Roger Lee

Roger Lee
Roger Lee, aka Dr. WFO, is an evangelist for Workforce Optimization and influences the strategic direction for our Qfiniti product suite. He brings 20+ years of industry experience managing contact centers, consulting and selling to contact centers. Roger's broad experience, coupled with an infectious passion for customer care, gives him a distinctive perspective that is always valuable. Roger advocates for balance, regularly touting the necessity for equal focus on people, process, and technology throughout all customer service initiatives.

Disrupt Yourself – Personalized Marketing in the age of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR

In early March, as part of an overall webinar titled New EU Policies Will Transform Business Practices across the Organization: Get Ready for the GDPR, I had the opportunity to deliver a mini-presentation on how marketing will change once the GDPR goes into effect on May 25, 2018. Imagine just one year to ensure compliance?  It seems a year is a lot of time but in reality it isn’t. And if you think this only applies to EU firms, remember that this affects any company processing the personal information of EU citizens. The purpose of this blog is not to provide exhaustive detail about the extensive regulation, but to remind you of your options, and to provide thoughts and considerations for marketing personalization under the GDPR. With any regulation, organizations can make one of the following decisions: Ignore it – Ignore the GDPR and continue to provide customized offers without consent Avoid it – Cancel specific marketing programs; we just can’t do these anymore Embrace it – Find a better way and implement tools to drive marketing content including upsell/cross selling Logic tells me that you will select embracing this regulation and as you are going through your change cycle you will get to stage 5 – Understanding to Awareness – quicker than you imagine. So in other words, you will need to disrupt yourself in order to embrace the change. Customers Want It With that being said, let’s talk about specifics. A recent study found that 90 percent of consumers have privacy concerns, but seek highly personalized and tailored customer service. Personalization is key to modern customer experiences and customers will make purchases and loyalty decisions based on the level of individualized service they receive. In order to continue to deliver personalization within the realm of GDPR, marketing must continue to develop the appropriate campaigns, messaging etc. to their target audience, keeping in mind that the audience has provided the appropriate consent. CX is Worth It Delivering a seamless and connected Customer Experience is becoming the most effective way to market your products and services. Marketing tactics we all embraced 10 years ago have been replaced with the internet of service ushered in by social media over the past 5 years. This suggests that good customer service is now at least as valuable as good marketing. Or better stated, good customer experience is good marketing. Today’s consumers don’t want to be sold to; they refuse to yield the power. The unique selling proposition has been replaced with the unique buying proposition. The table has completely turned. I encourage you to visit the resources below to learn more about GDPR and how we can help. The first resource contains a recorded webcast as mentioned above that you can view and learn at a high level what the GDPR is and detail about the regulations. In the webcast, I provide a brief presentation titled GDPR and the Future of Marketing. Pay attention to two areas that I cover: 1. Personalization with Consent and, 2. Consent Driven Personalized Experiences. The second resource provides a GDPR overview, information regarding how our solutions can help with the GDPR. Finally, the third resource provides information on our customer experience management portfolio. We will continue to provide additional information to help you prepare for the GDPR. May, 25, 2018 seems a long way off but time does fly by and you need to be ready. Until next time… Resources: http://www.opentext.com/campaigns/99challenges/comply-with-regulations http://www.opentext.com/what-we-do/business-needs/information-governance/ensure-compliance/gdpr-are-you-ready http://www.opentext.com/what-we-do/products/customer-experience-management

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OpenText WFO Video Series: What Tools Demonstrate Impact to Executives?

WFO video series

In my previous blog in this series for Question 3: How can the contact center align with the top priorities of executive leadership?, I started my comments with a quote from my favorite guru, Yoda: ““Do or do not. There is no try.” And I’m back to tell you that this bit of wisdom applies when it comes to the tools you need to implement to share the value of the contact center across your organization. To make my point, first let me suggest that you listen to what Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting, has to say about tools that are available in the contact center: “If you’re looking for one version of the truth and a way to align the goals of the contact center with those of the enterprise, then you’re going to want to use something called contact center performance management or CCPM.” Donna explains that this tool allows contact center leaders to quantify their performance and report into enterprise performance management (EPM) or corporate performance management (CPM) systems. This is important because, once the KPIs that executive leaders consider to be essential are agreed upon, they can be reported and shared throughout the organization on a timely basis. Speech analytics is a second tool that Donna considers to be essential in your effort to prove the value of contact center activities to executive leaders: “…there’s a lot of value in sharing that information [discovered in call recordings] because the contact center covers topics related to the entire organization, so it has insights into what happens throughout the organization.” This is definitely a “do, not try” contact center tool that you should put into place. And if you’re not already aware, speech analytics is one of the core technologies in the OpenText workforce optimization (WFO) suite – check out OpenText™ Explore to learn more. When it comes to tools at our disposal as contact center leaders, it’s not just about technology according to Donna: “Companies should use that [speech analytics] information to create change management programs, which is also one of the really effective tools that contact center leaders should be sharing and using with the enterprise.” I couldn’t agree more. What Donna is suggesting here – and what each of the other speakers in this series also emphasize – is that management tools are critical components of any effort to increase contact awareness within your organization. Jason Goodroe mentions surveys, focus groups…and skip-level meetings as critical to the success of the contact center initiatives that he leads at Aflac. Back in the day when I was a contact center leader, I also used skip-level meetings to effectively bridge the communication gap between management and executive leadership. Here’s an unabashed bit of self promotion: in my commentary, I explain how skip-level meetings can come in many different forms. The bottom line here is that you need to step into the role of contact center leader by getting beyond “try” and reach “do” by making your contact center an essential and valuable hub of employee and customer engagement By now you should be aware that our OpenText™ WFO Software Video Series features a number of contact center experts sharing invaluable advice on how to make this all happen. So please take advantage of the insights offered in these short video clips to hear what the others have to say about this important topic. In all, our speakers provide their insight related to eight questions about driving awareness of the contact center within your organization, and they explain why this should be of interest to every contact center agent, supervisor, manager and executive: What defines a positive customer experience? Why should customer experience be a top enterprise goal? How can the contact center be positioned as a leader in customer experience? How can the contact center align with the top priorities of executive leadership? What’s the best way to coordinate contact center goals with other business units? What performance goals resonate most with executive leadership? What other tools demonstrate contact center impact to the executive team? What are some lessons learned about reporting to the executive team? I also encourage you to join the conversation by using the “Get in Touch with a WFO Expert” form on the Video Series pages, or by commenting on our Video Series blog posts.  I do hope that you’re enjoying all of the insightful advice available in our 2017 Video Series, and you should also know that there’s a previous series that’s available, too. Check it out and learn how interaction analytics can have a huge impact on your contact center and business. It’s always a pleasure sharing with you. I hope you’ll reach out and keep in touch.

