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Contact center managers looking to position their organizations ahead of the competition know that optimizing their workforce is key. Workforce optimization strategies such as quality management (QM) and workforce management (WFM) increase operational efficiency, strengthen agent performance and lead to best-in-class customer experience. Read on to learn how.
Today’s contact center managers are grappling with meeting customer service KPIs, transitioning to remote work and maintaining agent engagement from a distance. While workforce optimization solutions have been implemented for a number of years, current conditions have elevated QM and WFM from additional, to essential tools.
The upheaval the world has experienced due to COVID-19 has thrown established playbooks out the window. The health risks have drastically altered how businesses operate, with Forrester data showing 50% of people are afraid to go to work. Though the global pandemic will come to an end, new ways of working may not. A Gartner survey reveals that 82% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely part of their time. It is therefore vital that contact center managers have workforce optimization systems in place to succeed in a new reality.
As companies increasingly transition to remote work, contact center managers are looking for ways to provide the assistance agents need from afar. Dedicated support is delivered through quality management solutions integrated into Contact Center as a Service solutions that make agents’ work easier and more transparent. QM programs provide numerous ways to augment agent performance, including:
Above all, QM solutions enable agents to be proactive. Agents are encouraged to seek help from managers and liaise with colleagues via an ergonomic tool that streamlines communication. Insightful feedback on agents’ strengths and areas for improvement can be conveyed practically and constructively. Not only will this create a culture of continuous improvement, but agents will be gratified to know that their managers take an active interest in their professional development.
In achieving workforce optimization, it is essential for contact center managers to clarify company goals, instill an open culture dedicated to quality, quickly identify any shortcomings in customer service, align processes with agent expectations and encourage agent participation. All of this becomes easily manageable with the help of QM solutions.
Workforce management solutions could take a variety of forms, as industries need tailor-made strategies that take into account sector-specific requirements, though all should place agent engagement front and center. Broadly speaking, when integrated into CCaaS solutions, WFM systems maximize agent effectiveness by enabling projections of incoming call volumes and scheduling agents according to skills and needs. Gartner highlights several common features, including:
The proven benefits of WFM are undeniable, which explains why organizations across sectors are integrating it into their agent consoles as part of their workforce optimization strategies. Time management and scheduling are the primary beneficiaries of WFM solutions, with analysis of various workforce management applications indicating 2023 revenue levels of:
Beyond the increased workforce optimization WFM solutions deliver to contact centers, their impact on agent satisfaction is an important advantage. Why? Through empowerment. Agents’ work is organized in shifts, so by giving them opportunities to swap and bid for shifts, they will be able to organize their work according to personal needs.
Having this autonomy and flexibility has never been more important, with agents working remotely and juggling familial duties and professional careers. By increasing agent engagement and giving them a voice in their schedules, contact center managers can increase their morale, foster a sense of fairness and achieve more transparency.
Workforce optimization should not just be viewed as a means to reduce costs and improve operations. The real value comes from the improved agent experience (AX) that workforce optimization accomplishes. Fully engaged agents who enjoy their roles and feel recognized by their organization are far more likely to become true brand ambassadors. In this way, contact center managers can achieve a symmetry of attention, a principle which argues that to achieve great customer experience, contact centers first have to raise agent experience.
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