If the past few months have taught us anything, it’s that businesses need technology to be flexible and be able to adjust and adapt to any circumstances. That means having a good cloud-based communications system that allows employees to work from anywhere, and it means having a good cloud-based contact center solution so customer service teams don’t miss a beat when it comes to engaging with customers.
The truth is that most workers who have been pushed into remote work environments say they are as productive, if not more, than in the office. But, especially for customer service leaders, managing teams can be much more difficult than when workers are in one facility. Of course, that’s not a problem that’s limited to this pandemic. For years, customer service and contact center managers have tried to handle scheduling and forecasting using manual spreadsheets, which is not only time-consuming and error-prone, but it also makes adjustments harder when needs change.
Once again, technology to the rescue.
CoreDial, which introduced its CoreNexa Contact Center platform almost two years ago, is now making it easy for managers to do their jobs with its new CoreNexa WFM module. The addition of WFM tools will allow contact center and customer service managers to better plan, monitor, and adjust staff schedules and tasks to accommodate changing workforce needs.
CoreDial is initially focusing on three WFM components: scheduling, forecasting, and adherence – with reporting and agent performance also included. The first three, however, are among the most important to the SMB community CoreDial serves, largely because they can be very costly from a time and efficiency perspective when using manual reporting. Instead, CoreNexa WFM delivers these features as a built-in solution, connected directly to the data set already used to run the contact center operation.
CoreNexa WFM has been in the works for a year based on requests from both CoreDial’s partners and their end customers. The problem SMBs faced was not really having access to suitable WFM tools. Certainly, there are many third-party products, but some are far too expensive for the market and have too many features SMBs don’t need, and others are too complex and need major integration work.
Now, they have fully integrated WFM capabilities that reduce administrative effort and give managers the tools to more efficiently and effectively run their teams.
According to Rick McFarland, VP of contact center solutions at CoreDial, the adherence piece may be the most important component of the WFM module. Basically, what he calls “adherence-on-demand” allows managers to schedule staff using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, then be able to monitor activity at any time to make sure agents are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Any activity on agents’ desktop clients is fed directly into the WFM dashboard, and alerts can be set up for agents who are out of adherence. Whether by the minute or shift, and regardless of location, managers have the depth of information to provide targeted, purpose-driven coaching and support to their teams, whether they’re working on-site or remotely.
While some might feel this is getting into the “big brother” realm, it’s really about monitoring productivity and making sure teams and agents are meeting their objectives. If an agent is not on the phone with a customer when scheduled, it can throw the whole day’s productivity out of sync. Of course, if the agent stepped away for a minute to use the restroom, that’s one thing, but if it was for an earlier than scheduled lunch break, that puts a gap in coverage for half an hour and creates over-scheduling later. The same goes for above average call times. The adherence-on-demand feature makes it easier for managers to shift responsibilities as needed to accommodate shifting demands during peak or off-peak periods and across channels, or to schedule training or feedback sessions during slower periods.
“We have always had agent performance and other after-the-fact reporting , but that just tells you what happened yesterday,” says Rick McFarland, VP of contact center solutions at CoreDial. “The nice thing about adherence-on-demand is you can monitor in real time and drive significant productivity enhancements. It’s great for supervisors to make sure they have resources in the right places doing the right things at the right time.”
The timing is ideal, with so many SMBs still wrestling with the new reality this pandemic has created. The majority of workers are now saying they would prefer to have a hybrid schedule going forward – and of course, distancing mandates may make that a standard for a long time. Many companies have already announced they will be developing permanent teleworking strategies.
“As businesses continue to grapple with the disruption from COVID-19, many are finding they lack the tools, resources, and insights to properly manage their remote contact center employees,” said Alan Rihm, CoreDial CEO. “There’s a long list of reasons why WFM is compelling for businesses and managers, and this new module provides our partners with a timely solution that helps their customers address a very real need.”
For CoreDial’s partners, which is its true focus – a message CEO Rihm has delivered consistently over the years, helping build the program to more than 800 partners now – the WFM addition offers the ability to upsell customers who have been looking for a WFM alternative – including UCaaS customers looking for a contact center suite. Many partners also said they will now be able to move slightly upstream into larger businesses, where WFM is a must-have.
As for the future, while the initial rollout offers SMBs the toolset they need, McFarland says there is more to come. As businesses grow – both partners and end users – they will inevitably look for more advanced features, like automated scheduling, surveys, gamification, QA, and more. Now that it has pushed out CoreNexa WFM, CoreDial will be working towards adding new features in the future.
Edited by Erik Linask