If you run or manage a contact center (or work in one), think about this for a moment: what makes a contact center successful? Depending on your perspective, you could come up with different answers. The executive offices might say “keeping costs low.” The IT department might say, “integrating the different solutions required.” Agents might say, “Having the right tools and enough time to service customers properly.” In the end, however, it’s really customers who decide whether a customer experience is successful, so it’s probably best to make your list from their perspective.
Customers would call a successful contact center experience one that is fast, easy, consistent, informative and solves their issue on the first contact. They would probably also agree that being kept on hold, multiple transfers, having to repeat themselves or getting the wrong answers are deal-killers when it comes to their business. In reality, nearly all of the traits customers find valuable are enabled by good workforce management (WFM). When agents have enough time to handle calls, and when the right agents with the right answers are available at the right time, customer experience magic can happen.
In a recent blog post, Chuck Ciarlo, CEO of Monet Software (News - Alert), noted that with WFM the appropriate data is automatically collected and delivered so you always know how you’re doing. Being able to track metrics is an important element of workforce management.
“There are several KPIs – the most important to watch are how quickly calls are answered (less than 20 seconds is a good benchmark), average handle time, and lost calls,” wrote Ciarlo.
The quality of the customer interaction is also important to customers. If your customers can’t understand your agents, and agents are having to repeat themselves, you’re already starting out from a disadvantaged position. Saving money might be a good goal, but not at the expense of the customer experience. A good workforce management solution can allow you to make the most of your in-house workforce, building efficiency into a U.S. workforce that eliminates the accents and cultural disconnect. (You can also use a cloud-based WFM solution to use home-based agents, which can both save money and boost the quality of customer care.)
A cloud-based WFM solution can save a company money in many ways, according to Ciarlo, by making everything more proficient. It’s important to keep your WFM up-to-date, which is far easier with a solution delivered via the cloud.
“Each new WFM product adds additional capabilities, improves existing functionality, and corrects issues with previous versions,” he wrote. “With traditional software, these upgrades can also be expensive, which is why many companies delay implementation. But call centers that get their WFM in the cloud will always be on the most recent version, as it is automatically installed at no additional cost.”
So next time you’re measuring the quality of customer care, be sure you’re asking the right people. The agents who handle calls daily, and the customers who are calling (or emailing, or chatting) are the ones whose opinions really matter.