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As the pandemic coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads throughout the world, reports from the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization provide guidelines for quarantine, social distancing (quite the challenge for traditional call centers) and good hygiene. The effects are already being seen in the economy, strained health care systems and in shortages of necessary supplies. The US Federal Reserve initiated an emergency interest rate reduction (the largest one-time reduction since the 2008 recession) to stabilize the economy, followed by another reduction to 0%. Layoffs are intensifying and unemployment is soaring as economists predict a global recession.

Credit Issuers and ARM companies are actively deploying aspects of their business continuity plans to meet the safety needs of employees, and business needs of their customers. It has become glaringly obvious, that while companies have developed disaster readiness policies, most of these were predicated on singular sites going offline and not on a global pandemic with much further reaching implications and global considerations.

The Remitter team is here to help. We at Remitter, like the rest of ARM Industry have a “servant mentality”.

ARM industry leaders are likely scrambling to enable agents to work from home to maintain operational stability while serving consumers in the most fluid manner preferred. However, shifting teams to work from home models can come with a host of challenges including, legislative restrictions, training, technology, privacy, security, and compliance. Additionally, when considering offshore redundancy is also being adversely impacted at this time, capacity and efficacy to maintain customer care are top of mind for operational leadership. This is where modern technology will fill the gap, allowing for remaining call center employees to handle disputes and high-level customer engagement.

ARM industry experts anticipate a 25% adverse effect to the sector as revenues fall and expenses increase during this business interruption. As the pandemic continues, consumers’ priorities have and will further shift making creditors’ fight for wallet share greater than ever before. Chetan Ahya (Chief economist at Morgan Stanley) reported the “Global recession in 2020 is now our base case”. He further iterated, “this time will be worse than the global recession of 2001. While the policy response will provide downside protection, the underlying damage from both Covid-19′s impact and tighter financial conditions will deliver a material shock to the global economy”.

In synthesizing the implications of the current crisis, it is impossible to ignore the need for informative, effective and respectful customer engagement. In doing so,  the ARM Industry will find the silver lining in this cloud; organizations may take the opportunity to truly recognize consumers are not just expecting omnichannel communication, but consumers are ultimately preferring “on my channel” contact.

Digital contact solutions are a critical component of any successful go-forward contact strategy. Even better,  if the product offers convenient, frictionless, and feature rich ways to communicate powered by AI, whereby a consumer can transact business with their creditors, it is a win for consumers and the ARM Industry.

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