Omni-Channel Customer Engagement Article

Today's Workforce Management is Omni-Channel, Flexible and Customizable

November 11, 2016

Your contact center has changed in the last 10 years. Today, it’s likely that you support channels you never did before, and agents have had to move to a more omni-channel daily approach to their work. Customers’ expectations are different, too, and they expect to be able to begin a transaction in one channel and continue it another (and possibly a third) all without having to start all over again. Agents are also different: they’re likely younger and more tech savvy than workforces of the past, and they themselves are savvy omni-channel customers. If you’re still using the same workforce management (WFM) solutions to manage your employees as you did a decade ago, chances are good that it’s not meeting your needs today.

It’s probable that it’s time to rethink the workforce management software features you need to ensure high agent morale, productivity and quality, according to a recent blog post by Aspect’s (News - Alert) Eric Hagaman.

“For those contact centers with older technology, WFM can be a source of constant frustration for agents, and that’s a formula for poor morale, low productivity and sub-par quality,” he wrote.

If you’re using an older solution, you may have integration problems, and functionality limitations. You may be trying to cobble together multiple old solutions, and the result is a workforce management system that only managers can understand, use and even see, leaving scheduling and other functions something of a mystery to employees. It may be usable only in one place (on the manager’s work PC), which means the system has to be replicated at satellite office locations. Home agents, if they’re used at all, are at the mercy of emails from the manager. There’s no flexibility for daytime changes to the schedule, and employees are likely still having to request time off via manual methods that require a great deal of administrative work on the part of managers.

Newer solutions can help streamline and automate workforce management in a manner similar to how an iPhone (News - Alert) streamlines all digital communications, according to Hagaman.

“WFM is inherently complex, and it’s no easy task to make it seem simple, but that’s what Aspect has done with its WFO 8.x icon and widget-based user interface,” he wrote. “As with modern operating systems and other business and consumer software, it’s graphical and intuitive, so agents can pick it up quickly – with little training.  Further, every interaction with the agent has been carefully examined and rationalized, so that the system does as much work as possible with a minimal number of clicks required from the user.”

Personalization features can help managers and even agents choose how they want the WFM system to communicate with them, and alerts, notifications and reports can be delivered in a number of ways that’s most effective for contact center personnel. In addition, mobility – a core of the American office today – can be accommodated with software-based WFM solutions that can span devices, offices and even third parties (think outsourced solutions providers).

Feature sets have broadened, as well, and the Web-based delivery of these WFM solutions mean even small companies can afford a variety of advanced features that help employees balance their work with their lives…or even their second jobs.

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