WFO Can Be More than the Sum of its Parts: Don’t Forget the Human Side

As a frequent keynote speaker on workforce optimization at tradeshows and conferences, Roger Lee (AKA Dr. WFO) is always a little surprised when some of the contact center professionals in the audience don’t know what the acronym “WFO” means.

Most people are more familiar with the term Workforce Management (WFM), which is actually a component of WFO. Workforce optimization is a more inclusive technology that not only incorporates staffing requirements, but usually includes tools for strategic planning, call recording, coaching and eLearning, surveying, and more. The way he sees it, whatever WFO solution you’re using, the challenge is to take the information that your company captures and use it to assess core needs while improving the performance of agents and supervisors.

Certain analytics applications, such as interaction analytics and desktop analytics can go a long way in enhance the effectiveness of a WFO suite.  Multi-channel analytics gives companies a better understanding of related patterns and trends that exist in interactions across various touch points, including social media, website visits, phone conversations, chat sessions, and others. Desktop analytics can provide insights on user desktop and generate activity reports on user processes. It can be a valuable tool to determine if your agents have the right tools on their desktop, see what apps they’re using and find out how much time they’re spending with them.

One company that ‘The Dr.”  worked with was able to use analytics to pinpoint why one of their training groups had an attrition rate of 50%, while others were retaining 80 to 90%. They found out that the trainer in the high attrition class was not well versed on workflow and the lack of consistency was causing trainees to find it not a good fit. This enabled them to see where the trainer needed coaching and correct the problem. Multi-channel and desktop analytics are available modules in the HP Qfiniti 10 WFO suite.

But while technology is important, it’s just one of the three pillars on which a better customer experience is based. There’s also process and of course, the agent, who’s at the core of the foundation of any contact center. One key strategy used by successful businesses is to assess the generational make-up of their contact centers to see if their staffs are set up for success. Managers can use the information captured from WFO applications to coach, recognize and reward performance.

Common sense also plays an important role in evaluating agent performance, especially in terms of setting the right metrics. One organization Roger was advising had set the requirement for customer satisfaction at 98%.  While that’s an admirable goal, it’s also not a consistently attainable one. Think about it: if an agent gets a 97% rating, then he or she has failed. In just about any situation, most people consider 90% an ‘A’ rating.

Please join the CRMXchange hosted webinar Focus on the Core – Enabling the People Pillar”. Roger will discuss lessons learned; tips and advice that you can use within your organization to optimize your agents. A recording is available after the event.

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