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2014 ICMI RESEARCH RELEASED: Best Practices Guide to Workforce Optimization in Today's Contact Center

Report from the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) provides real-life examples, high-level direction, and practical technology recommendations for smarter workforce management.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Aug. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) has released its 2014 report, What's in Your WFO? Workforce Optimization for Today's Contact Center, a research-based guide to effective workforce practices.

Today's multichannel environment has created an overwhelming array of workforce management (WFM) challenges for contact center leaders: 

"As we continue to add channels – like social, chat, video, and SMS – while also increasing the complexity of our products and implementing new technologies, we often make the customer/agent experience very disjointed and complicated," says Justin Robbins, Content Director for ICMI. "Contact centers are struggling to unify information from their departments." 

The underlying goal remains the same – get the right number of properly skilled people and supporting resources in the right places, at the right times, doing the right things – but many centers are trying to operate workforce components like QA, forecasting, coaching, and performance management without proper integration or automation.

The Workforce Optimization Solution

In response to this crisis, ICMI teamed up with inContact in the second quarter of 2014 to conduct a research survey on workforce practices within contact centers. Using data gleaned from 394 respondents, including executives, directors, and managers, ICMI set about discovering where problems were occurring. 

Of the contact centers queried: 

  • 66% still manually tie together agent performance and operational data
  • 53% say the manual linking process of performance and operations is too time-consuming and needs automation
  • Only 7% say their agent scheduling process is extremely effective
  • While 28% support social as a customer care channel, only 8% quality monitor social interactions

Contact center leaders are aware change is needed. Many are actively looking to unify their reporting, improve analytics to identify service recovery opportunities, and develop more interoperability between systems.

Fortunately, these goals are achievable. In What's in Your WFO? Workforce Optimization for Today's Contact Center, the authors breakdown the components of successful WFO into eight key areas:

  1. Workforce Management
  2. Quality Management
  3. Audio Recording and Screen Capture
  4. Analytics
  5. Performance Management
  6. Coaching
  7. Training and eLearning
  8. Voice of the Customer

Each section contains an analysis of current practices, real-life examples of technology and automation, and targeted advice on improving operations. Also included are Best Practice and Expert Spotlight articles from two of ICMI's top experts: The Business of Workforce Management by Brad Cleveland, and Quality is not Dead by Justin Robbins.

"The busier and more complex we make the customer experience, the more important it is to exercise the functions of workforce optimization," Robbins notes. "WFO can sound daunting, but if leaders are willing to implement best practices, work with current service providers (CRM, WFM, call recording), and consider new technology partners, results are readily achievable!"  

In tandem with the ICMI guide, inContact is offering a free whitepaper, It's the Year of the Agent!, featuring a portion of the study results.

About inContact

inContact helps call centers around the globe create profitable customer experiences through its powerful portfolio of cloud-based call center software solutions. The company's services and solutions enable call centers to operate more efficiently, optimize the cost and quality of every customer interaction, create new pathways to profit and ensure ongoing customer-centric business improvement and growth.

About ICMI

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) is the leading global provider of comprehensive resources for customer management professionals -- from frontline agents to executives -- who wish to improve customer experiences and increase efficiencies at every level of the contact center. Since 1985, ICMI has helped more than 50,000 organizations in 167 countries through training, events, certification, consulting, and informational resources. ICMI's experienced and dedicated team of industry insiders, trainers, and consultants are committed to helping you raise the strategic value of your contact center, optimize your operations and improve your customer service. For more information, visit www.icmi.com. ICMI is a part of UBM (www.ubm.com), a global live media and B2B communications, marketing service and data provider (LSE:UBM).

SOURCE International Customer Management Institute (ICMI)

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