Rackspace Powers Automated, Data-Driven Staffing with Calabrio ONE - Calabrio


COMPANY: Rackspace, Inc.

INDUSTRY: Cloud Computing



PRODUCTS USED: Calabrio Workforce Management


Needed better forecasting to prevent overprovisioning of agents during peak times and a single queue to manage support tickets originating from multiple systems.


Rackspace improved customer satisfaction by using Calabrio to connect disparate ticketing systems, measure against service level agreements, and better manage agent scheduling and skill sets.

Calabrio/Amazon Connect Integration Makes Go-Live Fast and Easy

As a savvy IT company, Rackspace quickly realized leveraging its legacy system to modernize its contact center wasn’t going to work. Rackspace’s existing ACD, for
example, couldn’t intelligently route call volumes to appropriate queues in order to prevent main lines from becoming flooded. Rackspace also needed a new solution that could write ticketing automation, among other things. “The contact center has always been the lifeblood of customer support, which is our key differentiator,” says Kerry Bowley, product manager at Rackspace. “When we tried to modernize on top of our legacy system, we hit roadblock after roadblock.”

Then Rackspace adopted Amazon Connect—the self-service, cloudbased contact center service built on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and based upon the same technology used by Amazon customer service associates around the world. Using Amazon Connect, Rackspace gained in-depth visibility into call queues and service characteristics, enabling the company to predict and rapidly address call and service quality issues, and continually optimize its operations. “Using Amazon Connect,
we have a holistic view of support operations, so we can manage them effectively,” says Bowley. “Amazon Connect gives us all the data we need via APIs, so we can visualize call queues and gain insights that help us deliver better service.”

Together, Amazon Connect and Calabrio give Rackspace the modern forecasting and resource planning capabilities it needs. And, since both tools are available via the Amazon data center, it was fast and easy for Rackspace to deploy the integrated solution—they simply specified a few configuration settings then turned it on.

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Rackspace Powers Automated, Data-Driven Staffing with Calabrio ONE

CASE STUDY: Rackspace

Rackspace puts Calabrio’s WFM tool to work.


Rackspace’s proactive, results-obsessed approach to serving customers has helped it become—and remain—one of the world’s largest technology services providers. That same focus on differentiated customer service resulted in Rackspace’s implementation of the Calabrio ONE cloud platform. Today, Calabrio helps Rackspace maintain superior customer satisfaction and agent engagement by better managing support tickets and scheduling to ensure the right number of agents are available at the right time.
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Multiple Systems, Manual Processes Jeopardized Coveted Customer Satisfaction

Multiple disparate systems, applications and services riddled Rackspace’s customer service environment. Agents had no way to see a single queue of support tickets or map back to service level agreements (SLAs); managers were forced to forecast using an assortment of different tools. The result? Over-provisioning of agents during peak times.

“The previous process did not scale and definitely wasn’t a good use of our team’s time,” says Christine Kolbeson, senior manager of business operations at Rackspace. “It also lacked the adherence capabilities we needed.” In order to improve customer satisfaction and agent engagement, Rackspace knew it needed an automated, data-driven way to synthesize and manage support tickets, and guarantee the right number of agents were available at any
given time.

Standardizing on Calabrio ONE

While the Rackspace team could develop a model for obtaining the insights needed to make staffing and business decisions, they still needed to automate the model’s processes. After evaluating multiple workforce optimization (WFO) solutions, Rackspace ultimately chose Calabrio ONE based upon its ease of use; positive implementation experience; ability to customize inputs based on Rackspace’s operational model; ability to use APIs to integrate Calabrio ONE with solutions with which agents were already comfortable; and high ranking in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Workforce Engagement Management (WEM). “Calabrio is sophisticated but also easy to use,” explains Kolbeson. “Unlike other solutions we considered, we knew we wouldn’t have to waste six months just figuring out how to use it.”

Putting Calabrio WFM to Work

Rackspace worked closely with Calabrio’s implementation team to adapt Calabrio ONE to its unique operational model, resulting in improved agent adherence and increased customer satisfaction.

Custom application programming interfaces (APIs) pull tickets from disparate systems— including systems of newly acquired companies—into a Calabrio-powered, interactive service queue, where ticketing processes are measured against multiple SLA tiers, then adjusted as needed. As a result, Rackspace reduced queue backlogs by 41 percent and latency by 29 percent, and decreased ticket volumes by 7.5 percent since customers no longer need to call back regarding unresolved tickets. “This was a huge win for our team,” explains Chris West, WFO program manager for Rackspace. “We’ve improved our ticket latency times and phone answer rates because we have the right staff in place at the right time. Before Calabrio, a shift would get hammered with calls and tickets, and the next shifts would have to spend their time digging through that first shift’s queue backlog. And then it would start all over again. It was soul-crushing for our agents. Now, we can flatten out call patterns, so that doesn’t happen.”

Rackspace relies upon Calabrio Workforce Management (WFM) to help it better manage agent scheduling and skillsets, including automatically communicating scheduling changes, while empowering agents to self-manage. “Before Calabrio, we couldn’t report on adherence with any regularity or via any sort of standardized process,” says West. “Now, we’ve integrated our ACD with Calabrio, so we easily can report on irregular behavior and recommend changes. We’re delivering a better customer experience, and our customers know someone will be there when they need them.”

Calabrio WFM gives Rackspace much-needed insight into volume workload and the time required to complete each contact center interaction, so managers can create more accurate staffing forecasts across global support teams. In addition, Calabrio substantially reduces the time required for forecasting while improving forecasting accuracy. “We grew our accuracy rate to 96 percent as of April 2019,” says Kolbeson. “Now we have a much more accurate staffing model and a better idea, at any time, how the day is going.”

An Untraditional Business Model Demands a Unique Partnership

According to Kolbeson, “Our company is not traditional, so it was important to find a vendor to help us solve for the unique issues we would continue to encounter and ensure the solution can stand the test of time. Our partnership with Calabrio has been simply phenomenal, and it’s something we wouldn’t have been able to get with the other vendors we considered. Our program definitely wouldn’t be as successful as it is if we didn’t have that kind of relationship.”

West concurs, stating, “With other companies, you have to jump through hoop after hoop to get resolution. When we talk with Calabrio, the responses we receive are great, and the resolution is fast. Things that can be resolved quickly, are resolved quickly.”

Delighting “Rackers” and the Customers They Serve

Calabrio’s positive impact extends beyond Rackspace’s call center as well. “Employees at Rackspace are fondly referred to as ‘Rackers,’” explains Kolbeson. “And one of our company’s core values is ‘Friends and Family.’ By enabling us to make intelligent staffing decisions based on data-driven models, Calabrio helps us deliver Fanatical Experience™ to our customers while also improving our Rackers’ worklives. Agents don’t feel overwhelmed anymore, they don’t feel tethered to their desks, and they don’t feel guilty about taking a break. They’re happier, and happy agents deliver better customer service.”

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