Mastering Contact Centre Workforce Optimization:
4 Strategies for Success
Contact centre workforce optimization is an increasingly common topic of discussion. With a rise in customer expectations, paired with shifting expectations around the employee experience, there has never been a better time for organizations to discuss optimizing their workforce, as well as the use of contact centre workforce optimization software in tools.
In this article, we’ll dive into the basics around this subject, different strategies, challenges and best practices, and key takeaways.
What Is Contact Centre Workforce Optimization?
Contact centre workforce optimization is a consolidated environment of technology, strategies, and processes to maximize agent efficiency, productivity, and quality to enable the contact centre to perform at the highest level. Key components of workforce optimization in a contact centre include:
- Workforce Management serves to forecast call volume and schedule agent shifts accordingly, as well as managing breaks and overtime.
- Training Sessions enable better agent–customer interactions. In addition to corporate training sessions and training-related communications, implementing microlearning can help agents better retain their knowledge with bite-sized learning modules, knowledge checks, and quizzes.
- Quality Management ensures that agents are providing high-quality service and helps to identify areas where agents can improve their performance for better customer satisfaction.
- Performance Dashboards provide real-time performance feedback for agents and supervisors. These can help motivate agents to achieve goals and identify where agents can improve.
- Coaching sessions help agents improve their skills, stay updated with product and service knowledge, and enhance overall agent performance. These sessions also give managers an idea of where additional training is needed, and to gauge agent well-being.
- Gamification incorporates game elements into non-game contexts, such as a contact centre. Gamification ties into incentive management, using leaderboards, levels, badges, points, rewards and recognition, and more to motivate agents and increase engagement. This improves overall performance – which ultimately helps boost the customer experience.
Contact centre workforce optimization should also include agent training and engagement and implementing the right technology to support these initiatives.
Benefits of Workforce Optimization in Contact Centres
Workforce optimization in contact centres is worth the investment, as it brings many benefits, which include (but are not limited to):
Increased Customer Satisfaction
The faster and more efficiently contact centre agents can address customer inquiries, paired with the helpfulness of the resolution, the higher customer satisfaction.
Improved Agent Productivity
By providing agents with the right training, tools, and resources, contact centres can improve agent performance and productivity.
Enhanced Employee Engagement
Contact centres can enhance engagement (and better retain their workforce) by giving agents meaningful feedback, regular coaching, opportunities for learning and development, and clear paths for career growth.
Through improved data and analytics collection and fostering a productive environment, contact centres can reduce costs. One key element is to invest in the right contact centre workforce optimization software and tools.
How Does Contact Centre Workforce Optimization Work?
Contact centre workforce optimization brings elements together to create an optimized workflow. Data collection is the first step, which includes factors such as call volume, and agent availability, call patterns, and areas of agent improvement.
Management is another crucial element to contact centre workforce optimization. This includes ensuring that agents are well trained and compliant with contact centre procedures and any regulatory requirements.
Truly effective management also involves regular coaching with meaningful conversations, both scheduled and in time of need. Contact centre managers are increasingly including well-being as part of these conversations.
Finally, performance feedback for agents is crucial for improvement and meeting goals. This can be done through methods such as optimized quality assurance processes, dashboards, and gamification.
Strategies and Best Practices for Contact Centre Workforce Optimization
Contact centre workforce optimization can be highly successful by following a few core strategies.
Remember the ultimate goal and focus on customer satisfaction. As part of this, evaluate all components across the contact centre for optimization, including quality assurance processes, training practices, coaching quality, etc., and determine what can be optimized.
Also remember that the customer experience starts with the employee experience. By providing a robust onboarding experience, training agents well, and increasing productivity, contact centres can reduce customer wait times, and improve the quality of interactions – and the overall customer experience.
Empower your agents. Agents are the first line of customer contact, and it’s critical to give them ownership of their work. Provide them with the right training, tools, and resources, as well as the authority to resolve customer issues.
Evaluate technological solutions – and make that investment. These solutions offer agent training, performance insights, automated manager insights, and voice of employee. Also look for solutions that offer a gamified approach.
By tying gamification to goals, contact centres can greatly boost agent motivation and engagement, and increased focus on their performance. Part of gamification should involve a social element, where agents can collaborate, and share tips and best practices.
