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April 09, 2013

Improving Your Customer Strategy with Workforce Optimization


 This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of CUSTOMER Magazine.

Workforce optimization isn’t entirely new to the contact center industry. Yet many centers are still trying to figure out what technologies they need for a WFO solution, and exactly how a WFO approach fits in to their customer service strategies. These same contact centers also want to know what the true benefits of WFO are. The questions about WFO and its value are reasonable ones to ask, and in their Q&A-based whitepaper on the topic, two industry authorities answer them.

Here are some of those key questions and tresponses from Donna Fluss, founder and president of DMG Consulting, and Brandon Rowe, solutions marketing manager of Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert).

Q: What is a workforce optimization suite and what does it do?

Fluss: WFO suites are sophisticated solutions that include up to 10 distinct modules or applications. In all, these modules are recording, quality assurance/management, workforce management, agent coaching, e-learning, customer feedback surveying, performance management, speech analytics, desktop analytics, and text analytics. All of these applications are management-oriented and are intended to help improve contact center performance. A WFO vendor can develop the individual modules internally, obtain them through acquisition, or offer them as a partner-provided solution. WFO suite providers typically offer a base set of standard applications, such as recording and quality assurance, and then offer additional modules as optional add-ons. A major differentiator between vendor suites is the level of integration between the various modules. All WFO vendors claim that their suites are fully integrated. This is not the case, although it is a goal, since there’s great potential for synergy and data sharing between the various suite modules.

Q: Of all the WFO modules and analytics solutions, which ones should we start with? (And why?)

Fluss: The two fundamental applications in WFO suites are recording and quality assurance. Call or screen recording is necessary to perform quality assurance and historical speech or text analytics. Recording is also a helpful feed into the coaching process, although it isn’t necessary. Especially for sales organizations or groups that process credit/debit card transactions, but that don’t have a recording solution in place, DMG recommends consulting with their legal department to decide if a recording solution is advisable to reduce liability risk.

Quality assurance is the second cornerstone of WFO suites, and is often the primary input into the coaching process. If your contact center already has recording and plans to purchase just one other application, we recommend that it be a speech analytics-enabled quality assurance application, Such an app gives organizations substantial input into the quality and performance of their staff. And even if you already have a QA application, consider upgrading to a speech analytics-enabled one, which is much more productive and effective for quality assurance initiatives.

Lastly, any organization that meets the criteria above, and that doesn’t have a workforce management application, may want to consider purchasing a WFM solution. WFM can help reduce staff-related expenses and improve customer service quality by better matching callers’ needs to agents’ skills. Beyond recording, QA, and WFM, choosing additional applications really depends on what you want to accomplish, such as gauging customer sentiment with customer feedback surveying.

Q: What business benefits can be achieved through a workforce optimization solution?

Rowe: As more industries become commoditized and new entrants continue to enter a market, companies are using service as a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors. And since a contact center is usually a customer’s first introduction to a company, the contact center must make sure to have all the tools in place to be successful. WFO helps organizations to examine the health of their contact center and discover issues that could impact their business in both the short and long term.

A WFO suite can provide managers with insight into their contact center, and present a clear window into how their agents are performing and how customers view the business and its service. Managers use various WFO applications to look at a contact center’s operational structure and analyze everything from customer feedback survey results to speech analytics trends and multichannel interactions. WFO apps also allow managers to ensure the proper scheduling and forecasting of agents.

These and other WFO applications help in identifying red flags such as an agent being out of adherence, or picking up on new trends being spotted through speech analytics. As a result, managers can use the information to make sure that agents are in place to handle any situation that can come up. In improving a customer strategy, the WFO approach can lead to better efficiency, improved productivity and increased service levels.

Download the complete whitepaper to learn more:

Improving Your Customer Strategy with Workforce Optimization

Visit | www.inin.com/whitepapers




Edited by Stefania Viscusi


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