greener sustainable contact centers

Sustainability is now a key focus for both businesses and consumers as people increasingly want to protect the world around us. Many businesses now have a clear goal of improving sustainability, such as reducing carbon emissions, and they have established specific targets and metrics. At the same time, Consumers are increasingly seeking sustainable, ethical companies that align with their values when making purchasing decisions.

More sustainable contact centers

Like all parts of the business, the contact center needs to play its part in meeting sustainability objectives. Based on this, here are three ways that technology can make your contact center greener:

1. Switch to the cloud

Running your own contact center 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 utilization as cloud providers are laser-focused on running data centers 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 the major cloud data center providers have made big commitments to switch to renewable energy sources. For example, IBM Cloud’s network of data centers is 100% powered by renewable electricity. Embracing the cloud therefore makes your contact center both more efficient and greener.

2. Adopt hybrid working

Contact centers are often big employers, running shifts around the clock which mean employees must commute. Often this is unavoidably by car as shift patterns don’t always fit with public transport timetables. Additionally, lots of contact centers are based in out-of-town locations out of reach 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 centers 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 is why more and more contact centers 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 organizations such as public and social housing customers often need 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.

As digital channels continue to expand – a trend accelerated by increased adoption during COVID-19 – much of the need for in-person interaction has diminished. This not only saves travel time but also reduces carbon emissions. Companies no longer need a significant presence of in-branch staff, and customers are no longer obligated 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 centers

The whole organization must play a role to make the world more sustainable and to protect the long-term future. The contact center 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.

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