I once met a contact center manager who was fascinated with the concept of workforce optimization (WFO). I asked if her company took the basic WFO step of recording calls. She assured me they did. Each agent had a handheld tape recorder by their phone, and all the resulting mini-cassettes were stored in a wall unit in her office so she could search through them when she needed to find a call.
Hard to believe? It’s a true story, but I sincerely hope they changed their approach. If not, it’s likely their competitors have left that company far behind.
Of course, workforce optimization is not just recording. WFO is the practice of monitoring employees with a view to improving efficiency. For contact centers, this generally means WFO applications (or an integrated WFO platform) for interaction recording, live monitoring, quality management (QM) and coaching, analytics, workforce management, or some combination of these. After 12+ years in the industry, I believe WFO is no longer optional. Here are five reasons why:
The Customer Is King (Or Queen)
Today’s customer has more choices than ever, both in where they do business and how they communicate. WFO can monitor multiple communication channels, helping you transform experiences in ways that keep customers coming back.
Customer Interactions Are Informational Gold
Ever wish you could talk to each of your customers, find out what they’re thinking, and use that information to drive your business? Surprise! Those conversations happen daily in your contact center. WFO can bubble that information to the surface and give you a competitive advantage in service, product development, marketing and more.
WFO Improves Agent Retention
Good agents want to develop the specific skills they need to succeed. Surveys show that “lack of training” is a key reason for agent attrition. On the flip side, many centers struggle with supervisors whose workload makes such targeted training impractical. WFO can address this by automatically pointing agents toward individualized e-learning and similar resources based on QM scores.
Process Inefficiencies Kill Your Bottom Line
In many centers, it’s the “secret” everyone knows—that one procedure which bogs everything down, but no one seems willing to fix. The foundation of workforce optimization is recording of agent phone and desktop activity. These recordings can provide the concrete, tangible evidence you need to identify and correct process inefficiencies once and for all.
Everyone Else Is Doing It
Sometimes peer pressure is a good thing. What happened to businesses that thought the telephone was a fad? Companies that wanted to wait and see if the internet caught on before developing a website? Organizations that said it didn’t matter what customers posted on social media because no one took it seriously? Viewing WFO as optional can put you in the same boat.
The evidence is clear: WFO is a key foundation technology for contact centers in the years to come… and the smart contact center is building on that foundation today.