WFO – Simple as ABC

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WFO ABCs cloud vs premiseAs technology evolves in the contact industry, so too will the number of acronyms included within its enormous catalog of abbreviations. For anyone new to the contact center industry, these acronyms can seem overwhelming and maybe even oddly unnecessary. From AHT, ATT and ASA to SL, PTO, VTO and ACW these acronyms are not only important, but in some cases can represent the primary target of an entire operation.

What is WFO?

WFO (workforce optimization), generally refers to solutions that allow a contact center to improve the quality and/or efficiency of their workforce. When deciding what WFO solution you need to best fit the needs of your organization, consider an offering that includes the following components:

  • Quality Management (QM)
  • Call Recording (CR)
  • Screen Capture
  • Coaching and eLearning
  • Speech Analytics
  • Workforce Management (WFM)
  • Surveys
  • Reporting
  • Workforce Intelligence (WFI)

WFO Solution Considerations

When it comes to WFO the biggest solution isn’t always the best for every scenario. “Fit” matters. Fit simply means, that your chosen solution meets your needs and, at the same time, does not require you to pay for features you won’t use. You should also consider a solution that is scalable as your operation evolves and grows. Thinking in this way will maximize your ROI.

Solutions that solve more than one problem will clearly improve your operation. Features like automated communication between each WFO component is an offering that all centers can benefit from, regardless of size. For example, if you’re working in the QM tool and you need to schedule an agent coaching session, you shouldn’t be required to leave the QM interface.

Providing the ability for the Quality Team to schedule an agent coaching session, and a follow-up session at the same time the contact is reviewed, improves the efficiency of the entire operation. It seamlessly notifies the agent of the scheduled session, makes note of the activity in the WFM side of house and ensures that the Supervisor (Coach) is made aware of the coaching session.

This type of interaction between each component is a market differentiator and is well worth the investment. Look for a solution that exceeds your expectations, not your budget.

Cloud vs Premise, what’s better?

There are benefits to both cloud and premise based solutions. Deciding which solution is right for you depend on your needs, budget and existing hardware/software.

Cloud allows for rapid deployment, lower ongoing costs, quick and easy scalability and ensures you’re on the most up to date version without additional costs. Additionally, your data is managed in the cloud securely, protecting all of the information inside. Cloud solutions are customizable and can be configured to meet the needs of small, mid-market, and enterprise organizations.

Premise solutions provide complete control over all aspects of the software in addition to the security of the data collected by the software. Depending on your situation this kind of control can be desirable if you already have or are comfortable with investing in the necessary hardware and secondary software needed to handle a premise solution. Although, premise solutions require a manual upgrade process which means you can stay on an old version indefinitely (or until it becomes obsolete), but this also means that you may not be on the most up-to-date version of a product.

Installation Timing

While budget may dictate when a solution is implemented, in general it’s best to implement a few months prior to any peak periods of your operation. Aside from some of the obvious reasons, realize that the largest benefit of the software is during those peak periods when your team is stretched thin. Additionally, implementing with enough lead time prior to your peak period will allow your team to use and become comfortable with the tools for maximum benefit.

Do I really need WFO?

The short answer is, “yeah, probably.” If your operation is an in-house (client side) center then it’s likely that your hardware is dated or developed by an in-house team.  I’ve never heard of an in-house development team that can build something to rival the significant benefits of a well-designed WFO solution. If you have dated hardware and you don’t have a large budget to update everything a cloud solution would allow you to improve your contact center without taking on large upfront investments. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is the best way to obtain leading technology without incurring a CAPEX type of investment.

Always remember that the features and capabilities of a solid WFO solution, and the expertise of the company that builds it, should exceed your expectations. With the right WFO solution partner, you can significantly improve your operation now and well into the future.