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OpenText WFO Video Series: What Performance Goals Resonate Most With Executive Leadership?

WFO Video Series

I’m really excited to write about this sixth question being asked as part of our OpenText™ WFO 2017 Video Series because it’s a question I’m often asked when meeting with customers and other contact center professionals. It’s also a question that our expert panel of speakers are dealing with in their professions, some are well-respected industry analysts and others highly successful practitioners. It’s a privilege to have their expertise to share with you. Today’s contact center leaders understand how important it is to gain the support of executive leaders in order to secure the necessary resources, technologies and budgets required to hit mandated KPIs. But that’s no easy task when the contact center is focused on metrics that are not well understood or even considered business-critical in the C-suite. So here’s the question again: what contact center goals or metrics resonate most with the leaders who make the high-level strategic business decisions and who control the purse strings? Keith Dawson, Principal Analyst at Ovum in knows that it’s important to distinguish between “activity metrics” and “outcome metrics.” Here’s how Keith describes the difference in the second of his two video clips on the topic: “Contact centers have been asked to report on how many, how often, how many minutes, how many calls, how many agents, etc. This is all well and good, it will never go away, and we’ll always be using these numbers…but the reports [executives] get should be related to customer feelings, customer sentiments, customer experiences. How much friction did that person encounter, how many transfers were there, how many contact channels did a person come in on? Are we able to relate what one person did on one channel to what a customer did on another channel? Was there effort expended by the customer in moving from one channel to another?” Those “how much and how many” metrics are, of course the activity metrics, and as Keith reminds us, few if any executives fully understand or actually even care about this level of detail when it comes to contact center operations. Rather, executives are concerned with the outcome metrics, as well they should be. The goal – and the way to earn the support of executive leaders – is to work with them to develop the infrastructure and analytic capabilities that can “paint a picture of a customer not just as a series of transactions, but as a person with a potential to do business with you in certain ways.” Yes, easier said than done. But Keith also makes the point in his first video clip related to this question that it’s important “to stand up and take the risks that are necessary to make sense of a very complicated operational environment.” This is so true. The other experts on our 2017 panel offer their own take on reporting up to executive leaders, so I encourage you to take a moment and listen to what the others have to say about this question – and all the others. In all, our speakers provide their insight related to eight important questions about driving awareness of the contact center within your organization and explain why this should be of interest to every contact center agent, supervisor, manager and executive: What defines a positive customer experience? Why should customer experience be a top enterprise goal? How can the contact center be positioned as a leader in customer experience? How can the contact center align with the top priorities of executive leadership? What’s the best way to coordinate contact center goals with other business units? What performance goals resonate most with executive leadership? What other tools demonstrate contact center impact to the executive team? What are some lessons learned about reporting to the executive team? You can join the conversation by using the “Get in Touch with a WFO Expert” form on the Video Series pages, or by commenting on our Video Series blog posts: Question 1, authored by Steve Graff Question 2, from Alan Porter Question 3, by me, aka Dr. WFO Question 4, by Matthew Storm Question 5, posted by Brian Hardyman On behalf of the entire OpenText WFO Software team, I hope that you’re enjoying our 2017 Video Series. There’s also a previous series that’s available, too. Check it out and learn how interaction analytics can have a huge impact on your contact center and business. Thanks for reading through this blog. I hope you’ll reach out and keep in touch.

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OpenText WFO Video Series: How can the contact center be positioned as a leader in customer experience?