Measure and track progress. Evaluate the impact of contact workforce optimization initiatives so that you can track success and make necessary adjustments. This can be done by tracking metrics such as customer satisfaction, agent productivity, and cost savings.
Challenges and Best Practices in Contact Centre Workforce Optimization
While contact centre workforce optimization is an essential component for organizational success, there are a few challenges.
For instance, workforce optimization requires a significant amount of data collection and analysis. This can be a challenge, especially for contact centres that are not well equipped to collect and analyse data.
One best practice to remedy this challenge is to leverage contact centre workforce optimization software and tools.
Additionally, don’t just look at a small set of metrics. Evaluate all areas of the employee and customer experience to get a full picture of what is working, and what can be better, adding the “eye-openers” to the analysis list.
Another challenge is the adoption of contact centre workforce optimization tools and software. This requires effective, and sometimes significant, change management because workforce optimization changes the way that agents work and the way they view their work.
Start communications early, with training and coaching sessions as part of the ramp-up. Once implemented, offer additional coaching and training to any slow adopters.
One idea to motivate slow adopters is to present a leaderboard of those who have been using the new tool and showcase the progress.
The Future of Contact Centre Workforce Optimization
There are many emerging trends that are shaping the future of contact centre workforce optimization, including:
A Digital Uptick
Customers increasingly prefer to contact organizations digitally, rather than just through calls. Contact centres must adapt their optimization tools and strategies to offer and accommodate digital channels, such as using chatbots, virtual assistants, and other technology to handle customer inquiries.
A Rise in Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Contact centres are already leveraging AI to improve efficiency and productivity, automating routine and mundane tasks, such as routing calls and digital inquiries, and providing low-lift customer support.
As generative AI tech evolves, there will likely be many additional opportunities as part of contact centre workforce optimization initiatives.
Today’s marketplace is highly competitive, with customers often switching loyalties. Therefore, a greater emphasis and focus are being placed on the customer experience.
For contact centres to provide a high-quality customer experience, they must evaluate and optimize their workforce optimization tools and strategies.
Increasing Focus on Data
As contact centres collect more data about customer behaviour and agent performance, these findings will lead to improved efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
AI and other technologies will be used to automate more tasks in contact centres, freeing up agents to focus on more complex and challenging inquiries. This will lead to improved efficiency and productivity.
A More Personal Touch
Contact centres will use data to personalize the customer experience, providing customers with the information and support they need in the way that they prefer. This will lead to improved customer satisfaction.
A Performance Management Gamification Platform
The customer experience starts with the employee experience. A Performance eXperience platform goes beyond performance management and takes a robust and gamified approach to contact centre workforce optimization by offering a number of elements, including AI-powered microlearning to help agents retain training knowledge and fight the “forgetting curve”, augmented coaching, real-time performance insights, and voice of the employee.
As part of contact centre workforce optimization, the ability to create training materials quickly is important. Contact centres may also want to evaluate their quality assurance processes and any optimization opportunities.
The platform can assist with both, offering the fast, scalable creation of frontline training materials by leveraging AI and tools to optimize quality assurance processes, including flexible forms and transparent performance insights.
Centrical customers experience the following:
- 12% increase in productivity
- 30% decrease in attrition rates
- 15% increase in CSAT and FCR scores
- 50% faster onboarding
- 53% less time authoring learning content
Summary and Key Takeaways
We’ve just covered a general overview of what contact centre workforce optimization is, how it works, effective strategies, and what the future might look like. Below are a few key takeaways:
- Contact centre workforce optimization is the utilization of a unified technological environment that helps boost agent productivity and performance, leading to a better customer experience.
- Optimizing the contact centre workforce can be done by including elements such as improved technology, simplified and robust quality assurance processes, empowering agents through training and effective management, and gamification.
- Benefits of optimizing the call centre workforce include a more efficient and higher-performing workforce, reduced operating cost, and increased customer satisfaction and related scores (e.g., CSAT and NPS).
- Predictions for the future of contact centre workforce optimization include greater personalization, more automation (especially by leveraging AI), and an increase in data-driven actions to better meet the rise in customer expectations.
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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.