If 2021 had a theme, it was the global covid-19 pandemic transitioning from something novel and unknown to something we knew and were learning to live with. Now, with another year behind us, the theme of 2022 is set to be the application of the lessons we’ve learned throughout the pandemic in a post-pandemic world. However, it’s important to understand that post-global-pandemic does not necessarily mean post-COVID-19, because the virus itself is likely here to stay. For the payments industry, that means certain things – like continued acceleration of digital payments – are certain, while other things – like the ability to open office doors permanently over the next year, are less so. As a result, many ISOs and companies at all levels of the payments ecosystem are faced with trying to figure out what the new year will bring and how it will impact their operational tempo, workspaces, communication tools, and employee wellbeing. 

The Status of New Variants

While life has unquestionably begun returning to normal as widespread vaccination reduces risks, what is not yet certain is whether the end of the pandemic is just around the corner and what life will look like as the virus becomes endemic. While many thought the end of the third wave marked the end of the pandemic itself, the emergence of omicron, with its extremely high transmission rates, threw a wrench in many companies’ reopening plans. And, while there is no question that there will be new variants and mutations in the future, what is yet to be seen is whether occasional seasonal closures to lockdown highly transmissible variants is a one-time thing, or something companies will need to plan for more regularly. 

The Permanence of Remote Work

Regardless of how much longer the pandemic may or may not last, we do know for certain that remote work is not going anywhere any time soon. While some companies, mainly in the tech industry, have committed to full-time permanent WFH, most companies continuing remote work will instead see employees maintain the option to work from home, at least two to three days per week. According to McKinsey, that could result in the number of people working from home long-term increasing by 300% or more compared to before the pandemic. 

With work-from-home arrangements becoming a permanent fixture for at least part of the week, 2022 will represent an important year for many companies in payments and all other industries to ramp up new technologies to help transition from the stopgap WFH solutions of the past year.


How a CRM Can Enable Remote Employees in 2022

One of the technologies many payments companies will be leaning on heavily is customer resource management software. CRMs are mission-critical tools in payments today, and while they’re utilized primarily for their ability to streamline and enrich the prospecting and sales processes, they also offer some significant benefits to employees working at home due to their cloud-based nature. Just a few of those benefits include anytime-anywhere access to necessary customer data, centralized communications, and secure data storage. 

Access to Key Customer Data from Anywhere

Customer resource management is all about using better customer data capture, management, and utilization practices to improve all areas of sales and service. A good CRM is an invaluable tool for remote workers because its cloud-based nature allows users to capture and access customer data even when they’re away from the office. Employees ranging from independent agents to managers to merchant support specialists can enjoy the same frictionless access to an ISO’s customer database that they would in the office, ensuring the service and experience the end merchant receives won’t miss a beat, regardless of how a workforce is split or how hectic an office arrangement may get. Options like IRIS CRM also provide mobile access, allowing employees to recruit and serve merchants from literally anywhere they can get a signal.  

Centralized Communication Tools to Minimize Siloing

Decentralization has many benefits, but it also comes with some significant challenges, one of which is information siloing. Information silos can happen in offices when teams or team members aren’t in the same physical space, so it’s natural that siloing may occur when a team gets spread out across a city, state, or the whole country. The key to ensuring a constant and free flow of communication is to ensure that using remote communication tools is as easy as possible, and a CRM is an ideal tool to accomplish that goal. By bringing all communication – from phone to email to SMS messaging and even internal chat software – into a single platform, a good CRM minimizes the number of accounts, passwords, and systems each employee has to juggle. The result is more time spent engaged with communication tools as a whole and a more frictionless flow of information. 

Secure Systems for Remote Workspaces

With so many more people working from home in ad hoc offices, it’s no surprise that cybercriminals have ramped up attacks to try to exploit the natural security gaps that occur with home networks. New threats range from a significant increase in phishing activity to employees bypassing security protocols out of convenience and beyond. Customer data is under increased threat, and that’s a big concern in the payments industry. The key to staving off the elevated cyber threat is to make good cybersecurity hygiene easy. Systems like IRIS CRM invest heavily in security, ranging from PCI Level 1 compliance for in-system transactions to constant security audits, white-hat penetration testing, and more. By utilizing a highly secure CRM for cloud-based file storage, communication tools, and data management, ISOs can save money on the development of remote work security protocols, and employees need only worry about the basics of securing their home networks.

To find out more about how customer resource management software can help ISOs like yours thrive in the remote work environment in 2022 and beyond, reach out to a member or schedule a free-guided demonstration of IRIS CRM today.