Calabrio’s Graeme Gabriel discusses workforce management and the company’s calculator for establishing return on investment in WFM
Thanks to the evolved world of work in which we find ourselves in 2021, a flexible, intelligent workforce management (WFM) solution to manage teams has become vital. In the contact centre industry, for instance, remote and hybrid workforces have added a new layer of complexity just as other challenges such as increased call volume have reared their heads.
To that end, Calabrio has developed a calculator to establish the return on investment possible from implementing its WFM solution. The tool helps customers to discover labour savings and administrative time reductions as well as potential gains in agent adherence and attrition rates.
In an exclusive interview, CX Today welcomes Graeme Gabriel, Sales Engineer at Calabrio, to discuss the calculator and walk us through the ins and outs of the return on investment (ROI) for WFM in a remote world.
“We’ve gone through years of deployment data with customers and looked at the benefits those different customers are seeing. As part of our implementation process, we measure performance against criteria that we originally specified in the project,” Graeme Gabriel begins.
Interrogating that data allows Calabrio to provide potential customers a baseline, gleaned from starting points and objectives. “That foundation is always very conservative so we provide an estimate on the lower end,” adds Graeme.
“However, it does allow us to give an indication based on real data and real customers. This means we can predict what we think you could achieve based on where you’re starting from and what your appetite is for change”
Graeme emphasises that WFM can result in comprehensive business benefits as opposed to purely cost savings. While it can enable customers to maintain the status quo at a lower cost, reinvestment can improve the experience of both customers and agents. “What we’re absolutely not advocating is that you implement WFM and then reduce your staff count, because there is often a much bigger win to be had,” says Graeme. “Most customers want to improve service in areas such as staff retention, customer satisfaction and the customer journey and the benefits as well as savings from automating WFM processes makes that possible.”
Undoubtedly, managing and growing a remote workforce while keeping it engaged is a tall order without a dedicated WFM solution. “Not only does it become more difficult to have team meetings or see people in person, it is also necessary to consider the different demands that someone has on their time when they are working from home,” says Graeme. “They might have different preferences – for instance someone who doesn’t have to travel to the office might prefer to work an earlier shift than they would otherwise have signed up to. Catering for that level of flexibility without any kind of advanced planning system is really difficult, which is why we have seen a big increase in people coming to the market for a universal solution capable of managing this type of situation.”
Aside from agent work-life flexibility, employee well-being is another crucial element of a comprehensive WFM offering. Calabrio’s own WFM solution benefits from the company’s extensive decades of experience in the industry and its early adoption of the cloud, but it also draws from a culture where employee satisfaction is prized.
“A lot of the contact centre trends that we see in Western Europe and the UK regarding giving more back to the workforce and the concept of ‘happy agent, happy customer’ were prefigured in the Nordic regions, where our solution was developed. It’s fair to say that they’ve been ahead on weighting things towards the frontline employee for a long time, so that culture is baked right in at the foundation of our product”
One of the bonuses of implementing a WFM solution is that the benefits for the workforce are also experienced by the customers of that business. “It’s the old adage of the right person in the right place at the right time with the right skills,” says Graeme. “That’s good for the business because it means it’s not overstaffed, and the service level doesn’t suffer because there is a consistent match of people to handle customer demand. It’s good for the customer because it means they’re speaking to the right person and getting the service they need regardless of the time they call. And it’s good for the agent because it allows for self-scheduling alongside other tools that can improve work-life balance. None of this is possible with manual processes – good, automated WFM practices are good for everyone.”
Of course, beyond simply putting a WFM solution in place to improve processes, it’s important to draw intelligence about the efficacy of the solution and team performance – even more so in the remote world of work. Obtaining those workforce insights could involve laborious manual processes, but advanced WFM solutions should provide the intelligence to easily stay ahead. Calabrio WFM, for instance, features embedded Data Explorer reporting that provides customisable dashboards for quicker and more exact insights. Graeme sees this insights-visualising functionality as part of a wider trend for data-driven decision making. “Customers increasingly seek data from multiple sources before making a purchase. That’s obvious in the consumer world, before you rush out to buy a new piece of technology. Now in the B2B space as well, they increasingly want to be as informed as possible.”
Looking to the future, Graeme expects workforce management’s scope to extend as contact centres move from voice to other digital channels. “The calculator provides a tool for resource planners and operations leaders to build a business case for investment in WFM to improve their resource planning function. As contact centres continue to extend beyond traditional voice channels, data from digital channels and CRM or case management systems will become more widely integrated with other data sources to improve the customer experience. However, it starts with demonstrating the value of the contact centre and proper team management with the help of the WFM ROI calculator.”
To find out more about the possibilities of workforce management, visit Calabrio’s WFM ROI Calculator.