Comparing Workforce Optimisation Options: All-in-One or Best-Fit Solution? – Calabrio (UK)
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Comparing Workforce Optimisation Options: All-in-One or Best-Fit Solution?

The working models, customer needs, and service operations that contact centres must embrace are increasingly complex. In turn, the complexity of modern-day workforce optimisation (WFO) tools is substantial.

As Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) vendors build out their own WFO portfolios, they are quickly coming to terms with this.

Indeed, some prominent CCaaS providers have yet to develop deep capabilities in each area of WFO.

Nevertheless, they have put the foundations in place, which is enough for many businesses. Moreover, each vendor’s marketing teams may harness these to attract prospective clients.

After all, native WFO offerings often appeal to businesses, especially those aiming to consolidate the contact centre stack. As such, many operations will request a demo, but if the need is for advanced solutions to complex scenarios, they may be left wanting more.

Yet, that is not to say that the WFO portfolios of CCaaS vendors do not have their place. They will meet the needs of many businesses. Therefore, weighing up which is the best option is sometimes tricky. Indeed, there are many cases for each.

Jim Davies, Former Principal Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) Analyst at Gartner, now Chief Experience Officer (CXO) at workforce performance company, Calabrio says:

It’s about making the right choice for each situation. You don’t need to drive a Ferrari for the weekly shop.

As Davies put his consulting hat on once more, CX Today sat down with him to examine the best options depending on different customer needs.


The case for Selecting Native WFO Tools from CCaaS Vendor

There are a handful of advantages to using the WFO tools available within a CCaaS platform, as opposed to a specialist suite. Here are three excellent examples.


1. The Price Differential

Native WFO portfolios often come as a bundle option, included within the CCaaS offering. As such, the price differential is sometimes significant.

As the solutions tend to be smaller and less complex, this drives the price point down further. This could be the deal maker for contact centres that have simpler operating models, tight budgets, or cost as a driving factor.


2. A Single Platform

CCaaS vendors offer oven-ready integrations to their native reporting tools and other contact centre systems. These make it straightforward for teams to gather the necessary data for workforce management (WFM) and QM.

Thanks to these native integrations, CCaaS providers may also develop a single user experience (UX) – across one app not two. Although as many contact centre vendors and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) providers converge on the space, there is much ironing out still to do to achieve that seamless, single-pane-of-glass experience.


3. The Potential for Optimal Routing

Finally, there is also the possibility for CCaaS vendors to combine their WFO and routing tools to create innovative strategies for passing customers to the most qualified agent.

Unfortunately, most CCaaS vendors are yet to experiment with this possibility. Although Jim underlines some of the future strategies that CCaaS players could employ.

Sharing a potential example, he says:

If the Quality Management (QM) solution suggests an agent is performing well on a particular type of enquiry the contact centre may send more of these incoming contacts to that rep.

Another example could involve an agent having only a couple minutes before their lunch break. The WFM tool could relay this to the routing system, which ensures the agent does not receive a potentially complex contact.

Such strategies may boost critical agent and customer KPIs. The catch is that very few CCaaS vendors currently combine WFO and routing tools in this way.


The Case for Choosing a WFO Suite from a Specialist Vendor

By building out their WFO portfolios, CCaaS vendors can support customers in new ways and add value to their proposition. Yet, sometimes their offerings simply do not fit the bill.

In mature mid-market or enterprise contact centres – which typically have many more requirements, lots of channels, and a keen agent empowerment focus – this is often the case.

The following four advantages of working with a specialist WFO vendor strengthen this argument.


1. Advanced Functionality and Agent Flexibility

The depth of sophistication within each WFO function is perhaps the most pressing benefit.

Take QM as an example. A specialist will automate contact scoring processes and draw actionable performance insights from those scores autonomously. Few CCaaS vendors do that.

Next, consider the evolution from WFO to Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) and the placement of a greater emphasis on employee wellbeing and engagement. As Davies states:

In terms of WEM, there has to be more sophistication around agent mobility, hybrid scheduling, and self-scheduling to meet the needs of the modern contact centre and fulfil agent work-life requirements.

Indeed, WFM is much more than generating a forecast or schedule. Most CCaaS providers haven’t yet added that extra layer on top of their WFO function to supercharge agent empowerment.


2. Increased Interoperability Between WEM and QM

The interoperability within a WFO suite, with each of the tools working together, helps providers unravel new WFM and QM strategies.

Davies shares an example of using quality scores to adapt agent schedules. “If the automated quality scores highlight that one particular agent works better in the afternoon, it is perhaps best to avoid giving them morning shifts,” he says.

Another example may involve an agent that performs better with contacts regarding Product A than Product B. If queries regarding Product A tend to arrive in the morning, the operation may offer that agent more early shifts to optimise performance.

“With these strategies available, WFO teams can take a much more granular approach to shift planning, factoring QM data into their decision making,” adds Davies.

Such use cases are more difficult for a CCaaS provider to replicate as they haven’t had the time and resources to build that layer of sophistication into the product.


3. Tight Integrations with Enterprise Systems

WFO data is relevant beyond the boundaries of the contact centre. As such, there is a growing demand from businesses to connect WFO tools with other enterprise systems.

Take a CRM solution as an example. It can pull in WFO data from customer call recordings, transcripts, and sentiment scores as part of each customer’s case history.

There are many other excellent instances too. Consider integrating WFO technology with a HR system too. Bringing agent performance data into that function may add considerable value.

Davies believes that this trend offers another differentiator for WFO providers. He concludes:

The all-in-one CCaaS provider will do a good job with in-house integrations, but they’ll be less proven in delivering WFO data to enterprise functions, which increasingly demand this information.


4. Centralizing Staff Management

Many enterprises implement contact centres across many locations. In an ideal world, they would each work with the same contact centre vendor, harnessing identical telephony.

Yet, the reality is that most big businesses employ various telephony solutions across many of these locations – as operations opt for the preferred contact centre provider in particular regions.

The result is that employing a centralised staff management system across the entire business is practically impossible with a single CCaaS-native WFO solution.

Thankfully, specialist WFO providers make this possible. “Providers, like Calabrio, can integrate those different telephony environments to centralise WFO across worldwide locations – regardless of the telephony provider,” adds Davies.

Such a strategy is also ideal for businesses that leverage outsourcers to handle customer queries, allowing them to pool together their agent population.

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Magnus Geverts is the Vice President of Product Marketing at Calabrio. He has over two decades of experience in the workforce engagement management and customer service space, working in a mix of roles and departments across the world: from R&D to consultancy to his role as Chief Business Development Officer at Teleopti. Today, he oversees Calabrio’s product go-to-market efforts. Magnus works closely with product line managers who shape the roadmap and strategies for the full Calabrio suite and oversees the product marketing team to offer software that enables users, engages frontline employees and elevates the end-customer experience.

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