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New Era WEM Solutions Must Solve Modern Contact Center Challenges

By Special Guest
Brad Snedeker, Product Marketing Director, Calabrio
October 27, 2020

This has been a year of big change in the contact center industry. The COVID-19 pandemic sparked an evolution in customer behaviors and preferences, the way agents need to work and the processes that managers need to implement to run a successful contact center. It seems these industry changes are here to stay. According to a study commissioned by Calabrio, more than 60 percent of contact center managers expect the impact on the customer service industry to be permanent.

While some contact centers are making preparations for how and when to bring their agents back, many others are embracing the rise of remote work and are looking to create new hybrid workforces that engages the best of both in-office and remote working. But, even if contact centers are counting the days until they can return to traditional operations, they will still need to tackle new challenges, like a higher standard for customer experience and a growing customer and agent desire for omnichannel communication.

One way for contact centers to embrace this new era is with a workforce engagement management (WEM) software suite designed for the modern workforce. Many customer service groups have long relied on workforce optimization (WFO) and WEM solutions to simplify and facilitate day-to-day operations, but as new challenges and opportunities arise, their WEM solutions should evolve too.

As Calabrio unveils the new Calabrio ONE for the new era, with integrated, best-of-breed cloud workforce management (WFM) capabilities at its center, it is important to consider the WEM tools needed to ensure agility and flexibility for today’s workforce—wherever they’re logging on. To meet this moment and any challenges that lie ahead, solutions must empower agents, create opportunities for education and facilitate dynamic team management.

Empower

With any hybrid or remote workforce, one of the greatest needs for managers is to ensure agent engagement and agent autonomy. In Calabrio’s recent study, the top skill that contact center managers expect from agents in the new contact center world is self-management. With agents working in separate locations, with varying start/stop times and with different needs, managers must trust their agents to manage their individual workload. A WEM solution should empower agents to self-manage, instilling confidence in managers that agents can handle themselves.

Self-service and self-scheduling technology is a must for any WEM solution, driven by intelligent automation. Agents should have the freedom to change their lunch or break times on their own without manual managerial approvals. For example, the next generation of Calabrio ONE offers agents the ability to self-manage their schedules as well as automated voluntary time off and overtime requests. The solution provides a virtual concierge to agents, monitoring for scheduling opportunities based on current volumes and staffing needs based on available agent skills, then providing chat notifications when volunteer time off is available, and handling requests for agents if accepted.

Contact centers that empower agents with tools to facilitate autonomy will be agile enough to react to changing customer needs and see higher employee morale—an important hallmark of successful contact centers.

Educate

Another challenge brought on by a decentralized workforce is agent training. The primary methods for agent training and coaching pre-pandemic were primarily through manager-agent check-ins or even through simple osmosis and listening to fellow agents. This challenge is heightened further by the fact that customers are expecting more from customer service than ever before. Today’s WEM solutions need to have a renewed emphasis on customer and agent behavior analysis to guide operations and coaching.

On the manager’s side, Calabrio ONE offers analytics-driven insights like desktop analytics, voice-of-the-customer/voice-of-the-employee trends and AI-fueled sentiment analysis to pinpoint agents that may need technical assistance or technique coaching. New era workforce engagement management solutions go one step further and tightly connect personalized agent scheduling with omnichannel analytics and quality management so that insights about performance and evaluation scores automatically impact one-to-one and coaching planning.

With an evolved need for agent self-management comes a heightened need for them to take ownership of their performance. Calabrio ONE provides personalized, self-service dashboards to help agents own their experiences and their individual metrics as well as team KPIs. How can agents, at home or in the office, develop if they can’t independently connect what they do with the results they achieve?

Without agents and managers in the same location, this level of visibility and streamlined coaching processes are of utmost importance for agent development and smooth operations.

Manage

Agents’ jobs are more complex than ever, and the pandemic added even more onto their plates. For example, today’s remote workforce must contend with variabilities in internet access or childcare, in addition to normal everyday customer service problems. Without traditional quality assurance strategies, like walking the contact center floor, managers must rely on their quality management tools to see how agents are performing. Modern WEM solutions must double down on these capabilities and offer visibility into agent behavior, because understanding the “why” behind the “what” of any agent issue is paramount to simplifying life for agents.

Calabrio ONE, for example, provides this visibility through real-time adherence technology to compare agent schedules to live automatic call distributor status. Automated alarms are flagged when schedules aren’t being met, and then managers can use a combination of quality management and analytics tools, like live screen recordings and desktop analytics, to identify reasons for slow-downs or challenges. If an agent is struggling, identifying the contributing factors to their challenge is the first step toward solving the problem and quickly getting the agent on the right track. The best WEM solutions will be able to drive this process and bring it full circle as WFM intraday adaptivity tools and automation can be used to update the plans for agents and reoptimize business.

Contact center manager and employees need to rely on the agility of their solutions, including WEM, now more than ever. If the contact center has evolved, the technology they rely on day-in and day-out must evolve with it.

Learn more about the new Calabrio ONE for the new era.


 

About the author:  With over 20 years in the industry, Brad has extensive knowledge of the contact center space. As Calabrio’s director of product marketing and customer advocacy, he ensures that customers have access to the best information and resources available for Calabrio products. He works directly with users to develop new and innovative techniques to implement workforce optimization best practices. Workforce Management and Analytics have been Brad’s primary areas of focus for over 10 years.


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