“Do or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda If you are a Star Wars fan as I am, then Yoda’s quote should resonate with you. So why do I quote Yoda when thinking about this third question posed to our distinguished panel of WFO (workforce optimization) analysts and practitioners for the OpenText™ WFO 2017 Video Series? Well, let me explain with a real-world example. I recently spoke with an executive from a 100-plus-year-old product- and services-based organization that has transformed itself from being an inbound, order taking, issue resolution company to one that now thrives with an outbound contact center which generates over 95% of the company’s total revenues. Think about this for a moment and imagine that your primary product is declining in usage due competition from other more cost-effective options. Consumers still use your product but at a much reduced rate. To reverse this trend, your overall go to market strategy must change. Yes, your consumers know you have other offerings that could be of value to them, but your business model needs to radically change to leverage the feedback and promote an end-to-end supply and service model. Yet cultural and infrastructure transformations of this magnitude are not easily undertaken. In the case I mention above, this transformation was accomplished because one executive sponsor, the vice president of customer experience, had the vision and determination to advocate within the C-suite for leveraging his organization’s contact center as a strategic weapon. Donna Fluss, President of DMG Consulting and offering advice in the first of two short commentaries on this topic, fully understands that “If you want to consistently deliver an outstanding customer experience, most organizations are going to need to change their culture.” Easier said than done, of course, but in a second clip Donna offers seven critical steps that contact center leaders and business executives should undertake to seriously pursue the goal of delivering a truly outstanding customer experience. After listening to her first commentary, you’ll find it easy to view this second clip, so I will let Donna speak for herself. However, let me offer up one other well-known quote: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It took time for the company I mentioned above to achieve the desired outcomes. Many conversations and interactions with consumers had to take place in order to better understand their expectations, and then, as they changes were made based on customer feedback, success stories from the contact centers were communicated throughout the organization. New opportunities were identified. A continuous effort was made to promote and celebrate the value of the contact center accomplishments. Significantly, while the transformation initiative was taking place, the customer service representatives, supervisors, managers and site leaders all continued to provide the best possible customer experience as they worked to reach their ultimate goal of exceeding customer expectations. There are more inspiring examples and words of wisdom to hear about from the other expert speakers on this year’s Video Series. In all, our speakers answer eight important questions about driving awareness of the contact center within your organization and explain why this should be of interest to every contact center agent, supervisor, manager and executive: What defines a positive customer experience? Why should customer experience be a top enterprise goal? How can the contact center be positioned as a leader in customer experience? How can the contact center align with the top priorities of executive leadership? What’s the best way to coordinate contact center goals with other business units? What performance goals resonate most with executive leadership? What other tools demonstrate contact center impact to the executive team? What are some lessons learned about reporting to the executive team? And continue the conversation by using the “Get in Touch with a WFO Expert” form on the Video Series pages, or by commenting on our Video Series blog posts below. Steve Graff’s blog provides his perspective on what defines a positive customer experience. And Alan Porter’s blog offers an overview of the commentary about why customer experience should be a top enterprise goal. Enjoy. Roger Lee, aka Dr. WFO

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3 Tips to Gain Mindshare for Your Contact Center

Contact Center

One of my favorite discussion topics with OpenText WFO customers and other contact center professionals is about the internal brand perception of the contact center within any organization. Contact center brand perception? Yes, exactly. Every enterprise contact center is perceived differently by other business units and C-level executives depending on how the company approaches its customers and markets. Is the company strictly bottom-line driven, wringing every last dollar out of its budgets in order to maximize profits? Or is the company customer-centric, doing everything it can to improve customer service in order to compete effectively in the marketplace? I love talking about this at customer meetings and industry events because we all know the contact center holds the key to vast and rich customer information, exactly the kind of customer knowledge that every department and every executive should want to understand in some form or another. Better business decisions are made when more is known about customer preferences, behaviors and opinions. So why is it that the contact center is more often perceived as a cost-center rather than a customer experience leader? Why are we constantly tasked with delivering better service, hitting higher sales targets, scoring higher customer satisfaction responses but with ever-tightening personnel resources and budget dollars? Why is the contact center constantly tasked with delivering better service with ever-tightening personnel resources and budget dollars? I invite you to register now for a webinar on February 23 when Ken Landoline, Principal Analyst for Customer Engagement at Ovum, and I will explore this issue that I’m so passionate about. Make no mistake: this is an internal brand perception issue. But we will approach the discussion from a very practical point of view, offering you specific tips on how to secure greater investment and ensure organizational mindshare. In this webinar we will share proven methods about how to get more in order to do more in your contact center: – Learning what KPIs matter most, identify, provide and relay metrics that matter – Setting up your dashboard, quickly identify information to make real time decisions and predict behavior – Becoming an indispensable resource, understand and coordinate contact center goals with others in your organization With this actionable information in hand, you can then manage or influence up and be the agent of change who helps evolve the internal brand perception of your contact center from cost center to value center. I look forward to you joining us at this webinar. Doing More with Less? 3 Tips to Gain Budget and Mindshare for Your Contact Center Webinar Date: Thursday, February 23 Time: 2:00 PM ET / 1:00 PM CT / 12:00 PM MT / 11:00 AM PT Register Now

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Matthew Storm Joins the OpenText WFO Team

