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Building and managing a high-performing workforce in an increasingly digital world can be challenging — but not impossible. When tools and capabilities are seamlessly connected, businesses are fully equipped for success. And they’re ready to effectively execute workforce planning, control costs, and ensure employee and customer satisfaction.
Businesses need to ensure that customers can connect with them anytime, anywhere, through their channel of choice, to achieve an excellent customer experience, generate value and grow the business.
With the rise of multichannel communication, contact centers must handle a huge problem inherent in the amount of data generated, face the difficulty of ensuring service provision, secure a highly trained and multi-skilled digital workforce, and handle every integration with quality while protecting privacy. They also need to adhere to laws and regulations — all without increasing costs.
The contact center is already a challenging work environment characterized by absenteeism, high turnover rates, ineffective procedures, repetitive tasks, complicated tools and processes, and long working hours. With the new workforce paradigm, the status quo is under pressure; traditional workforce optimization is no longer valid.
Add to that shifting employee expectations. In recent years, employees expect more flexibility in their schedules — and they want to develop skills and experience professional growth. According to the Genesys report, “Human values: The operating system for a high-performing contact center,” learning new skills (38%) and new technologies (23%) are what high-performing contact center agents globally say they enjoy most about working in a contact center.
Companies need to be confident that they can scale, as needed, with the properly skilled workforce to retain staff, decrease burnout and, ultimately, efficiently meet customer expectations.
A good omnichannel workforce planning strategy can help improve overall customer and employee experiences, reduce employee turnover and lower costs. Here’s how.
Improving customer experience (CX) is a critical part of any business strategy. From a tactical perspective, this is where you meet SLAs and performance KPIs across touchpoints and channels. To achieve this, organizations need to have the right people with the right skills to handle interactions — at the right times.
Modern contact centers have outgrown traditional, manually built skill- and queue-based routing methods. Misrouted interactions increase unplanned overtime costs, the number of call transfers and average handle times.
However, having a workforce engagement management (WEM) system that’s integrated into the contact center platform and routing engine allows managers to consult the workforce schedule in real time — and adjust according to availability, skills and channels.
This means interactions won’t be routed to employees who aren’t scheduled or who aren’t prepared to address specific inquiries through a determined channel, which saves on unplanned overtime costs. By having the right skills and proper training, employees have enough time to complete the task within the established time.
Plan and execute employee experience (EX) and routing strategies using artificial intelligence (AI)-powered processes for automated workflows to connect customer history and needs with real-time and historic interaction data. AI-powered forecasting and an innovative scheduling approach deliver true flexibility to answer workforce needs and accurately staff across channels. This means employees efficiently respond to customer inquiries and can more easily handle everyday variability.
It’s important to ensure employees are doing what they’re supposed to be doing when they’re supposed to be doing it. Using an integrated Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS), routing and WEM solution allows supervisors to “nudge” employee behaviors toward business goals.
Having an all-in-one solution provides schedule-based routing, which means task transitions are managed automatically. The management team controls task distribution logic on the same platform where agents handle the interactions.
Furthermore, by connecting schedules, interactions and performance information that’s gamified, ongoing two-way communication is enabled and simplified. This means granting access to supervisors and employees in real time to metrics such as adherence, average handle time and transfer ratio metrics. Employees are empowered across job roles, providing visibility into what they should be doing and taking control and responsibility for their actions. They get consolidated insights about performance and actionable recommendations to improve and excel at their jobs.
Increasing employee engagement and satisfaction and reducing employee turnover are critically important. Ensuring employees receive the right training and are connected with the proper customer can relieve stress. Providing ongoing opportunities for skills and productivity improvements keeps employees motivated and engaged.
Preventing burnout or general dissatisfaction is much less expensive than attrition — and it’s less disruptive to customers. Recent research estimates that it costs $10,000–$20,000 to replace a call center agent. With the right tools, businesses can offer employees the flexibility and growth opportunities they want — without impacting customer engagement goals.
To reduce technology fatigue, employees need access to an easy-to-use tool to manage interactions, schedules and development. This also can be a big time-saver — especially if done through an integrated, agent-oriented solution.
Giving employees a tool to easily manage any interaction type and adding coaching functionalities that support their work makes them feel more engaged in their daily tasks. And businesses can maintain consistency and attain employees and organizational objectives.
Providing clarity on various assigned activities helps employees find the right balance between tasks and business objectives. It gives them the flexibility they want and the ability to manage their schedules. And, when these capabilities are combined with a set of tools for employee development, organizations empower employees to reach their full potential.
In addition, by viewing schedules on their mobile devices, employees can communicate unforeseen situations while on the go, ensuring supervisors can respond timely to changes without affecting customers or employees.
According to Dimension Data, nearly one-third (31.5%) of organizations don’t have a formally defined channel management strategy. And only 11% are focused on implementing a full omnichannel strategy. But as competitive pressures increase, it’s critical to modernize your contact center so your team can continue to meet these increasing demands.
You need to build an experience that’s true to your business across each channel, catering to the specific audiences that want to interact with you on each one. A WEM tool integrated into the CCaaS and routing solution helps reduce unnecessary overtime, as employees will only receive work if they have time to complete it. Plus, reducing misrouted interactions and work items relieves employee stress.
In addition, companies need to consider the new work paradigm and the variety in the workforce, regardless of location or generational working styles. Remote and hybrid work are quickly becoming the new normal for organizations of all sizes. And a robust WEM tool enables supervisors to navigate a team that’s spread across a city, country or world.
Driving operational efficiency is a consistent goal of any well-run contact center. Through integration and automation, businesses can centralize control, reduce costs and enable processes and employees to be more efficient.
Executing skills and schedule updates in one place can dramatically reduce the time and costs associated with manually making daily changes. In addition, organizations have a wealth of accessible data when channels, WEM systems and routing engines are built to work together.
From a more technical standpoint, an all-in-one solution unifies the administration of users and skills while providing a single source of cross-channel insight into staff and business performance metrics. The automated use of historical data makes it possible to have greater accuracy in omnichannel forecasting, making it easier to manage workforce planning at the right levels across channels and time. Managers can also define service levels based on business rules and gather required statistics for all channels automatically.
Our increasingly digital world presents plenty of challenges.
Improve customer experiences, enhance employee experiences and grow your business. To learn more, read “A practical guide to modern workforce engagement” and get insights into how to give your contact center employees the tools and skills they need to succeed.