Recently, I had the pleasure of both presenting at and listening in to several sessions at the recent Calabrio C3 Connect conference. That allowed me to immerse myself in the world of Workforce Management (WFM) and the contact center agent’s experience.
There were a couple of things that stood out for me at the conference. The first was some research findings from Paul Stockford, President of Saddletree Research.
They had found that when they asked contact center leaders about their post-pandemic work plans 71.4% of them stated that most, if not all, of their agents, would still be working from home (WFH) post-pandemic. This compared with only 3.6% that said that they expected to go back to their pre-pandemic mix of work from home agents.
Those same leaders also reported that they were seeing higher agent satisfaction (66.7%), better attendance (48.2%), more agents willing to work overtime (40.7%), reduced turnover (29.6%) and better schedule adherence (7.4%) as the main benefits of WFH.
Finally, technology and connectivity issues (64.3%), distractions at home (35.7%), adherence (32.1%), quality management (21.4%), scheduling (17.9%), attendance/absenteeism (7.2%) and escalation (7.1%) were identified as the biggest challenges that they had faced with managing a WFH workforce.
The research findings are fascinating, and they highlight the extent of the lasting shift in working patterns that are taking place right in front of us.
The second thing that stood out for me was the session delivered by Ed Creasey, Director of Pre-Sales at Calabrio, where he talked about the launch of their new Calabrio One suite and how it was ideally suited to meet both the preferences of a changing workforce, particularly a Gen-Z workforce, and the need for more flexibility in response to changing world.
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Equipped with a range of agent self-service tools as well as automated and predictive tools to help leaders with quality assurance, analytics, workflow optimization, forecasting and planning, Calabrio One appears capable of addressing both the needs of agents and the challenges facing contact centers as we enter into this new and different way of working.
Personally, I particularly like the self-service tools for agents.
Employees, particularly those that work in the customer service and support domain, deserve tools that are designed to help them do their jobs better and respond to the flexibility that is required to work effectively from home. Their customers would expect them to be equipped with these type of tools too as they will have an impact on the service they receive.
However, I hope that agents don’t suffer the same fate as many customers have.
For too long have customers asked for better self-service tools, but many companies stalled on implementing them, showing that there was a distinct gap between their customer-centric rhetoric and their actions.
The pandemic changed that, and many organizations have rushed to implement self-service tools to enable their customers to solve their simple but pressing problems. This, in turn, has helped them ameliorate the demand on their agents and drive higher customer satisfaction.
Here’s hoping that when agents and contact center leaders ask for tools like this for their employees that we don’t see another gap between organizational rhetoric and action emerge.