Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
November 01, 2012
Contact Center Technology Improves the Back Office, Creating Complete Visibility
By Amanda Ciccatelli, TMCnet Web Editor
Today, contact center technology offers the ability to improve back office functions like workforce management (WFM), sharing customer data, self-service, integrated desktops, and creating visibility. Back office performance management and workforce optimization (WFO) have had a history of being problematic because of difficulty in measuring processes and limited agent performance visibility. But, this has changed due to the recent capability of WFO solutions that can measure activity, schedule staff and even provide performance metrics within the call center.
According to a recent Call Center Helper article, screen capture is a key aspect of the back-office used to measure the handling time for each process, enabling a staffing requirement to be calculated based on the back office service level goals. This helps to forecast volumes and scheduling staff.
“Gone are the days when back office was seen as the poor relation in terms of process management and improvement,” David Evans, WFO consultant at Business Systems Ltd told Call Center Helper. “Solutions exist where the dual benefit of improved efficiency and enhanced customer service are available and enterprise planning is becoming the norm.”
Typically, organizations operate two customer data sets with two pictures of the same transaction or customer, resulting in errors, delays and unnecessary paperwork. Customer data cannot be shared effectively without combined front and back office business processes. So, straight-through processing is essential in order to get rid of administrative overheads and process duplication, according to Evans.
Multiple interruptions for small queries can be disruptive to the back office operation, and many inbound enquiries may be sent to voicemail, or the contact center staff may be asked to take a message. “These calls are often notifications, questions or queries that can be resolved more efficiently using self-service voice forms to capture this information,” explained Richard Farrell of Netcall (News - Alert).
This data can then be fed through to the back office systems, creating a solution for the agent and the customer and isn’t disruptive to the back office operations.
“One of the challenges faced by staff is that they have to work with many different systems and applications. As a result, their messy screens resemble 'desktips' not desktops,” said Ken Reid of Rostrvm (News - Alert) Solutions. “They need these applications to perform their roles, but the technology tends to hamper their performance.”
All in all, the key to running an efficient contact center is visibility across multiple locations, platforms, technologies, versions and vendors. For instance, inbound and outbound VoIP calls traverse multiple devices, which are under your control in the back office/network operations center and some won’t.
“Within your network you can follow the progress of a call as it traverses your operational domains, helping to reduce blame and identify what the quality of the call is. This helps you address any issues more quickly with your service provider, and reduces mean time to resolution,” said Sue Bradshaw, technology writer at Integrated Research (News - Alert).
In the case of a multi-channel contact center, systems staff can have insight into the performance and availability of every piece of hardware, interconnection, process and application, giving them the ability to address anomalies.
Edited by Jamie Epstein