Workforce Optimization Helps The SMB Market Thrive
March 13, 2008
It's not a secret that the call center industry is a mature industry. That said, it doesn't mean there isn't strong growth potential. The systems and services that support the contact center industry are, after all, reliant on technology, and technology is ever-evolving. Two hot areas for contact center growth right now are technologies delivered via software-as-a-service, and the other is sophisticated contact center technologies customized for the needs of smaller companies.
Workforce optimization solutions provider Verint (News - Alert) Witness Actionable Solutions recently announced a solution that allows small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to gain the benefits enjoyed by larger companies when it comes to capturing customer intelligence and maximizing workforce performance to better manage the balance between optimizing operating costs and ensuring high-caliber customer experiences. I had a chance to speak with Kristyn Emenecker, Principal Consultant Solutions Marketing for Verint Witness Actionable Solutions, about the "SMB-friendly" announcement.
TS: How are the needs of smaller businesses differentthan larger companies when it comes to workforce optimization? What features are more important to them?
KE: Today’s contact centers face the challenge of meeting customer expectations while controlling operating costs and making the best use of their resources. While centers of all sizes often struggle with this challenge, it can be particularly difficult in smaller centers, where a single agent can impact performance and customer satisfaction.
We understand that smaller contact centers can have unique needs and constraints, and Impact 360 Express is designed with simplicity in mind for that very reason. Its intuitive interface can help contact center staff become more productive right away, while built-in health monitoring tools and auto diagnostics can streamline management and minimize maintenance. The solution doesn’t require expensive hardware, middleware, or desktop applications; it can be up and running quickly.
Impact 360 Express is designed to accommodate traditional time-division multiplex (TDM), Internet protocol (IP), and mixed telephony environments. The solution is fully scalable, so users can select just those capabilities they require today and add functionality as operations grow.
TS: When smaller businesses buy workforce optimization, what kinds of systems are they replacing?
KE: As SMBs start making an investment in workforce optimization, they tend to implement individual components or “pieces” of the workforce optimization puzzle. They may be replacing older technology for recording, for example, and sometimes quality monitoring (QM) or even workforce management. We have been hearing their frustrations with managing separate vendors, along with the separate support numbers and maintenance contracts that also go along with implementing individual solutions. Even further, smaller organizations continue to be challenged with the many manual processes involved in tying these processes together – for example, finding a call to evaluate for QM or taking QM results and “closing the loop” by ensuring training follow-up. Typically, contact center staff needs to wear more hats in a smaller business to successfully manage demand. These teams could certainly use more actionable information and less manual process.
TS: Where does the biggest ROI come into play for SMBs with workforce optimization?
KE: With Impact 360 Express, SMBs can benefit from some of the very same functionality, performance and productivity gains as large, multi-site, distributed enterprises. As a matter of fact, with the hectic pace and tight budgets many leaders in smaller contact centers face, one could argue there is no one who needs tools to assist with efficiency and productivity more. Impact 360 Express can help equip SMBs and their contact center operations to understand trends, spot potential problems and proactively address them. The solution also enables companies to streamline business processes, satisfy compliance and regulatory requirements, better manage disputes and minimize losses; and help deliver world-class customer experiences. Further, organizations can leverage the solution to help simplify forecasting and scheduling, while also providing eLearning capabilities.
TS: If a smaller company invests in Impact 360 Express and then finds itself growing rapidly, how can it scale up?
KE: Impact 360 Express is a fully scalable solution, allowing companies to select specific capabilities for use in their contact center today with the flexibility to add additional functionality as their needs change and operations grow. Its intuitive interface enables increased productivity among agents, while also leveraging monitoring tools to streamline management and minimize maintenance. The solution can be implemented quickly and easily, without expensive hardware, middleware or desktop applications.
Once the need for distributed enterprise architecture manifests, employees familiar with Impact 360 Express will find the training requirements associated with a step up to the enterprise version minimal. They’ll be familiar with the screen navigation out of the gate, keep all of the same features they know and use every day, and add on new ones that can assist them in managing their growing enterprise.
What’s more, the Verint Impact Services team is available every step of the way to assist in managing that growth and optimizing the technology while also learning to maintain the right processes. Further, companies will learn to “operationalize” the powerful functionality they add in conjunction with what they’re already doing to keep their growing business performing its best.
TS: What is the average implementation for a smaller company? How fast can it be up and running with the solution?
KE: Small businesses can expect an average implementation to take approximately two to five days. This may vary and depends on what they have selected as part of their deployment.
TS: Thank you for your time.
Tracey Schelmetic is editorial director for CUSTOMER INTER@CTION Solutions. For more articles please visit Tracey Schelmetic’s columnist page.