Evaluating if the integration between your WFM & CX platform will be a big “Yes” | Calabrio
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Evaluating if the integration between your WFM & CX platform will be a big “Yes”

Join Dave Hoekstra, WFM Evangelist, as he enters the realm of customer service integrations. If you’re interested to discover the integration potential between your existing platforms and a new WFM solution, Dave offers Calabrio’s four key considerations.

In today’s digital world, there are so many options to deal with. We are constantly bombarded with choices as to which product will suit our needs. The options that are available to us in our personal lives are staggering, but the same conundrum applies in the customer service world. It is not uncommon to have completely different software solutions for phone calls, chats, emails, and CRM cases. In some instances, that can be four or five different vendors to manage, with four or five different reporting structures. When evaluating potential vendors, did any of these questions come up in your contact center?

  • Which communication platform should we use to manage our inbound calls?
  • Does that platform handle chat and emails too, or will we need a different platform to handle those?
  • Will the platform integrate with our current software, such as CRM, surveys, or call recording/Quality Monitoring?
  • What happens if we buy something and it won’t integrate?

One question that is often overlooked during the process might be one of the most important:

  • Will this platform integrate with my Workforce Management software?

At Calabrio, we are often asked if we can integrate with a platform that is already established. Once the platform is in place and running, it is usually not an option to change the platform simply to ensure integration with a potential WFM solution, so the question now turns to:

  • Can Calabrio Teleopti WFM integrate with Platform “X”?

The good news is that the answer to this question is almost always “yes.” Whether we are talking about a well-established platform that has been in the contact center space for years (for example, a mammoth company that has made ACD software for 30 years) or a new, cutting edge CRM platform that is just entering the customer service field.

So how does Calabrio approach the question of integration? To just say “yes” is easy, but it quickly falls apart if there is nothing to back up such an answer. There are consequently several factors that play into answering “Yes.” So, you can understand your WFM integration potential better, here are the important factors that Calabrio considers before answering, “Yes, we can integrate with that!

1. Determine if the data is accessible.

Usually, the answer is yes, but there are situations where we simply cannot get the proper data that we need for the integration. A good example of this is if you use an off-the-shelf email program to answer your customer service emails. If that program does not track how many emails you receive and provide some sort of reporting, you have to resort to manually counting all emails. For most well-established software platforms, this isn’t an issue, but for some platforms that are newer on the market, things can get a little more difficult. A good rule of thumb is if you can run a report that shows how many interactions were received, especially by interval, you are in pretty good shape for an integration.

2. Find out how to get that information into your WFM software.

There are several tried and true methods of getting data out of your platform, but it all depends on the capability of the platform. We might be talking about flat file transfers, API connections, XML, or ODBC (database queries), but usually, if we can get information out of the platform systematically, things are looking up. Calabrio has integration experts that can help determine the right way to extract data from your platform and get it accurately into the WFM solution.

3. Consider exactly what you are trying to count.

With phone systems, this is easy. We are counting how many phone calls came in during a specific interval. But with complex databases like CRM, POS systems or banking systems, things get a little messier. Are we counting the number of cases that are opened, or does it make sense to count closed cases? What about cases that are opened, put on hold, and reopened several times over the course of a week? How many customers came into your store, or should we count total transactions? If you are having trouble answering these questions, so will a vendor like Calabrio. Understanding what needs to be tracked can be an integral part of creating a strong integration.

4. Ask the big question: is the integration worth the time and expense?

Sometimes, the answer is no. Maybe you don’t have a lot of employees handling that type of media, so a full integration might not provide the full benefit of a larger deployment. In that case, we might recommend manually entering the data into Calabrio Teleopti WFM using our easy import methods. Instead of the software doing the work for you, entering the data into a template and adding to Calabrio Teleopti WFM might be the smarter path, and it is easy to do! Discussing these options with a Calabrio representative might save you a lot of time, money, and headache. But if you see a certain channel is a huge source of customer demand and pull on employee resources, then it is worth creating the groundwork for higher automation, greater accuracy and lower effort in the long run.

Rest assured, if your data exists, you can probably integrate your WFM solution with it. It’s certainly a probability with Calabrio; we have out-the-box integration options to many platforms whether communication, CRM, or QM etc. Understanding the how and why of integrations can really assist in the decision-making process. Calabrio is always willing to assist in reaching those goals but knowing what makes sense before you start the journey can make the journey a pain-free process.

Dave Hoekstra has spent his entire professional career in customer service, but it wasn’t until he found WFM that he found his true passion. With over 20 years in WFM, Dave has gained insight into the real world challenges of working in today’s customer service. He is one of the few people who truly gets excited when someone wants to talk about Real Time Adherence or Net Staffing reports.
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