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Much more than meets the eye: Repercussions of unhappy contact center agents

Engage Customer Service Staff, Motivation and Gamification, Savings and Efficiency, Teleopti WFM Software, Understanding Workforce Planning

When it comes to WFM, there are some very important things that are generally not considered. What happens when contact-center agents, the frontline soldiers of your organization, are not happy?

WFMTraditionally, WFM adopted in the past has not been very accommodating to agents. Managers would create forecasts, plan and schedule – the latter often done arbitrarily. Ok, fair enough; some would try for a measure of fairness, if possible, on their Excel spreadsheets.

What ended up happening, and still does for some contact centers, is that a good many agents with second or even third jobs, or studying in parallel, face having to leave, due to conflicts in their schedules. This creates a never-ending, down-ward, negative spiral:

  • Agents, forced to quit, leave with a bad taste in their mouth;
  • Their remaining time in the contact center – notice time of two weeks to a month –  results in sub-optimal performance (understandably so);
  • The contact-center’s environment is soured by high turnover – I mean, how cool is it to see colleagues come and go through a continually spinning, rotating door?
  • Sub-optimal performance and low morale impact customers adversely;
  • Attrition is costly: the company has to recruit, re-hire and re-train;
  • Onboarding and learning curves too, end up costing time and money.

Attrition, due to agent dissatisfaction, is not much talked about but one thing is for sure; it leaves in its wake high costs, which, worse, are often intangible – ones difficult to estimate and keep track of.

Abracadabra – let WFM reach out and grab ya’!

Today’s WFM platforms are offering mobility. In fact, growth within the mobile side of the WFM equation is expanding in leaps and bounds. Why? Because they are necessarily adapting to this age and this generation of Millennials.

That said, there are stark differences as to what vendors provide in terms of mobility quality. By quality, I mean the extent to which agent availability, their skills set and preferences can and are taken into consideration.

In parallel, this must be balanced with the operational needs of the contact center. Which resources are best utilized where? Artificial intelligence engines analyze operational needs, based on demand, to pinpoint resource needs. Superior scheduling methodologies identify where and when to best utilize one’s resources. The advantages arising from the use of such modern, automated WFM are not only remarkable but tremendous:

  • Organizations use resources more effectively and efficiently;
  • Agents are more satisfied, feeling heard – scheduling preferences respected to a greater degree;
  • Attrition is lowered;
  • Customer satisfaction is raised (Studies have proven, again and again, that satisfied agents will provide a much better customer experience).
Don’t keep fun and games at bay – Let’s play!

Furthermore, gamification is now tied to the WFM process; a methodology or engine brought to the table that rewards agents with prizes in the form of, for example, gold, silver or bronze medals at the achievement of specific KPIs. For agents, this could mean better ranking for preference-based scheduling, time off, vacations, etc.

For some organizations today, gamification is the catalyst that pushes them to modernize their WFM.  It’s the game changer: modern-day WFM with gamification implemented for KPI goal measurement. It keeps agents occupied and happy. A sense of competition gives meaning to coming to work, and staying on at the work place. Can it get better than that?

WFM across the board

Yes it can! WFM systems today are not just limited to contact-center operations. They can and are used across the organization to manage other areas of the business – back office, ground operations, etc. – extending the same functionality and mobility to the rest of the organization’s operations.

Creating synergy

Modern-day WFM is also a source of rich business intelligence. It also be direcly linked to e.g. salesforce.som, human resources, payroll, etc. allowing for a synergistic effect. Some vendors offer a toolkit, free of charge, allowing for a multi-brand approach.

A last word of advice for those looking to evolve or replace or upgrade their WFM: purchase a couple of extra days of consulting. Consultants take a close look at your contact-center operations to see where improvements can and/or need to be made. You’d be surprised at how many things they can come up with that contact centers never even thought about – including improvements.

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