Autumn 2015 blog series: “Workforce Management in the making – how’s it done and who’s behind it all?”
– Number 3 of 5 postings. Stay tuned weekly!
I first came in contact with Teleopti in 1994 – as their first customer and a demanding one at that! At the time, I was working for the Swedish Railways and in charge of scheduling 1,800 agents for their call center. When I started working for Teleopti, the tables were turned around and I got a taste of my own medicine, serving customer equally as demanding as I was. This, however, has served me well in my work as a Teleopti consultant,
Since 2006, I’ve been implementing WFM (workforce management) for Teleopti customers all over the world, using English as the working language. This, by the way, is a strength of Teleopti’s worth noting: Swedes are able to speak English very well for work purposes. Over time, we’ve grown our customer base to include some 85 countries, with offices in 12 countries. With greater knowledge of the culture and language in question, we can serve our customers even better.
Our internal working processes are very sound: our sales force hands over the baton to us consultants, the next ones in the relay race, so to speak. They provide us with the project’s scope and what’s to be implemented.
During the first phase of implementation, we spend a lot of time dialoguing with the customer. This phase is quite challenging but essential in order to formulate the exact plans for moving forward. We listen attentively and come up with proposals for improvement.
During the second phase, we integrate our WFM software with their infrastructure. Since we‘re dealing with just one product – i.e. WFM – you’d expect customer requirements to be similar but actually, when you scratch the surface, that’s where it gets interesting and challenging, which brings us to the third phase.
During the third phase, we tango with the customer, constructing and configuring the system. This is when most of the developmental work takes place. We also hold workshops for instructing the project team in the fundamental workings of the system and perform functionality testing. At the end of this phase, the customer has but one major expectation: delivery of what they’ve asked and what we’ve promised. They’re now itching to see what the system can deliver. We’re right there alongside them until the system goes live and is fully operational. For me, this is the most enjoyable phase – for two reasons: sharing the wealth of information and experience we’ve gained from former customer journeys and witnessing the glowing satisfaction…from surpassing their expectations – most often the case!
In the fourth phase, we hand over the customer to our service desk for follow-up for the next six months. Finally, our sales person meets the head of the customer’s team for documentation and sign-off in the fifth phase.
After project sign-off, we move into the customer care phases. During Live 1, we ensure Teleopti WFM is used as envisaged through monthly contact and address training needs and remaining issues, including user issues. We also direct customers to our Service Desk and eliminate minor road blockers. During Live 2 – if so requested at start-up – we conduct a value assessment report that will show the development of important KPIs since implementation, as well as savings made and ROI. The report also presents potential areas of improvements. Needless to say, all these phases make for extremely thorough and close collaboration with the customer.
What I personally find rewarding is when we’re able to lead the customer from a very rigid and repetitive way of scheduling to one that’s more efficient and flexible and takes into account agent needs, putting them in the center. An efficient system generating the most optimized and fairest scheduling is a plus for everyone concerned! In fact, feedback from our annual customer survey for many years now shows that 9 out of 10 customers recommend Teleopti.
An example is TeliaSonera for whom we totally changed the way of scheduling in 2013. In fact, we’ve implemented WFM in a number of large telecoms and retail shops, including Telenor and Elisa. Another project that comes to mind is at Visma SPCS this spring. Within a month of going live, a huge improvement – six percent! – could already be noted in the service-level agreement (SLA) which is fantastic! This also brought about significant savings.
It’s not unusual for a consultant to have several projects open at the same time, but all at different phases. At the moment, I’m working on optimizing 89 retail shops for one customer. Speaking of which, duty calls! I hope this has provided a revealing glimpse of a day in the life of a Teleopti consultant.
– Per-Arne Karlsson