Karina Howell at Playvox explains workforce engagement management (WEM) and why it matters.
As one of the newest terms to enter the contact centre space, workforce engagement management (WEM) is much more than a simple change in the words we use.
WEM suites are an evolutionary shift — beyond workforce optimization — brought about by the need to take customer service operations to the next level by placing the agent experience at the centre.
From Optimization to Engagement
While workforce optimization suites are undeniably valuable, particularly for improving staff efficiency, their approach also brings limitations. All you have to do is place yourself in the contact centre agent’s shoes. Do you want to be optimized? Most likely the answer is no.
By contrast, if you were to ask contact centre agents whether they’d like to be engaged, the response is much more likely to be yes! So what is workforce engagement management? For agents, it means being more engaged with career goals, team members, and the business overall.
Why Workforce Engagement Management Matters
Workforce engagement management products get to the heart of human motivation. More importantly, they go beyond balancing efficiency and effectiveness, which is the goal of workforce optimization.
WEM unleashes the X factor of agents that are empowered, happy, and working towards personal and team goals, transforming average contact centres into best-in-class performers.
Many elements of the modern, omnichannel customer service centre – such as access to new digital channels – are table stakes and required to simply meet customer expectations.
But in order to promote customer happiness, loyalty, and higher lifetime spend, nothing short of exceptional service – provided by highly skilled agents demonstrating empathy and problem-solving abilities – will do.
In short, workforce engagement management matters because agent experience matters. There’s an urgent need to empower, develop, and retain agents in order to deliver better customer experiences.
Forces that place the agent experience at the centre of WEM applications:
- The current labour shortage creates an environment where employers must compete to attract and retain staff.
- Engaged agents enjoy longer tenures with their employers, resulting in lower turnover rates, which in turn result in reduced costs of operations and improved CX delivery by more experienced, knowledgeable agents.
- Employers of choice enjoy a significant advantage by attracting and developing skilled agents able to deliver a higher quality of service and improve the business overall.
- Empowered and engaged agents perform better, resulting in direct improvement to the bottom line since customer experience is one of the most sustainable sources of a business’s competitive advantage.
These forces are driving an increasing number of companies to go beyond workforce optimization and seek out ways to flexibly deploy a WEM solution in their organization, either as a comprehensive, integrated suite or by adding stand-alone applications.
What Is Workforce Engagement Management?
WEM solutions provide various elements that allow contact centres to go beyond containing operating costs to elevating and empowering employees with tools to schedule, evaluate, motivate, recognize, and reward agents at scale.
According to Gartner, the workforce engagement management landscape is defined by functionality that includes support for:
- Recruitment and onboarding
- Evaluation and improvement
- Time management
- Assistance and task management
- Metrics and recognition
- Voice of the employee (VOE)
A WEM suite includes the core modules of Quality Management (QM), and Workforce Management (WFM). And while many companies begin by deploying one of the core WEM modules, this is only the beginning of the journey.
To create a 360 performance loop, these are best combined with additional modules that provide coaching, learning, motivation, KPI tracking, and employee feedback capabilities. This can be accomplished by deploying an integrated and comprehensive solution.
Beyond providing most of these capabilities, a leading workforce engagement management provider will also be able to deliver customer success support to ensure milestones are achieved and that the intent of elevating the employee experience becomes a reality.
The Human Factor Is the X Factor
While contact centre efficiency, effectiveness, and CX metrics such as FCR, CSAT, and CES will always matter, eliciting agent engagement is the X factor that allows for best-in-class performance.
Customer service organizations that fully embrace workforce engagement management to facilitate peak performance, both on the individual and team levels, are able to transform into employers of choice.
Successfully leveraging the full array of tools available in WEM suites to enhance the employee experience provides a massive advantage.
Small Changes Make a Big Difference
The way workforce engagement management solutions generate these results is by enabling incremental improvements in employee performance while also promoting longevity in an organization.
Leveraging tools such as coaching, learning, and motivation elicit major gains and ultimately has a massive positive impact on the bottom line.
The Digital Era of WEM
The rapid expansion of digital customer service channels has made deploying comprehensive WEM suites even more urgent.
When digital channels are managed ineffectively – whether in terms of forecasting, scheduling, evaluation, or coaching – they are fuel for frustration. This leads to poor business results. But when done right, they are fuel for efficiency, satisfaction, and growth.
Each channel brings new metrics, standards, and challenges to which agents must adapt. Customers expect agents handling customer contacts via live digital channels to convey high levels of empathy while resolving issues efficiently. This new landscape requires contact centres to step up their game.
The right workforce management application gives agents the ability to better manage their time across synchronous and asynchronous channels.
They can even gain the opportunity to take a break from handling live interactions by allowing themselves to respond to the email channel for a period, a policy that can improve agent satisfaction and retention rates.
Similarly, a quality management solution built for the digital era can identify gaps in agent performance as agents learn to interact with customers via new and emerging channels, such as web chat and SMS.
These two cornerstone applications of workforce engagement management suites – WFM and QM – work in concert with add-on applications, such as coaching, learning, performance, motivation, and feedback. Collectively, they enable contact centres to take operations to the next level.
A Holistic View
To fully answer the question “what is workforce engagement management?” we need to understand that WEM is more than the sum of its parts. Taken together, these solutions create a holistic process that supports every component of the employee experience.
The expanded set of applications offered by WEM allows contact centre performance to advance to levels previously unattainable. It does this by unleashing the X factor of improving employee performance and enabling organizations to become employers of choice.
The ultimate benefit is a sustainable competitive advantage through improved customer experiences gained by delivering exceptional customer interactions.This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Playvox – View the Original Article
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