Supercharging Your CX Efforts with WFO

The explosion of channels for customer interactions with or about companies has made the life of many contact center professionals more complex. Today's customers can email, chat via the web, text message, video chat, or converse over numerous social channels. Customers have become exposed to rapid responses from new and innovative service providers and have come to project these expectations onto all other companies they encounter.

As these channels have exploded, so have the approaches to facilitate and manage the experiences customers receive as they use these various channels in their purchase or support journeys. Net Promoter Scoring, customer journey mapping, and customer effort scoring are just some of the attempts to help companies identify, manage, and improve the experiences they deliver across channels and over time. This desire to manage the customer experience has driven the omnichannel programs. Within the digital transformation projects taking place, companies are realizing that to manage the customer experience across the journeys, the channel must be aware of each other and share context from one to another. Omnichannel context sharing becomes more critical with the increasing use of self-service channels. Why is that? Well, customers might have to escalate an interaction from self to assisted service, and having the context stay with the interaction can help the agent more quickly understand what is being requested and what has been attempted so far and allows the agent to more quickly provide the correct response.

So, if context across channels and along the customer journey are so helpful, what other topics are emerging in customer experience to supercharge improvement? One of the most exciting is the re-emergence of workforce optimization (WFO). Long a key component of very large or highly regulated contact centers, with the advent of cloud computing, more organizations are realizing the benefits and potential ROI of WFO capabilities.

The combination of quality management and workforce management into a WFO solution provides the following:

  • Capture of customer interactions (both voice and non-voice);
  • Knowledge-mining of call content;
  • Real-time speech analytics with escalation capabilities;
  • Integrated performance management along with coaching and eLearning;
  • Desktop analytics for regulatory compliance; and
  • Streamlined workforce forecasting and scheduling.

Having a combined contact center and WFO capability on a single platform can deliver significant value to across several areas. Let's explore the top five areas where a combined contact center-as-a-service and WFO strategy can have the most impact.

  1. Improve Customer Experience: Success in the contact center as well as the overall business is measured and determined by customer satisfaction levels. Higher satisfaction translates into higher spending frequency, lower propensity to churn, and improved share of wallet. Having an integrated contact center and WFO solution can deliver valuable insights into customer responses to automated and agent-assisted services, allowing for process changes, agent training, and real-time feedback to positively impact the customer experience.
  2. Drive Business Growth: Enable best practice operations, foster efficiency, effectiveness, profitability, and success. Mining recorded interactions uncovers intelligence for competitive advantage and better ways to meet customer needs. Develop the best strategies and learn the most effective language to win more business or more quickly service customers. Satisfied customers drive sustained success.
  3. Mitigate Risks and Ensure Compliance: Recording customer interactions with WFO call recording software supports legal defense, mitigates liability risk, and satisfies policy/regulation compliance requirements for the Payment Card Industry's Data Security Standards, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, the Federal Information Processing Standard, and other regulatory requirements. Make sure the WFO solution provides the industry's strongest encryption for both audio and screen recordings and effortlessly enables automatic pause and resume when sensitive data is conveyed. Agents only have access to content for which they are authorized through remarkably granular permissions-based access.
  4. Accelerate Performance: Call recording, screen capture, and quality monitoring provide a clear view of customer interactions. Adherence to best practices ensures regulatory compliance. Analytics uncover insights and bottlenecks to streamline work so staff can respond more quickly and appropriately. All of these approaches can accelerate adoption, reduce the time-to-benefit, and continue to deliver performance improvements, even as your organization grows and changes.
  5. Elevate Employee Satisfaction: WFO software optimizes staffing schedules so skilled agents are ready for customer questions and prepared to resolve issues quickly. Empowering and motivating employees with self-service schedule requests and gamification features that reward performance improves overall morale, reduces staff churn, and lowers costs. Providing fair and accurate agent evaluations, easy-to-consume, on-demand training and supervisor intervention with disruptive or abusive customers show agents that the company values them and wants to retain them and improve their skills. Having satisfied, engaged, and happy agents forms the basis for all of the benefits derived by the company.

Forward-looking companies focused on improving the customer experience realize that the most important key to unlocking happy customers is happier employees. Placing a focus on the capabilities of WFO as a fundamental aspect in an overall customer experience or digital transformation effort can deliver significant benefits to employees, customers, and businesses. Happier employees can deliver improved service in just their tone; happier employees want to stay with their employer and will recommend the right kinds of people to come work for the company; happier employees will go above and beyond to take care of customers, even when it's not directly their responsibility. Investing in WFO and in employees pays off in many ways, some directly operational. Externally, the impact to the customer experience is becoming more highly recognized. As you lay out your CX or digital transformation strategies, be sure to consider your most valuable resource, your agents. Happier agents will translate into improved customer experiences, higher retention rates (for both customers and agents), higher compliance levels, and accelerated performance and business growth.

Matt Despain is vice president of product management at Serenova. His background includes five years at a leading contact center-as-a-service vendor and three years in the business process outsourcing space at Concentrix.