WFO

If you follow Matthew Storm on social media you may see “marketer, speaker, traveler, foodie, a farmer’s son, a customer service fanatic, lover of life and empty-nester.”  Sounds more like a transformer to me! Matthew has been working on mobile solutions for the past year as part of the OpenText team and as of this month, has stepped up as the product marketing team leader for OpenText™ Experience Suite.  This includes Workforce Optimization, Customer Communications Management, Digital Asset Management and Web Experience Management. Matthew has spent the last decade working overseas and leading a great team at NICE Systems, in addition to his years of contact center operational experience. He has a proven track record of delivering innovative and action-oriented results that unerringly focus on what matters most to both his internal and external customers. Fun and engaging, highly collaborative, deliberate when necessary but with a keen sense of speed to market – these are some of the attributes you’ll appreciate most when working with Matthew. I spoke with him about his new role, and here are three reasons he’s thrilled to be at OpenText: Analyst Recognition The Ian Jacobs-led team of Forrester researchers recently looked at what contact center teams are doing and what problems they’re solving with WFO solutions.  In their research, Forrester also took into account how easy it is to work with the vendors.  At OpenText, a valuable two-way relationship is based on how much a vendor listens to its customers. One of our references told Forrester, “We have had a seat at the table to influence the overall product road map.”  We are excited to bring new innovation to this space and honored to be categorized “Strong Performer”. Download your copy of the Forrester Wave for Workforce Optimization here. WFO Innovation The OpenText™ Qfiniti team has been busy!  In the past 18 months, the OpenText Qfiniti platform has released key innovations in agent guidance, desktop analytics, analytics-based QA, mobility, gamification, and managed services, all with a consistent user interface and unparalleled scale. Matthew was instrumental in the early stages of Qfiniti’s birth in 2003 and said, “I’m proud to see that the fresh innovations to OpenText™ WFO Software are grounded in the longstanding best practices of usability and customer-driven advancement.” Connecting Customer Journeys Finally, while many vendors talk about the multi-channel experience, OpenText has the depth of portfolio to actually “create” digital experiences on the web and social media that match the conversations happening in the contact center.  Matthew recently shared with an analyst that, “every department in an organization thinks that their group sets the tone for the customer experience; but in reality each department is driving amazing silos of mixed delight.  OpenText is more than just multichannel and journey-speak – our solutions touch every angle of customer experience management and seek to connect experiences to drive customer lifetime value.” Learn more about OpenText Experience Suite today. Welcome to the team, Matt!

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Webinar: Secrets to Increasing Contact Center Capacity and Efficiency

Contact center webinar

“There isn’t enough hours in the day to get my work done.” Sound familiar? Contact centers are continually asking their staff to do more without adding headcount. It can be an overwhelming task, but is one that’s critical to the success of every organization. Join me on an upcoming ICMI webinar that will explore staffing techniques, planning best practices, process optimization strategies, and technology shortcuts that will enable your existing staff to handle higher workloads – without the obvious risks of agent burnout, increased error rates and lowered quality expectations. Optimizing the Contact Center: Secrets to Increasing Your Team’s Capacity and Efficiency December 8th — 1:00 pm Eastern Time I have the pleasure of joining an esteemed group of speakers including:   Jeremy Hyde, Board of Directors, Midwest Contact Center Association Jeremy Hyde has over 10 years experience working in both inbound and outbound contact centers. In his current role he is responsible for vendor management and process oversight within the contact center for Ucare, a MN based health plan. Jeremy also serves on the Board of Directors for the Midwest Contact Center Association which aims to bring together a network of peers focused on collaboration and education. Jeremy is passionately focused on employee development, team culture and customer experience.   Justin Robbins, Group Community Director, HDI and ICMI Justin Robbins is a customer service expert focused on contact center operations and helping organizations appropriately define and achieve success. Over the past two decades, he’s coached thousands of individuals around the globe on customer experience best practices. Justin leads the content strategies and community engagement initiatives for HDI and ICMI and is a speaker, trainer, and writer on topics such as customer service best practices, key performance indicators, and motivational business leadership. He’s a professional member of the National Speakers Association and has been featured by the New York Times, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Fox News and numerous other media outlets. To register for the webinar, please visit the ICMI registration page here.

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The FAQ of Contact Center Analytics-Driven Agent Scoring

