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Calabrio and Genesys Announce Timely Agent Tools

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A tired contact center agent
Image: Andriy Popov - Alamy Stock Photo
The great resignation continues. In the U.S., more than 90 people quit their job every minute. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over four million quit their jobs in each of the last five months of 2021. Combine that information with the fact that — even before the pandemic — the average attrition rate for contact center workers was two times that of other occupations, and it is not surprising that customer service executives are experiencing higher year-over-year agent attrition.
 
The good news is that contact center and workforce engagement management companies are rising to the challenge. This week, Calabrio expanded its existing workforce management solution, and Genesys added a partner product to help companies enhance the agent experience. Each is discussed below.
 
Agent Self-Scheduling from Calabrio
Today, Calabrio announced an extension of the self-scheduling features available in Calabrio Workforce Management (WFM). The new capabilities allow agents more freedom to create their ideal work-life balance, while allowing contact centers to keep control of overall staffing levels.
 
If you are an agent at a company that uses Calabrio, what can you do now that you couldn’t do before? Agents can now add work hours on either unscheduled or scheduled days. Let’s say you are a part-time worker but need some extra cash. You can go to agent app, see where there is a need for agents, and sign up for more hours. You can also make partial-day shift trades with other agents.
Self-scheduling feature
 
The new capabilities are in addition to Calabrio’s existing self-scheduling features, including:
  • Automatically move lunches or breaks, for that day or any of the following seven days, through self-service, based on predefined rules (e.g., labor rules).
  • Access voluntary time-off or overtime opportunities using Grant, the Calabrio virtual assistant.
  • Trade entire shifts – this can be configured to be approved with or without team leader intervention.
  • See the probability of their absence or overtime request being approved without having to contact a supervisor.
In a telephone interview with Magnus Geverts, VP, product marketing at Calabrio, I asked how self-scheduling helps in a world where there are too many calls and not enough agents? Traditionally, the notion that the customer comes first has prevailed. It would seem to me agents would never be able to get free time. But Geverts answered that Calabrio has customers who are saying, “My customers are really important, but my employees are also really important. I can't afford to lose my agents. So, I am ready to take some understaffing to allow agents to get a bit of freedom.” In the world of contact centers, that is a radical change in thinking.
 
Geverts also shared actual agent quotes on the impact agent self-scheduling is having at contact centers that are already using the capabilities during our conversation. Here are two of them:
  • “Next week, we will have a visit at the office from a colleague who is on parental leave, and myself and three colleagues have moved our lunches, so we can all eat together.”
  • “Sometimes I’m hungry already at 11 a.m. but don’t have lunch scheduled until after 12 p.m. ... It’s nice that you can move your lunch to an earlier time.”
Calabrio Self-Scheduling offers businesses the ability to better tackle agent stress while also giving agents the work-time flexibility they need to focus on customer service excellence. In its press release, Calabrio refers to today’s announcement as the first phase of its new Self-Scheduling feature set. Having heard a bit of the roadmap, it’s safe to say more good things are coming.
 
Genesys and Thrive Promote Agent Well-Being
Genesys announced this week that Thrive will be added as an AppFoundry partner in March. Thrive is a behavior change technology company founded by syndicated columnist and businesswoman Arianna Huffington. Thrive’s Microsteps – small, science-backed steps to improve health and productivity – have been adopted by employees at more than 100 organizations in over 40 countries, from frontline and contact center workers to executives at multinational companies.
 
Reset is the specific microstep that will be offered to Genesys Cloud CX customers once the partnership goes live. As seen in the graphic, instead of another interaction, agents will periodically be sent a Thrive Reset, described as a 60-second break to concentrate on breathing, gratitude, stretching, and mindfulness. The goal is to help agents become less stressed, more connected, and – as Genesys CEO Tony Bates states in the press release, “shift the way businesses use technology to create personalized, empathetic employees’ experiences.”
 
The Thrive app
 
For video meeting fatigue, Thrive is available in the Cisco DevNet Ecosystem Exchange for Webex and in the Zoom App Marketplace.
 
Navigate to the Thrive website, and you are greeted with this provocative phrase, “Employee well-being is no longer a benefit. It's a strategy.” Much as we’d love to believe that companies always have the best interests of their employees uppermost, it doesn’t always feel that way to said employees.
 
No matter what you call it — The Great Resignation, The Great Retirement, or The Great Renegotiation – the power has shifted to workers in the past few months. Solutions like those described here are designed to help companies keep existing agents and attract new ones.

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