With increasing digitalization, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence in the works in chat bots, etc., the question is: How will all this affect the contact-center landscape? This will be addressed by Magnus Geverts, Chief Business Development Officer of Teleopti, in a webinar on November 9 (don’t forget to sign up and tune in). However, If I may, I’d like to already address this with what I consider can be summarized in a nutshell: innovation.
If we look at the growth of the workforce-management (WFM) market, it’s still going strong, with 12-percent or greater annual growth predicted for 2016, 2017 and 2018. This means that the message is finally hitting home to laggards who, in increasing numbers, are signing on to automated WFM, realizing that to not do so ultimately puts them at a competitive disadvantage. Smaller contact centers, often due to financial and IT constraints, are particularly doing so in the Cloud as it enables them to utilize an OPEX, not CAPEX, budget. Many contact centers are also updating their outdated WFM solutions that have been in place for a decade or longer.
Innovation – main driver in mature WFM market
However, more significantly, what’s actually driving WFM growth today, in my opinion, is innovation. Although WFM has been around for three decades or so, very little innovation has taken place during that time. Fortunately, a few vendors at the forefront of WFM realized the importance of investing in innovation early on. Has it paid off? You tell me: look at the improvements and advances that have been made in modern platforms running on the latest standards, interfaces, back-office WFM capabilities, and more recently, gamification and mobility.
Having fun at work
Gamification keeps agents engaged at work and keeps boredom at bay. The innovation has proven to raise overall agent satisfaction as well as lower attrition rates and absenteeism.
Evidence that Teleopti has been on the right track in developing this innovation is Gartner’s recent, essential shift in denomination for their Magic Quadrant evaluation category – from WFM to “WEM” or workforce engagement management. Now, it’s no longer enough to just optimize one’s workforce – i.e. matching resources to the specific workload size at any given time. Today, we’ve gone one step further. Even more vital is keeping the workforce engaged for we’ve heard and seen it proven time and time again: an engaged workforce is a more satisfied and productive workforce.
Today, Millennials, making up a majority of the contact-center workforce, wouldn’t be caught dead without their smart device. Enter mobility, which allows agents to request days off or swap shifts – all at the swipe of a finger, anywhere, anytime; all neatly automated and administered, keeping everyone up to date, up to the minute.
These innovations exemplify the growing influence of the humanizing aspect of WFM, increasingly deemed – even assumed – a necessity. It’s no longer just nice to offer or have these benefits. A contact center’s most important asset is its human resources; its agents who are the frontline with the most customer contact. A call center’s greatest cost is also its agents. Make them happy and satisfied, and the rest – agent performance, customer satisfaction, savings in recruitment and training, etc. – will follow and fall into place.
Flexibility, affordability and ease of use
Flexibility, ease of deployment and modern mobility: these account for the growing adoption of state-of-the-art, mission-critical WFM solutions today. Traditionally, WFO vendors supplied a stand-alone, on-premise infrastructure, comprised of bloated suites or packages to which WFM software was simply latched on – often proving complex to deploy, difficult to use and expensive to own.
Although a common trend in the past, this isn’t necessarily the best approach for contact centers today. Why? Because with the many appealing solutions available on the market, contact centers no longer need to feel tied to their incumbent vendors. Careful due diligence and a thorough analysis, however, must be done in order to find the best WFM solution.
A true-breed WFM vendor is not tied to any WFO vendor and frequently offers better functionality, affordability, and cost of ownership. They also frequently help take out the complexity in deployment with a solution that is flexible and, above all, easy to use. As such, contact center staff can enjoy the full range and benefits of the latest WFM innovations.