contact center analytics

As I travel the globe helping to educate customers and prospects on the benefits of speech analytics, one of the most commonly asked questions I am asked is the role of analytics in coaching. There are questions related to cost, functionality, accuracy and technology, however, most often business users ask about day-to-day application of the solution. As the topic of analytics-driven scoring is so new, questions are just starting to be raised on the topic, so I’m taking the opportunity in this blog to address the top five questions we received during a recent webinar. If you haven’t yet listened to the CRMXchange-hosted webinar “Agent Evaluations: The Cherry Picking Dilemma,” you can access the recording on their website here. In addition, you can read about the solution on one of my previous blog posts. Now on to the answers for those top five questions below. What is the OpenText product offering for speech analytics, and how can I learn more about it? Our speech analytics solution is called OpenText™ Explore, and it enables analysis of call recordings and chat sessions in combination with behavioral data from social media, blogs, web forums, and worldwide news coverage. Explore mines this rich data dynamically for underlying meaning, and you can read more about this industry-leading analytics solution here on our website. I know that speech analytics can identify call recordings for evaluation, but are you saying analytics can automatically assign an agent score based on words or phrases? Yes. With OpenText™ Qfiniti AutoScore – our newest addition to the OpenText™ Qfiniti workforce optimization suite – the results from speech analytics are scored based on a configurable scoring engine. Specific behaviors are defined by you, and each recorded interaction is given a score based on those characteristics. For example, you could define a scoring template of all the ways an agent should perform an upsell, and an agent would be given an “Upsell Score” for each interaction. Scoring can also be configured to simply score if a specific behavior did or did not occur. Does Explore provide trend reporting on an agent’s performance? Yes, it provides reporting that includes trend reports by agent and by team. Agents need to see progress, and, as you know, this is an integral part of effective coaching. Can Qfiniti AutoScore perform analytics based on specific parts of the call? For example, beginning versus ending? All of the results generated by Explore are time stamped, and this metadata makes it possible to determine the specific moment in a recording when a word was spoken or a sentiment factor occurred. Automatically scoring a behavior based on a specific time of the call is a very interesting idea and something we are investigating for a future release. What if my company doesn’t have a speech analytics tool? Speech analytics has been providing significant, actionable contact center insights for over a decade, and advancements like analytics-driven scoring are a great way to develop a business case for speech analytics. Start by looking at all of the QA tasks your team does today, determine which interactions could be scored automatically, and then determine the time saved that might be spent more effectively on additional coaching. No agent wants to be evaluated solely on a “cherry-picked” call and by broadening your coaching approach through automated scoring of every recorded phone interaction, you can reduce QA costs while improving agent engagement. Keep in mind, too, that a tool like Qfiniti AutoScore solves your issues of attaining statistical significance in your QA process. Speech analytics is the basic building block for making this happen, and our team can help you develop a compelling speech analytics business case if you need one. To sum things up, the OpenText WFO Software team is excited to bring Qfiniti AutoScore to market, and the interest in automated scoring that we’re hearing from both prospects and customers indicates that the contact center market is more than ready to embrace this new workforce optimization (WFO) technology. If you’re interested in learning more, you can email us at OT.WFO.Software@opentext.com to schedule a demo.

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Cherry Picking Makes Employees Frustrated

call center coaching

Have you ever had a performance review with your boss where he or she picks the absolutely worst issue to talk about?  Has this ever created the perception that your boss was “cherry picking” the specific scenario just make a point?  Well, you shouldn’t feel alone. There is a natural tendency for a manager to talk about the worst, or most recent case to make a point. For the millions of customer-facing employees around the world, this means your last customer interaction is your next coachable moment. And with the average call center agent taking between 40-80 calls per day, it is easy for a supervisor to find an example just to make a point. Most coaching starts with phrases like: You Never Say Thank You You Never Offer the Deal of the Day You Never Read the Compliance Disclosure But is it true?  Most coaching programs only barely reach a valid sample size, and even with the best intentions, agents often perceive interaction selection as a cherry-picking exercise designed to find more fault than praise. This is the cherry-picking dilemma. So how can quality monitoring (QM) programs target a “theme” such as upselling, empathy or script adherence without cherry picking the negative? Our new innovative approach is scoring ALL the interactions and removing the randomness from the approach.  The new OpenText™ Qfiniti solution, Qfiniti AutoScore uses analytics-driven scoring to monitor every customer experience and allows companies to quantify skills proficiency, script adherence, customer satisfaction and even score an agent’s ability to sell. Want to learn more?  Join me on October 20th, register for the CRMXchange webinar, “Agent Evaluations – The Cherry Picking Dilemma”.  Register now, I hope to see you there. Don’t miss our previous blog posts on Qfiniti AutoScore: Quality Assurance and Customer Experience Monitoring Can Now Be Automated OpenText WFO Software Launches Qfiniti AutoScore for Analytics-Enabled Scoring  

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Taking WFM out of the Phone age

WFM

Understanding the modern-day contact center requires new thinking, and as Workforce Management (WFM) professionals, we cannot stay stuck in the tar pit of our outdated mindsets. Plus, as new channels like social, chat, and the back-office become more critical in terms of agent forecasting, don’t count on your antiquated WFM software to get it right. If you want to evolve your contact center beyond the quickly receding “phone age,” it is important to understand agent skill groupings and how they must figure into effective planning and staff efficiency. Most staff planning (forecasting) tools provide “what-if analysis” capabilities that include three variables: Demand, as in how much work are we going to receive, and how is it going to arrive? What service level do we want to offer that demand? How much overhead (shrinkage = meetings, training, absenteeism, adherence violations) do we want to anticipate to make sure we get enough people in the queues to process the transactions within their targeted grade of service? But did you know that modern workforce management tools offer a fourth and measurable variable? The Impact of Skill Mix on Staffing Efficiency In the example below, two algorithms are used to calculate headcount requirements: standard and skill-based. The standard algorithm uses a straight Erlang-C calculation that indicates the required hours and FTE’s based on a single skilled agent population. Mathematically, Erlang-C terminates in a single queue and will overstate how many agents are required in a multi-skilled agent environment. Cross training the agents to be logged into multiple skills simultaneously creates larger group sizes, and these larger agent groups are able to process transactions much more efficiently than smaller groups. This is one of the significant advantages of deploying multi-skilled agent populations in your contact center. In comparison, the skill-based algorithm calculates the efficiency gain (reduced hours and FTE’s) based upon the mix of skills present within the WFM agent population when this staff plan is created. Analysts are now empowered to add/modify and change skills for multiple agents simultaneously and quickly evaluate if whether adding a particular skill to a group of agents would increase staffing efficiency. In Qfiniti Workforce, this concept is driven by something called Clusters or common sets of skills. Using this concept, a quick skills-based “cluster analysis” reveals that there are only five common sets of skills, or skill clusters among the twelve scheduled activities on the site, as illustrated below: Here’s my advice for all the WFM “Fred Flintstones” out there who are still stuck in the “phone age”: Recruiting: Clustering and using skill mix is important because of the imperative for a multi-skilled center to understand what skills agents should have and what skills should be considered when recruiting. Balance: There is often a tendency to create too many unique skill groups, resulting in smaller and smaller agent populations which can undermine the efficiency of larger group sizes and then create challenges relative to forecasting demand into smaller groups. This condition, in turn, places an unnecessary administrative burden on the center analysts. The right solution for your center is a likely balanced approach. New Thinking: Your WFM application should allow you to add skill mix into your forecasting model while providing the ability to quickly add/change agent’s skills and measure the potential efficiency gains. This balanced, ever-green approach will bring your contact center into the modern age of workforce management.

