When I started my career as a call center agent over 15 years ago, Workforce Optimization (WFO) solutions were still in an embryonic stage. Forecasting was based on a few simple models sitting in a spreadsheet. Coaching sessions meant I had someone sitting next to me with an extra headset plugged in to my phone, listening to my customer conversations. I call this “WFO 1.0.”
WFO solutions have come a long way since then. Today, workforce management and quality management solutions are integrated and call recording is typically done centrally. Balanced scorecards are commonplace and more and more contact centers are using sophisticated speech analytics engines to scale up their quality management efforts. Today’s solutions represent what I’ll refer to as “WFO 2.0.”
As WFO solutions become more and more powerful, the industry and analysts have defined WFO as a growing set of products and technologies. As you are reading this blog, we are on the verge of radical change in the way we view WFO solutions and it’s helping companies manage the customer experience and the performance of their people more than ever before. In my view, it is time for “WFO 3.0!”
WFO 3.0 differs from its predecessors by truly optimizing the following two dimensions:
1. Work Distribution: The way work is delivered to your people
2. Workforce Optimization: The way these people handle the work once it’s delivered
You might think that this is not new and you have been working on this for years. That may be correct, but WFO 3.0 integrates both efforts from a technology perspective, which is critical to success:
Let’s take a closer look at how workforce optimization and work distribution function together.
When an interaction or work item needs to be managed, the work distribution engine receives, assesses and distributes the interaction to the best-skilled available resource. During the day, business rules can be adapted to the current situation to ensure service and quality levels are met. On a regular and increasingly frequent basis, performance is evaluated and changes to the distribution logic are made.
When it comes to workforce optimization, each employee is trained and scheduled. From there, they receive interactions based on the same skill set definition that the work distribution engine uses. Based on service quality measurements and knowledge assessments, employee skills are updated and the scheduling logic and work distribution engine factor in these newly acquired skills immediately.
To make such a model work, the work distribution engine and the workforce optimization solution need to be tightly integrated, coming from one vendor who has already done the integration of both contact center infrastructure and WFO for you.
What does WFO 3.0 mean for you?
Well, the functional benefits of WFO 3.0 are almost endless, but here are three examples:
1. Real-Time Changes – Employees only receive the type of work they are scheduled to handle. If, for whatever reason, an employee needs to handle a different type of work, a simple change in the schedule will do the trick. You do not have to ask IT to change the ACD or ask an employee to log out of one queue and log in to another.
2. Automated Schedule Adherence – When the average handle time for a work item is 8 minutes, and an available employee’s break starts within 2 minutes, the work distribution engine will automatically select another available agent. The benefit is that you stick to the schedule that you started out with and no longer change the rules during the game.
3. Continuous Improvement – Based on detection of pre-defined phrases (‘I want to speak to your supervisor’ or ‘I can offer you this product for free’) speech analytics can trigger an action immediately. You can revoke a skill if an agent violates compliance rules or route an e-learning module directly to their desktop using the same work distribution engine you use for all other work types.
At Genesys we call this new way of optimizing your customer service operation Continuous Workforce Optimization. If you’d like to learn more, check out this recent webinar, ‘1-to-1 Customer Service Best Practice #4: Integrate Workforce Management with Contact Center Routing‘
Let me know if you have any comments, and if this blog was useful, you can find out more by following me on Twitter: @stefancaptijn.
Thanks for reading!