How technology can improve customer service and safety
Return to work is a focal point for many in the built environment, but one of the most important elements is easy to overlook. Customer service will be essential to return to the workplace. Front-of-house teams will be responsible for welcoming building users and reassuring them as they negotiate shared spaces in the post-Covid era. The workplace will inevitably be different after Covid. We have become more aware of our spaces, their cleanliness and the spaces shared by building users. Employees have also become more aware of the pros and cons of the workplace. For some, a year of working from home has been a welcome break from the stress and time taken by the commute. Many organizations are considering moving to hybrid work approaches, downsizing their corporate real estate portfolios, and using shared spaces more consciously, whether for quiet working or focused collaboration. We will also see increased attention in workplace cleaning and more data-driven solutions. Front-of-house teams will be at the center of helping building users get used to these changes. The role of technology Reception staff will likely be responsible for ensuring buildings do not exceed safe occupancy levels and will be supported by visitor management systems. Another change to watch out for in the workplace will be the use of technology. Tech-led organizations have long reminded us that instinct and confidence in our senses is no longer enough, but Covid-19 has forced us to accept this. Now that adoption of the technology has become crucial in cleaning, we’ll see reluctance to adopt it elsewhere as well. A McKinsey survey suggests that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology by several years. Why is this important for customer service? Just like other changes in the workplace, new technologies will change the way building users interact with their environment. The technology will also allow front-of-house teams to focus on the key ingredient of their role – human interaction. This will be essential in helping occupants to feel comfortable, safe and happy. Occupancy and Visitor Management Systems These systems have been around in the workplace for many years, and pre-Covid systems have been used to help us maximize our space and use. These systems are all the more important as we will likely see a return to the workplace before everyone has been vaccinated. We can see systems that only contact the occupants of an affected area of a building, rather than an entire workforce, to alleviate concerns and ensure that most people can remain confident in the hygiene of the building. their workspace. For the rest of 2021 at least, precautions such as social distancing will need to be put in place. Workplaces will continue to operate at limited occupancy for a period of time to ensure personal safety. Reception staff will likely be responsible for ensuring buildings do not exceed safe occupancy levels and will be assisted by visitor management systems. These can be used by individual organizations or by multi-tenant buildings. Temperature Controls and Identity Verification Systems Organizations mitigate risk where possible. Portable digital thermometers have been in great demand. The use of such devices has reshaped the role of security guards over the past year. Agents have become familiar faces in shops and shared spaces, keeping people safe and serving as the first point of contact. The security industry has come under tremendous pressure, balancing the need to apply precautions and respond to stressed building users in an empathetic manner. The officers demonstrated an agility that security technology cannot replace. After the pandemic, we’ll likely see a greater appreciation for what manned guards can offer and greater potential for officers in front of home stations. Reception staff become responsible for checking the temperature. Some organizations may choose to increase collaboration between their front-of-house and security teams. This could include the implementation of identity verification systems, as well as contactless systems. This will allow front-of-house teams to stay focused on people and give users a warm welcome when they return to the office. Using Surveillance to Make Guest Services More Available Surveillance solutions may be the first things that come to mind when considering security technologies. We have seen a growing trend to integrate remote monitoring with human monitoring since before the pandemic. Perhaps such a decision is even more important now: Beyond employee safety, customer services will play a central role in making the workplace an attractive option. For many organizations, the pandemic has forced a rapid shift in focus. Organizations have faced the security challenges of dealing with vacant space and the additional complications of managing cybersecurity for remote work. Rebalancing the cost and focus of security may give the impression that some companies do not have the capacity to use front desk agents. Yet when employees return to the workplace, frontline teams will be more important than ever. For those who didn’t during the pandemic, now is the time to invest in effective surveillance solutions. The lower cost of technology means that such a solution can be combined with manned guards and front-of-house roles. Organizations may need to invest in fewer agents, but their roles may be more focused on the occupant experience. Encouraging Employees to Return Beyond employee safety, customer services will play a central role in making the workplace an attractive option. Remote working has had advantages and disadvantages, but many of those disadvantages will be alleviated with the end of the pandemic. Loneliness will no longer be such a challenge when seeing friends and neighbors is an option, and returning children and partners to school and work will ease the distractions. It can therefore be tempting for many employees to continue working from home. As a result, many opportunities for collaborative work will be lost. For employers looking to encourage their workforce to come back, creating an incredible work experience is essential. Technology alone cannot deliver this. On the contrary, too much technology could create an environment that seems clinical and impersonal. Use technology to streamline boring or stressful elements of the workplace and invest in friendly faces that will welcome your workforce again.