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IQPC Online Summit – Technology Roundtable Recap

contact center technology

On Tuesday, June 14, I had the pleasure of participating on the panel of an online IQPC Technology Roundtable with two other distinguished vendors. Brian Cantor, the moderator, asked each of us to share our insights and expertise with the audience of over 100 attendees regarding the current state of contact center technology. Over the course of the 30-minute discussion, we covered a number of topics, including: The current state of today’s quickly evolving contact center The role of technology in supporting this evolution Opportunities for using emerging technology to manage rapid change How contact center professionals can ensure success Great information, and great advice, was provided throughout the discussion. There was one topic, however, that did not get covered due to time, and I would like to address this in my blog today. Problem: Technology is great, but the results will not be maximized unless the business properly updates operations. What are some best practices businesses can adopt to make the most of their technology investments? Prescription: Establish a cross-functional steering committee with individuals from operations and IT who meet on a regular basis to share how technology is or is not solving their business challenges Engage with your vendor (who should truly be a partner) in quarterly business reviews. As a true partner, the vendor should clearly understand the goals and objectives of your organization in addition to sharing their expertise, product roadmap and strategy Evangelize process and technology successes (small and big wins) by proactively communicating progress throughout the contact center and the broader enterprise Ensure increased user adoption of technology by leveraging internal power users and other colleagues and peers through customer forums and vendor/partner communities I would like to extend my sincere thanks to IQPC, and especially Brian Cantor, for facilitating this roundtable. My OpenText WFO Software colleagues and I very much look forward to seeing you on June 27-July 1 at IQPC Call Center Week at the Mirage in Las Vegas, NV. Please stop by booth #1017 for a craft coffee and engaging conversations with other OpenText™ Qfiniti and OpenText™ Explore experts. Until next time…

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What Happens in Vegas Should be Shared in Vegas!

Contact Center Week

If you missed the opportunity to attend the ICMI Contact Center conference this past May in Long Beach, California, we’re hoping you will join us in Las Vegas at IQPC Call Center Week. Sure, you might be tempted to drop some coins in the slots, but be sure to also drop by our booth and learn how to stop playing games of chance with your contact center agents and your customers. The OpenText WFO Software team is proud to be a gold sponsor of this event, and you won’t want to miss out on the nuggets of learning and inspiration that you can pick up by speaking with our expert staff – not to mention the opportunity you’ll have to win fantastic prizes while enjoying the craft coffee being served. June 27 – July 1, 2016 IQPC Call Center Week                                                                                                      The Mirage Las Vegas, NV OpenText WFO Software at booth # 1017/1019 Tuesday, June 28, 2016 | 11:15a-2:15p Workshop L Service Delivery Optimization: Tackling Your Biggest Challenges with Best Practice Processes This fast-paced workshop will cover best practice processes in key operational areas so that you can consistently deal a winning experience to your customers by optimizing service delivery. Presented by Roger Lee, Principal Evangelist, OpenText WFO Software and Deb Alvord, Global Lead – Contact Center Advisory, CX Transformation, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Tuesday, June 28, 2016 | 6:00p Call Center Week Excellence Awards Gala Please join us at the award ceremony to see if HSN (Home Shopping Network), one of our customers and a finalist for Best in Class Contact Center (Over 200 Seats), can walk away from the table with the top prize! Wednesday, June 29, 2016 | 3:00p-3:40p Track 3 Power your Customer Experience with Data-Driven Analytics Don’t rely on lady luck to win over your customers. Turn your big data into actionable insights and create real-time, personalized customer experiences through deep behavioral analytics. Presented by Stephanie Shaffer (Asurion) and Roger Lee, Principal Evangelist, OpenText WFO Software Stay tuned for additional information regarding this must attend event.

