Four Best Practices in Workforce Optimization

1, February 2017

Over the years, many inspirational thinkers have waxed philosophical about how “change starts from within”. Well, you won’t hear any arguments from us. Especially, as far as providing exceptional customer experience is concerned. Contact centers have to navigate through the complex gateways that bring people, process, and technology together. Therefore, if they want to build meaningful and long-lasting relationships with customers, they must start focusing on the ways and means to create a positive impact on agent performance. Because happy employees result in happy customers.

Workforce optimization is a contact center’s potential to take care of the needs of their agents and customers alike. It comprises a set of decisions that a contact center makes to empower their agents and increase their levels of productivity.

In recent years, given the changing role of technology in bridging the gap between brands and their customers, new expectations are being set around workforce optimization. Organizational WFO goals have shifted from being solely focused on operational efficiency to playing a critical role in leading to better customer care.

So, here are four best practices that you can follow or recommend to strike a balance between agent productivity and superior customer experience

1) The art of self-utilization

More than a few times, Gartner has talked about customer self-service as one of the recent top customer service trends. In the same vein, giving agents the power of self-utilization to manage, document and improve their work schedules is the right step in the direction of improved agent productivity. With workforce management solutions offering KPI dashboards and reports available through agent portals, agents are now able to manage their own performance, with strategic management inputs. Intuitive WFO solutions empower contact center managers to modify reports without the need for expensive IT investments. And it drives the agents to make accurate business decisions quicker than ever before.

2) Extracting social media intelligence

Imagine a world in which encouraging your agents to be on social media actually improves their productivity. Well, that world is very much a reality. Social customer care is no longer a new concept. It is a part of the omnichannel experience that is in high-demand. The average customer in the market is a social being. More so, digitally. Embracing social media tools is not just a burgeoning facet of customer engagement; one that can keep your agents abreast of the latest interaction technologies in the industry. Studies have shown that it also improves collaboration, enhances communication and eggs agents to identify with the brand on social media. And it results in boosting the morale of agents, who in turn, go the extra mile to satisfy their customers.


3) Harness contact center analytics from within

World-class contact centers analyze customer feedback across multi-channel interactions to formulate proactive and future-proofed customer experience strategies. Interactions within the contact center ecology remain the most critical part of customer journeys. And today, it is possible to tell how the customer got there or what he/she may have in mind. By applying analytics to interactions, the agent is already prepared before answering the phone or replying to a text message or a tweet. They are able to learn from every interaction, and thereby, strengthen their own understanding of customer demands, and how to go about meeting them. Providing this level of empowerment through intelligent analytics will go a long way to improving customer retention, as well as reducing agent attrition.

4) Quality management never goes out of style

Inspirational speakers also tom-tom about how “Knowledge is power”. It rings true in the case of workforce optimization. A sound quality management process is both the parking lot and the penthouse to the foundation of customer support service. With a proper quality management tool in place, contact center supervisors will have both a bird’s eye view and a ground-level perspective on the inner functioning of their support teams. It gives them the capability to review every voice/email/chat/social media interaction while helping them score the results against industry standards. This makes sure that agents receive both positive and constructive performance feedback. In turn, the agents can also interact with the tool, and add their feedback to bring about a fair and accurate scoring system. And makes them feel more capable of doing their job right, in a collaborative fashion – each and every time.

These days, workforce optimization features in best-in-class solutions have become more adaptive than ever before. They are allowing contact centers to pinpoint agent behaviors while playing to their strengths and weaknesses to predict optimal performance. As technology evolves, so will the impact that WFO has on overall customer experience. Because, at the end of the day, happy agents lead to happy customers. And as the wise old men, and ancient proverbs dictate, sometimes “the only (customer) journey is the one within”.

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