- A hybrid contact center creates management challenges such as reduced visibility for remote employees
- Workforce optimization solutions increase visibility, ensure adequate staffing, and resolve performance issues
- Combined with a cloud communications platform, workforce optimization solutions enable a more productive contact center
As society begins to recover from the pandemic, it’s now safer for employees to return to the office. Yet, not everyone wants to, and it also might not be the best fit for all employees. How can contact centers accommodate employees who want to be back in the office as well as those who prefer to work remotely?
The hybrid contact center is the answer to this issue. This post explores how you can optimize your workforce under a hybrid arrangement.
What does “workforce optimization” mean?
“Workforce optimization” refers to optimizing employee performance and engagement. There are two main components:
- The day-to-day work of managing people
- Technological solutions that help you implement management best practices
Why workforce optimization matters in a hybrid contact center
With some employees working on-site and others working from home, how can you ensure everyone is getting all of their tasks done? Moreover, how can you make certain that you’re adequately staffed?
A hybrid work environment might offer employees the flexibility they need, but it creates a situation in which managers lack visibility.
Moreover, hybrid work environments create two classes of employees: those who are on-site and connected to their on-site colleagues and supervisors, and those who work remotely, who are isolated from their on-site peers and managers. The remote employees may not feel that they receive the same coaching, guidance, and encouragement because their managers aren’t literally looking over their shoulders.
That’s where workforce optimization comes into play. It gives managers visibility into what remote employees are doing and helps them connect to their managers.
How do workforce optimization solutions work?
Workforce optimization solutions have a number of functions that help a contact center run smoothly. These functions include:
- Building a schedule that ensures adequate coverage
- Assessing omnichannel analytics
- Identifying performance issues
- Making it easy for coaches to provide feedback
- Centralizing performance information to save managers time and effort
- Motivating agents with reward through gamification features
Build schedules that ensure adequate coverage with WFO software
Before agents had the ability to work remotely (or before COVID-19 forced agents to work from home), managers only had to worry about ensuring the contact center was staffed properly. A hybrid work environment means you have to make sure on-site employees come into work as well as the set of agents who work remotely.
WFO software includes a workforce management component, so you can plan shifts for optimal coverage (both for availability as well as for skill sets). With workforce management tools, you don’t have to worry that you don’t have enough people on-site and working remotely.
Assessing omnichannel analytics with WFO software
Omnichannel analytics might sound as though it’s a function of marketing, but it’s actually closely tied to contact center performance.
Today’s contact centers offer more than one channel for customers to connect to agents. By analyzing interactions, managers can understand what kind of customer service agents provide through chat, telephony, and video. WFO software utilizes keyword and sentiment analysis, so managers understand whether the contact center is garnering compliments or complaints and why.
Identify performance issues with WFO software
It’s easy to identify when an on-site employee has performance issues; all managers need to do is walk around the contact center floor to overhear conversations or look over someone’s shoulder at a live chat. That’s not an option with remote employees; managers don’t have visibility into what they’re doing. You might not find out there’s a performance issue until you start seeing customer retention levels drop.
Market-leading WFO software allows managers to monitor agent performance for agents working on-site and remotely. Additionally, managers will have insight into telephone and on-screen interactions, be they video or text.
Agent monitoring helps managers detect performance issues before they spiral out of control. This feature also allows managers to recognize employees who are doing exemplary work and reward them for it.
Make it easy to provide feedback with WFO software
Identifying a performance issue is the first step to fixing a problem (or recognizing good work). Providing feedback is the second step. Remote agents can feel adrift if they don’t receive clear, actionable advice.
The right WFO software features scoresheets so managers can accurately assess performance and break down areas for improvement if necessary. When WFO software integrates with contact center solutions, managers can connect with remote agents through video, phone, or chat for one-on-one interactions.
Centralize performance information to save managers time and effort with WFO software
When managing a hybrid contact center, you’re responsible for tracking the performance information for on-site and remote agents. It can quickly become complex and error-ridden if you’re not doing it properly. You need to keep performance information for all of your agents in a central location so it’s easy to reference and analyze.
WFO software provides the performance information you need at a glance. It centralizes performance information in one place so it’s easy to see overall contact center performance as well as how individual agents are doing.
Motivate agents with rewards through WFO software gamification features
Who said that work can’t be fun? Agents need the motivation to stay engaged and deliver an excellent customer experience.
That’s where gamification comes into the picture. Gamification uses game techniques (such as competition, teamwork, and rewards) in non-game settings so those settings become more engaging. In a contact center, agents can earn badges and rewards for meeting goals. Managers can set those goals (for example, employees who raise first contact resolution rates will receive a prize).
Optimize your hybrid contact center with RingCentral
RingCentral’s WFO software helps supervisors effectively manage on-site and remote employees through agent monitoring, omnichannel analytics, coaching, centralized performance information, and gamification. To learn more, get a demo.
Originally published Nov 19, 2021, updated Nov 03, 2023