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ICMI Contact Center Expo & Conference at Long Beach, CA

contact center

From the desk of Dr. WFO: If you haven’t attended an ICMI Contact Center conference, you are missing out! This is a worthwhile investment for all contact center personnel. We were one of the sponsors at this year’s conference in Long Beach, CA, and the entire OpenText WFO Software team was impressed by the turnout of over 1,500 attendees. Another interesting fact was that about half of the attendees had never attended this type of conference before, so in other words, 50% were newbies. Lots of great content was delivered which focused on all aspects of content center management – people, process, technology, and strategy. The overall theme for the event was tied to improving the overall customer experience, along with how to promote the value of the contact center within the organization. It was most interesting to hear about the challenges that contact center professionals were looking to solve and the best practices they were hoping to learn from industry experts and other peers. Dr. WFO presenting to a standing room only crowd on Selling the Value of the Contact Center to the Enterprise Dr. WFO with colleague Jessica Overton and leadership team from Church Pension Group (CPG) The event had several interesting keynote speakers, but one in particular stood out for me. Scott McKain’s featured keynote titled “The Ultimate Customer Experience: The Key to Lifelong Loyalty and Endless Referrals” was engaging and fun. His message was make it easier to do business with you. He shared his model of 4 corners of distinction: Clarity – Be crystal clear on what sets you apart, define purpose; mindshare precedes market share Creativity – Be creative at one thing, be considered innovative Communication – Write a story about how a customer improved his/her business as a result of your efforts Customer Experience Focus – Unique experience I would highly encourage you to attend a contact center industry event. If you were unable to make this most recent ICMI event, you still have an opportunity to attend the upcoming 17th Annual Call Center Week & Expo (CCW) in Las Vegas from Monday, June 27 – Friday, July 1. The OpenText WFO Software team would love to see you there! Until next time…

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Contact Center Webinar: Selling the Value Inside Your Organization

contact center

As a contact center leader, are you always asked to do more with less, yet expected to deliver an outstanding customer experience? Are you tired of having to justify or ask for investments for your contact center during the budget planning process? If you answered “yes” to either of the above questions, you’’ll want to attend this new webinar with Call Center IQ (IQPC). During the webinar we will be discussing how you can sell the value of your contact center within your organization. You’’ll learn the “who, what, why and how” behind sharing valuable contact center insights with other departments in the enterprise. There’’s a goldmine of information and insights within the contact center; you just need to know how to leverage it. You can register today, but if you can’t make it, or if you read this blog post after the date, just follow the link anyway and you can get the recorded version instead. Webinar: Ready to get noticed? Selling the value of the contact center inside your organization Date: Wednesday, April 20 Time: 10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET Register here.

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CCNG Texas Workforce Commission: Smarter Contact Center Hiring Decisions

From the desk of Dr. WFO: Thank you to Candy Kothmann, North Texas Tele-Center Director of the Texas Workforce Commission, for hosting the first of the CCNG events in March. The event covered the topic on making smarter hiring decisions; it was well-received by all who attended. Many other topics were discussed during the half-day session, including leadership development, work-at-home agents, and contact center metrics. The open town hall discussion with industry experts and practitioners shared great insights during the event. We were a sponsor of the event and if you are not currently a member of CCNG or haven’’t attended a regional CCNG event, I highly encourage you to do so, and also recommend your contact center teams attend the regional events. Developing your employees and future leaders is well worth the investment! If you couldn’t make it to the event, you can watch this recently recorded webinar with IQPC on how to help your contact center get noticed by the rest of the business, by leveraging the goldmine of data and insights found in call recordings, interactions, and more. You can also read my recent blog about the CCNG event with McGraw Hill or find out more about contact center performance at our website.

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Dr. WFO has a Prescription for Contact Centers

contact centers

Does your contact center suffer from Diminished Customer Delight (DCD)? This is an all-too common ailment when it comes to customer engagement, but now relief is near. Roger Lee, aka Dr. WFO and our colleagues here have teamed up with contact center experts at ICMI to offer remedies for reducing customer effort, the all-important metric that makes or breaks your ability to delight customers. In this recent report Customer Delight: Reducing Effort >> Increasing Engagement, Dr. WFO helps you diagnose common symptoms associated with Diminished Customer Delight such as Obsessive Agent-Centric Compulsive Disorder and Degenerative Hunchiosis, among others. In four easy-to-digest chapters, Dr. WFO outlines his steps to better health for your contact center. Phase 1: Chaos examines data overload in the contact center Phase 2: Context dives into the three primary ways contact centers attempt to use customer interaction data are detailed Identifying the conditions related to Chaos and Context in your organization is one thing, but the report also provides prescriptions for relief. Phase 3: Clarity reveals how 50% of contact centers are already using workforce optimization (WFO) to overcome the heartburn of having to rely too often on your gut instinct when making customer experience decisions Phase 4: Competitive Advantage prescribes the Intelligent Contact Center as a power antidote for failing to listen to every bit of interaction information that your customers are sharing with you This informative report will help to improve the health of your contact center and relieve the pain that your customers might already be associating with – in the experiences you provide them. Learn more about other OpenText WFO Software remedies like: Qfiniti, our integrated, modular workforce optimization (WFO) software suite; Explore, for powerful Voice of Customer, speech and multichannel analytics; and Qfiniti Managed Services, a complete WFO solution on a managed appliance. You’’ll feel much better when you do. And so will your customers.

