service the public clouds that keep our businesses and schools running, provide critical telco and internet infrastructure around the globe, provide financial services that keep our global economy moving and so much more.

My answer to that Aspect Survey question of a few years back now would be an enthusiastic 5/5.

David Funck