Workforce optimisation (WFO) is no longer a nice-to-have for large businesses but should instead be an essential part of a strategy for successful customer support.
Here, Michael Collier, Head of Software Development at Connex One, explains how these five WFO essentials can benefit contact centre in 2022.
Embrace Artificial Intelligence
AI is already having a huge impact on business contact centres, helping streamline processes, increase efficiencies and support creating happier, more productive workforces.
In 2022, AI-enabled intelligent call routing is supporting customer experience teams of all shapes and sizes. Automatically directing incoming callers to the correct teams that have the skill set to resolve issues and support customers appropriately is a no-brainer.
To do this, there needs to be a holistic understanding of a team’s abilities – such as whether they excel on phone calls compared to live chat interactions or have expert knowledge in one area over another. Instead of random queue-based routing, AI can facilitate the best match.
Real-time speech-to-text transcription models can also support in identifying team capabilities and should be considered by any call centre lead. For example, live AI-automated scoring, based on set parameters such as whether agents have greeted a caller appropriately, or their ability to answer queries, can help pinpoint areas for improvement for individual agents or a whole team.
AI-powered sentiment analysis can also provide a clear picture of a team’s performance and customer satisfaction level, and as a whole, after-call admin work can be dramatically reduced.
Commit to continuous training
Transcription data helps identify team improvement opportunities or where an individual agent might need additional support.
Generated word clouds can highlight recurring customer complaints and – therefore – flag where training could be beneficial. In addition, live on-call coaching can help contact centre leads guide agents in understanding the best way to manage any given customer scenario.
However, to achieve this, businesses need to commit to continuous improvement. By encouraging employees to improve their skillsets and giving them the resources and training to do so, they can support teams and facilitate a happier work environment where every person feels valued.
Raise the stakes with gamification
Gamification – adding game mechanics into commercial environments – is projected to reach a USD 30.7 billion market size by 2025 (MarketsandMarkets report, 2021), so it’s no surprise that it’s making waves in the CX industry and will continue to do so for sales and customer experience teams.
Incorporating customisable gamification processes helps assess, motivate and reward employees in simple yet effective ways. Incremental reward psychology can encourage people to do their very best in the workplace, and tangible benefits help staff feel that their contributions are worthwhile.
For businesses with budget available next year, incorporating shop functionality into gamification models – where accumulated points can be spent outside of the business -is a good choice. Alternatively, giving the team the option to ‘buy’ a duvet day, late start or lunch on the business can also help motivate and boost both morale and productivity.
Managers can also use gamification to assess what, for example, the top 5% of sales teams have in common. For instance, if this group always log in on time or keep wrap time low, these actions can be set as targets for other team members to achieve, developing and encouraging consistent positive habits in the team that are rewarded with the gamification points system.
Build an employee-focused culture
WFO can give you the intel to build a better internal culture, allowing you to optimise schedules to ensure the right people are working at the right times. Not only does it improve customer experience, but also employee attitudes, as they can do more aspects of the role they’re most comfortable with and passionate about.
Implementing apps for workforce management will give teams two-way visibility and input, if chosen, of schedule creation. Whether it’s right to give employees the ability to manage shift patterns is determined by an individual business. However, by being more employee-focused and involving teams in the decision-making processes, morale can be boosted, and in turn, it can improve staff satisfaction and retention rates.
Utilise data to inform decision-making
Contact and customer experience centres can amass a whole host of data-rich insights, and in 2022, businesses should commit to using this insight to its full potential.
For example, harness data to support planning. If a business is planning to increase prices for customers, they may expect a flurry of complaints soon after. In this scenario, a business would want properly-trained, assertive and compassionate staff to handle enquiries. On the other hand, agents that aren’t as comfortable with issues management might want to be assigned to solely focus on non-verbal enquiries that are more suited to template-style responses.
Data can also be mined in real-time to assess improvement opportunities. For example, if there is an influx of social enquiries about software going down, or deliveries not arriving, the data can be passed on to other business departments to investigate, and staff should be given immediate insight into how to handle these interactions.
For those businesses not already utilising WFO, 2022 is the time to begin exploring options.
While new processes can feel daunting, new opportunities to improve current working practices are always emerging.
No matter the team size, workforce optimisation can transform contact centres into world-class experience centres, increasing agent productivity and – in turn – ensuring the highest levels of customer satisfaction and retention.