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Webcast: Why Desktop Intelligence is key to Great CX

desktop intelligence

From the desk of Dr. WFO: Both Lorne and I want to thank everyone who attended our webcast last week. In case you missed it, you can find a recording of the webcast here. The audience participation was engaging with lots of sharing and questions. The topic of Average Handle Time (AHT) garnered a great deal of discussion. Many attendees shared how they defined AHT within their organizations: Avgtalk + AvgHold + AvgACW Talk time + Wrap + Hold + Transfer/Conference Call connection to call disconnection Talk time + Hold + ACW During the webcast, Lorne and I explained why desktop Intelligence applications are no longer a “nice to have,” but a necessity. Why? In order to be confident that you are delivering a superior customer experience, you must ensure that the agents are enabled with the necessary tools, processes, etc. Developing a business case for a desktop intelligence solution is simple and the return on investment (ROI) is evident. How do you define AHT in your organization? Does your contact center utilize desktop intelligence applications? Share your experiences in the comments section, we’d love to hear from you. Watch the webcast on-demand.

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The key to Great CX? Investing in Human Capital

CX

From the desk of Dr. WFO: Following up on my 2016 Contact Center Industry Predictions blog, I want to share my thoughts on the continued need to invest in human capital. When I was a practitioner, there were constant reminders from the executive team do more with less. Unfortunately, I continue to hear this adage as I have conversations with contact centers today. Yet, the continued focus for 2016 is delivering a superior customer experience. There is a flaw with this logic. DO MORE WITH LESS ? SUPERIOR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE A majority of the contact center interactions require a conversation with an agent. Your customers expect to connect with you using different channels of communication including the traditional phone, email, chat, social media and mobile. These frontline professionals and contact center leaders need to be continued to be developed, coached and appreciated. As your workforce continues to diversify, there is also an expectation from Gen Y and Gen C that you listen and invest in them. Training is an investment, not an expense. However, when it comes to tightening the belt and meeting budget, training gets the axe. Making customer experience a continued focus for 2016 is great, but without the appropriate plans and investments and executive support, providing lip service won’’t get the job done. Let me know what you think in the comments and if you haven’’t already, I encourage you to check out my blog series on starting a contact center coaching program.

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Contact Center Industry Predictions for 2016

contact center

From the desk of Dr. WFO: 2015 is almost over! Can you believe it? Friends and colleagues are already talking about resolutions for 2016, (I shared one of my resolutions here). After attending and speaking at several industry events, participating in various roundtables, and talking to numerous analysts, customers and prospects, below are my thoughts on themes within contact centers for 2016. Emerging and/or continued investments in the following areas of technology: Multichannel analytics Desktop optimization (analytics) Managed services Cloud-based solutions where it makes sense Predictive analytics Mobile applications Emerging and/or continued focus on customer experience (CX): Need to establish multichannel strategy based on your customer demographics and expectations Determine if you are ready to deliver a seamless cross-channel strategy; if you do not have a solid multichannel foundation in place, don’’t get distracted by the term “omni-channel experience” Review current metrics to determine if these are appropriate based on your strategic and operational plans; are you measuring customer effort? If not, why? If so, how are you doing? Self-service options that are well executed Continued investment in human capital: With an ever evolving workforce, investments in training, succession planning, and overall development must continue to be a focus at all levels within the contact center Rewards and recognition programs improved (one size doesn’’t fit all) Using a multichannel analytics application can provide the necessary data to measure, take action, and laser focus in a few areas: agent productivity and customer experience. Agent Productivity With multichannel interactions, the opportunity for agents to handle multiple chat and email sessions can reduce the cost per contact compared to agent handling a voice call. The cost per contact is even less when work-at-home agent are handling chats and email interactions because there aren’’t brick and mortar costs to be factored. Customer Experience Keep in mind, changes to the demographic landscape are evolving as your customers are becoming younger and younger. Self-service will continue to become an expectation from consumers. Timely and accurate resolution to an issue/inquiry without the customer having to wait in a queue for an agent will often result in a better customer experience. For those consumers who take advantage of the self-service channel, they have communication expectations and requirements including – their inquiry has been received, a particular person is handling it and will get back to them, and when they can expect a response. Organizations who provide self-service channels must measure the effectiveness through post-chat surveys, Net Promoter scores, customer effort and even SMS or email surveys. What do you see as key themes for the contact center in 2016? Let me know in the comments below. Enjoy the holidays and I look forward to a great 2016!

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2016 Resolutions With Dr. WFO

WFO

From the desk of Dr. WFO: With the calendar year quickly coming to a close, I’’ve started reflecting back on 2015. Between the blogs, webcasts, events and everything else that makes up my job as Principal Evangelist,– it would be easy to say that 2015 was a success. I was able to use the insights and knowledge gained throughout my career to help the call center community understand that there are real options when it comes to workforce optimization software. That’’s not to say there aren’’t areas that I want to improve in. I was able to attend our user groups and some of the industry events this past year, which helped me to expand my understanding of trends and use of technologies – but I could have learned more. In 2016, my first resolution is to attend more industry events to continue learning from and developing networks with contact center software users from across the globe. Luckily for me, we will be sponsoring (and speaking at!) two of North America’s largest call center industry events in 2016. It would be great to meet you at one of these events -– check back for more information on our speaking sessions. ICMI Call Center Expo & Conference May 10-13, 2016 Long Beach, CA                                               IQPC Call Center Week                                                                                 June 27 – July 1, 2016 Las Vegas, NV Have you started thinking about your resolutions for 2016? I’’d love to hear about them!

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