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WFO Bridges the Customer and Agent Experience


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Image: Andrey Popov -
Today, every piece of information needs to work together seamlessly. A comprehensive understanding of disparate metrics helps brands and employees stay ahead of evolving needs. Otherwise, they risk stagnation. This philosophy has driven a renaissance in customer experience (CX), with more and more businesses relying on it as core differentiator. In fact, research firm Gartner found that 74% of leaders expected a budget increase for CX initiatives this year.
That said, implementing a system of data collection, analysis, and action that focuses solely on the customer ignores a critical stakeholder: agents. Agents are, in many ways, the personification of a brand, working to ensure customer needs are met and loyalty fostered. It’s therefore critical to equally prioritize developing employee attributes such as emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and problem-solving so brands can elevate customer and agent experiences in equal measure. One simply cannot thrive without the other.
Having a workforce optimization (WFO) strategy that mirrors modern CX competencies can be the difference between good and exceptional customer experiences. Here’s how.
Personalized Training Approach
Customers expect deeply personalized experiences. In order to deliver on this expectation, modern CX platforms leverage existing customer context to inform future interactions — communication styles, preferences, etc. By capturing and analyzing individual needs, contact centers can curate perfectly tailored interactions. Similarly, for contact centers looking to improve their WFO, the same strategy applies to agent training.
Just as each customer has unique needs and problems to be solved — making a one-size-fits-all approach ineffective to driving customer satisfaction — each agent also has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. So why do so many contact centers take a one-size-fits-all approach to training? Often, time restraint is the culprit. In fact, 50% of agents receive less than two hours of ongoing training per month, and the majority of that time is spent on contact center processes.
With so little time available for ongoing training, it’s no surprise that contact centers tend to focus on the lowest-common-denominator functions, like contact center processes and tools, but this prevents agents from getting the individualized support they need. Integrating quality management analytics and performance management are simple, quick ways to glean a comprehensive view of where specific agents are thriving and where customized training would be opportune.
Eliminating Friction
Brands are hyper-focused on making customer experiences as effortless as possible, using additional channel offerings as one mechanism to reduce effort. But this tactic may be coming at a cost to agents in the form of stress — research shows that agents consider the number of channels they must balance as their second most common workplace stressor.
To help mitigate the anxiety additional channels might bring, agents need a simplified, easy-to-use solution that embraces the design features of many consumer-facing technologies. Otherwise, agents will spend excessive amounts of time getting a handle on the tools themselves — further compounding that stress and creating challenges for them.
When polled, 30% of agents claim that the number one challenge in achieving positive customer experiences is inadequate or hard-to-use systems. Whether that be juggling multiple chat windows, searching for customer-relevant information or even something as simple as submitting time-off requests, eliminating process friction gives agents time back to focus on high-impact customer needs.
Delivering the Right Information at the Right Time
Without data, it would be impossible to curate exceptional experiences for customers and agents alike. Information is fuel for agents to understand their customers and manage their own day-to-day activities. Without just-in-time performance insights, agents would be left in the dark related to both their customers’ experiences and their individual performance.
Just as your customers expect to receive up-to-the-minute updates on their queries, agents also expect real-time updates on their performance. From customer sentiment trends to individual performance metrics, being armed with this information allows agents to course-correct any inconsistencies as quickly as possible. With data at hand, agents can yield the most value out of any given situation.
Treating Agents as Customers
The contact center is what powers the relationship between brands and their customers. It is a resource, an experience engine that can foster lifelong customer advocacy. Deploying a comprehensive WFO solution that complements both the agent and customer experience is a powerful way to jumpstart any experience strategy.