Constantly evolving, contact centers have seen significant growth over the years and have become the ultimate hub of all customer interactions. While the adage, 'the customer is king' still holds true, we often forget to keep our employees (the agents who run the contact center) happy. Because it’s a simple equation, happy and satisfied employees result in happy customers. This is where Workforce Optimization (WFO) plays a crucial role.

The workforce optimization (WFO) solution in a contact center is the console that oversees the performance of the contact center unit. Think of the contact center like a rocket ship. The infrastructure includes - the framework, propulsion system, engine, thrusters, boosters, the orbiter, and of course, the fuel. This is all plugged into and controlled by a large console which is the most important tool. Similarly, WFO is the secret solution that most contact centers use to function in a smooth manner and reduce any disruptions.

"By 2018 about 70% of organizations having 300+ agents will invest in workforce optimization tools in their next round of technology investments"
Gartner

What is Workforce Optimization (WFO)?

Contact centers are always in a tough spot because they need to navigate through complex gateways to bring people, process and technology together.

Typically, a workforce optimization suite has tools for workforce management, quality monitoring, speech and survey analytics, performance management and actionable insights. These insights provide the direction and guidance to overcome challenges.

In the recent years, given the changing role of technology in bridging the gap between brands and their customers, new expectations are being set for workforce optimization including achieving compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard. Organizational WFO goals have shifted from being solely focused on operational efficiency to playing a critical role leading to better customer care.

So here are four strategies that can help your enterprise strike a balance between agent productivity and superior customer experience.

Workforce Optimization strategies

1) The art of self-utilization

While every enterprise attempts to maximize the efficiency of a company's employees, given the increasing work that comes in, micro-managing each employee’s daily task is a challenge. 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.

As workforce management solutions offer KPI dashboards and reports available through agent portals, agents will be able to manage their own performance, with strategic management inputs. Intuitive workforce optimization 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) Harness contact center analytics from within

With a rapid growth in customer data, advanced forms of decision-making and analytics have made it to the forefront. 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 still 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.

How to become awesome at Contact Center Analytics? | Servion Watch Video

3) Quality management never goes out of style

Inspirational speakers 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, agents can also interact with the tool, and add their feedback to bring about a fair and accurate scoring system. This will make them feel more capable of doing their job right, in a collaborative fashion – each and every time.

4) Extracting social media intelligence

When social media was first launched, it was all about tracking old connections and sharing stories. Now, the average customer in the market is a social being. More so, digitally, as every like, share, comment or status, is valuable information for enterprises.

And that is why social customer care has become a concept of the present where agents are encouraged to be on social media to improve their productivity (if the role demands it). It is a part of the omni-channel experience that is in high-demand. 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. It also results in boosting the morale of agents, who in turn, go the extra mile to satisfy their customers. Thus, playing an important in improving customer retention and reducing agent attrition.

"The adoption of WFO software has steadily increased in the past three years"
Gartner, Workforce Engagement Management Report

Benefits of implementing workforce optimization

WFO is the contact center’s answer to improving efficiency. It unlocks the potentials of agents and managers by inspiring self-improvement and strengthening quality management efforts. These tools don’t just help them do their job but enhance customer experience.

Here’s how implementing a WFO tool can skyrocket your business:

  • Increase customer retention
  • Transform contact center into an experience center
  • Increase agent engagement and retention
  • Deliver superior agent and customer experience
  • Increased workforce efficiency
  • Reduce costs and save time
  • Discover root cause and full understanding of customer behavior through the journey
  • Improved accuracy
  • Receive valuable insights

Today, workforce optimization has become a necessity. As a key foundation technology, it features best-in-class solutions and 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. But at the end of the day, it should be seen as investment made for your agents, because they are the reasons your customers will keep coming back to you for business. And as the wise old men, and ancient proverbs dictate, sometimes “the only (customer) journey is the one within”.

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