3 ways to make contact centres more sustainable
Sustainability is now a key focus for both businesses and consumers as people increasingly want to protect the world around us. Improving sustainability – for example by finding ways to reduce carbon emissions – is now a clearly stated goal for many businesses, with clear targets and metrics put in place. And consumers are increasingly demanding that the companies they buy from are sustainable, ethical and share their values.
More sustainable contact centres
Like all parts of the business, the contact centre needs to play its part in meeting sustainability objectives. Based on this, here are three ways that technology can make your contact centre greener:
1. Switch to the cloud
Running your own contact centre technology and systems on-premise requires you to buy and manage your own servers. Not only does this takes up physical space, but it also consumes significant amounts of energy in powering and cooling hardware.
As well as benefits around lower costs and greater efficiency, switching to the cloud also removes this overhead. It improves energy utilisation as cloud providers are laser-focused on running data centres as efficiently as possible. This includes finding ways to minimize their energy consumption. They have the time, expertise, and economies of scale, to identify and deploy the latest innovations and technologies to increase compute power and reduce energy usage.
Added to this, in recent years all of the major cloud datacentre providers have made big commitments to switch to renewable energy sources. For example, IBM Cloud’s UK network of data centres is 100% powered by renewable electricity. Embracing the cloud therefore makes your contact centre both more efficient and greener.
2. Adopt hybrid working
Contact centres are often big employers, running shifts around the clock in many cases. This has traditionally required a lot of commuting by employees. Often this is unavoidably by car as shift patterns don’t always fit with public transport timetables. Additionally, many contact centres are based in out-of-town locations that aren’t easily reachable by bus or train. All of this leads to higher emissions before people have even set foot in the building.
By reducing the numbers of employees who need to commute, hybrid working is therefore helping reduce car journeys and the pollution they cause. Equally, it has allowed contact centres to either downsize or simply use fewer resources to power/heat their offices as there are fewer staff in the building. This results in financial savings as well as boosting sustainability.
To make hybrid working successful you need cloud solutions that allow staff to work from anywhere and collaboration tools to ensure effectiveness. That’s why more and more contact centres have adopted cloud-based unified communications systems such as Microsoft Teams. These make it easy to collaborate, share materials and communicate, wherever people are working from.
3. Make greater use of digital and self-service
In organisations such as local councils and housing associations customers often have to come into offices to pay bills. The same applies in industries such as financial services. For example, consumers visit banks and meet with experts to discuss mortgages, pensions, insurance, and other financial products.
With the growth of digital channels – which many people embraced in greater numbers during COVID-19 – much of this in-person interaction is no longer required. This saves travel time and lowers carbon emissions. Companies don’t need to support so many staff in-branch and customers no longer have to travel for meetings.
Video has replaced many in-person consultations for mortgages and financial advice, for example. Digital technologies allow customers to share, review and sign documents in real time. Self-service makes it easy for people help themselves. They can resolve queries and pay their bills online or via IVR, rather than having to visit an office. In the case of faults, share links to instructional and how-to videos with customers to help them resolve technical issues rather than sending out an engineer to visit them on site.
Greener, more sustainable contact centres
The whole organisation must play a role to make the world more sustainable and to protect the long-term future. The contact centre can play its part by making its infrastructure and operations greener and helping staff to work in a more sustainable way – all contributing to the shift to a Net Zero world.