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Guest Blog: The managed services model – A revolution for the contact center industry

Savings and Efficiency, Understanding Workforce Planning

Connor Bourke, CEO of Optima WFM, a leading provider of managed WFM services that offers a combination of cutting-edge cloud-based technology solutions and highly experienced management, discusses the benefits and growth of the managed services model.

managed servicesWhat complex and difficult challenges can we in the contact center industry expect to face as a result of the rapid changes our industry is experiencing? More technology choices than ever before are on offer, either via on-site deployment or in the cloud. Offshore and nearshore alternatives are presenting themselves at an increasing rate. New customer contact channels are developing that make customer service outlets a lot more than just “call” centers. In addition, outsourcing vendors are offering more and more options in more and more specialized areas. All of these make it easier and cheaper for both our customers to reach us and for us to service our customers’ needs.

Now a new revolutionary change is presenting itself – the Managed Services Model. Firms have the option of maintaining their own captive contact centers, or setting up new captive offshore centers, keeping the provision of customer service in-house, but outsourcing the highly technical and specialized areas such as technology management, data analytics, knowledge management and Workforce Optimization. Outsourced contact center vendors are able to follow their own business model by concentrating on their core product and sourcing expert talent to manage the support functions.

One of the key areas where this revolution is happening is in the field of Workforce Management (WFM).

Olle During, CEO of Teleopti, predicts that “workforce management as a service will grow quickly” and describes it as “a very attractive offer for contact centers.”

So what are the benefits of managed WFM services?

  1. Access to Talent
    In many markets the industry is growing and changing too quickly for many support functions to keep up. Hiring such expertise and truly staying ahead of the game can be difficult and costly. Managed WFM can give all contact centers access to the industry’s brightest talent.
  2. Economies of Scale
    As mentioned, talent is expensive. Technology can also come at a high price. Both are even more difficult to afford in the small to medium-sized market. Purchasing both technology and expert labor together as a bundled service can allow contact centers to spread that cost and take advantage of significant economies of scale.
  3. Cost savings
    These economies of scale can lead to significant cost savings. Being able to keep your customer contact center on shore but take advantage of offshore labor rates in support areas can lead to even bigger savings without compromising on the quality of service you offer your customers. All of which comes without foregoing the local knowledge and understanding that only onshore call center agents can provide.
  4. Access to Technology
    Maintaining state of the art technology platforms means upgrading regularly, choosing the right supplier each time and spending a lot of time and money, not to mention constantly retraining support staff. WFM as a service means getting access to the latest technology through a service provider that enjoys a strong relationship with technology providers and is able to always stay at the cutting edge. Alternatively, if you have already invested in technology, a managed WFM services provider can offer you expert knowledge and experience in the use of that technology.
  5. Scalability
    Software licenses and WFM staff are generally required on a per-agent basis. However, your staffing levels vary dramatically throughout the year and can be subject to significant spikes, troughs or long-term growth. Managed WFM as a service allows for a degree of scalability that cannot be easily accommodated internally.
  6. Independent recommendations on resourcing
    If you outsource your customer service, particularly to multiple vendors, then determining exactly to what degree your vendors should be staffing can present conflicts. Per-call pricing motivates outsourcers to err on the low side, putting service quality at risk while per-hour pricing motivates them to err on the high side, increasing costs. Multiple vendors will often result in a lack of holistic enterprise-wide planning and real-time management. A provider of WFM as a service will have an objective and holistic view aimed at balancing service levels and cost.
  7. Adopting new channels and new technologies
    As contact centers offer new channels and adopt new technologies they will face new challenges. A manager that has successfully implemented this change for other contact centers can reduce the amount of trial and error.
  8. Experience
    No matter what challenges you are facing in your contact center, you are not the first. Someone else has encountered that problem before and solved it. WFM as a service provider allows you to delve into a wealth of knowledge and experience garnered from numerous industries and clients.

Managed WFM services offers contact centers, whether in-house or outsourced, no matter how large or small a new opportunity, the benefit of technology, expertise and cost savings that would not generally be within their reach. The result of utilizing these opportunities is more efficient contact centers, greater customer satisfaction, higher employee engagement and significant cost savings.

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