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Is the back office ready for Workforce Management?

Is the back office ready for Workforce Management?

Workforce management tools and software have a very well established market in today’s call-centre industry, where the art of planning for inbound telephony has evolved to a point where a workforce management tool is essential for achieving the high levels of service and efficiency demanded in today’s market. However there is a lot going on in the background of customer-facing entities of a business, which directly affect how their customers interact with the business.

In this blog, Puzzel (formerly Intelecom) explores the topic of workforce management in the back office and the technology options available to make this function as effective as possible.

In recent years the need to focus on efficiency in the back office is becoming more and more evident, as contact centres come to the peak of their front office evolution and see the next step forward is to reduce traffic, and understand that the way to achieve this is through concepts such as one-call resolution and reduction of lead times in back office processing.

Is your back office a black office?

It is very common (too common) that back offices do not have the adequate tools for monitoring and data collection, often relying on inefficient and inaccurate manual processes due to the lack of technology. In the evolution of this side of the contact centre business, there is a growing need and appetite for software to reduce the dependence on these methods, moving from paper based work to electronic methods. This slow transformation opens opportunity to introduce new tools to support these strategic changes back offices go through.

How much do we know of what really is going on with productivity? How many back offices still rely on 5 bar gates or tally marks to count volumes of work? How often are employees asked to time their work? Surprisingly many back offices still rely on this ineffective method to determine their capacity model. And how efficient is a capacity model in the first place? It might be a good high-level method to determine your staffing requirements, however a key element is missing in that method to determine accurately the capacity required which is when work should be handled. Without including when work arrives and by when it should be handled, and subsequently when employees should be scheduled to efficiently handle this work, especially in a back office where there are myriads of processes, skills, media and tasks, it is difficult to be able to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness. This is where a workforce management tool can help a business gain visibility and control to achieve their strategic goals that will influence everyone in the contact centre and the customer journey as a whole.

What is the right workforce management tool for a back office?

It is obvious that a tool designed for a telephony only environment will not fit the mould for the back office, with many mainstream WFM (Workforce Management) software providers in the market offering just that, one must be weary of exactly what is one buying into. There are critical limitations to some of these vendor’s products, which reduce the tool in the back office as a simple scheduling tool. The complexities and uniqueness of the requirements a WFM product must meet is widely misunderstood, partly because most WFM experts and vendors come from having a pure front office background.

The limitations sources itself from the basic difference on how the workflow happens in the back office, work that comes in does not necessarily have to be handled immediately as it does not abandon, processing time can be from minutes to hours to days and completion goals can extend across days or even weeks, or simply by a deadline.

Puzzel Cloud Workforce Management offers a tool from Verint that has proven success in back office implementations, setting itself apart from all others due to its capabilities specifically designed for the back office.

What will a workforce management tool bring to the back office?

Has the business nurtured a culture of flex time due to not having insight on the impact this may have? Are workers coming earlier to work because there is always a backlog to work from? This culture has developed because of the underlying lack of effective scheduling, however the inefficiency is feeding the backlog that makes this culture necessary. With WFM, a business will see how accurate forecasting, with arrival patterns and accurate calculations of staffing requirements based on completion times or deadlines, and subsequently effective scheduling can help reduce the staffing requirements.

WFM also provides tools to enable the back office business to capture and analyse data accurately, or allow integrations with compatible workflow systems to import all the data necessary to support an all-round forecasting and scheduling tool that will bring the contact centre to its next step of evolution. Businesses will benefit from a tool that will help achieve the strategic goals of increasing efficiency, cutting costs and improving the customer experience.

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