WFO Outlook: Trends and Opportunities in WFO

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Jane Hendricks, Sr. Manager Product MarketingIn its early days, WFO was traditionally a means of managing labor costs which mind you, is still a very important and a major benefit of WFO to the contact center. However, the market is moving away from treating the contact center as purely cost center. As organizations strive to differentiate from their competitors based on the customer experience they deliver, WFO’s value shifts from being a way of controlling the number of people needed, to being a solution that can help an organization grow customer value and build loyalty with every customer interaction.

As the nature of interaction gets more complex, there is an increasing reliance on experts that within the enterprise – those human resources that have the knowledge to fulfill a customer request or address a question that the customer was not able to answer through the many self-service channels already available (web, social, discussion boards, etc.) This means that the discipline of WFO – ensuring that the right person is there and can meet customer needs – will need to expand beyond the contact center.

At the same time, the traditional call center is transforming into a true contact center where interactions are not bound by voice alone but may span multiple channels and multiple work types. WFO technologies need to adapt to better address these more flexible work streams and processes. So as the contact center becomes more integrated into the overall strategy of the enterprise, managers and supervisors are called on to do more high value, strategic tasks and cannot afford to be mired in traditional, manual administration minutia.

To accommodate this growth, employee self-service tools become increasingly important to provide employees with the empowerment over their own work without compromising service delivery. These tools also free supervisors and managers from mundane, manual administrative tasks. They are also more and more valuable as home-based agents/remote-agents become a go-to resource which helps create a better, more empowering environment for all agents. The amount of turnover within the contact center remains significant – even within this economy – and creating a more empowering environment can help an organization retain its agents and avoid the costs of turnover.

With the expansion of the contact center, data management becomes an even greater challenge. Advanced analytics is one way organizations can synthesize the amount of data that is captured from interactions and link it to business results. Revenue generation and customer retention are just a couple of functional areas looking to their contact center as a strategic asset for their customer service strategy. Analytics are moving from siloed environments and disciplines – i.e. performance separated from quality, and both separated from speech and text – to an analytical approach that can cut across the siloes and present a single, actionable view into customers and the resources who serve them.

The principles and technologies of WFO are increasingly adopted outside the contact center – specifically in back office functions that are adjacent to the contact center and where customer requests are fulfilled. As interactions become more complex and there is an increased drive for making sure that customer need is met right – the first time – organizations are looking to harness the discipline and customer-centric approach of the contact center across all resources that are part of the customer service delivery.

In part two of the WFO Outlook, I’ll talk about the Do’s and Don’ts of WFO Optimization.