How Do You Manage Your WFH Contact Center Agents?

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If the past few months have taught us anything, it’s that businesses need technology to be flexible and be able to adjust and adapt to any circumstances.  The good news is the technology has been around for years to enable remote workforces, from knowledge workers to contact center agents.  As we’ve seen businesses adapt to this pandemic, the successful ones have made the most of their UCaaS and CCaaS solutions to seamlessly (or almost seamlessly) transition workers to their home environments.

For their part, the majority of workers are saying they are at least as productive as they were in their offices, if not more, and would prefer some sort of hybrid environment going forward.  We have already seen many companies already announced a greater, permanent focus on remote working.  We also know distancing and other workplace safety mandates may make remote work a necessity even for companies that aren’t already planning for it.

The good news is the cloud-based communications solutions that are seeing increased adoption of late can easily support remote workers.  But, where the challenge comes, especially for contact centers, is management.  It’s inherently more difficult for leaders to deal with scheduling, forecasting, and productivity management when agents are in remote locations.  It’s even harder when they are trying to do it using manual spreadsheets and pulling information from a variety of data sources on their own.

Once again, technology to the rescue.

CoreDial, which introduced its CoreNexa Contact Center platform almost two years ago, is now making it easy for contact center managers to do their jobs under teleworking conditions with its new CoreNexa WFM module.  The addition of the WFM tools will allow leaders to better plan, monitor, and adjust staff schedules and tasks to accommodate changing workforce needs, and easily communicate information to staff.

“As businesses continue to grapple with the disruption from COVID-19, many are finding they lack the tools, resources, and insights to properly manage their remote contact center employees. There’s a long list of reasons why WFM is compelling for businesses and managers, and this new module provides our partners with a timely solution that helps their customers address a very real need.”

Alan Rihm, CEO, CoreDial

CoreDial is initially focusing on three WFM components: scheduling, forecasting, and adherence – with reporting and agent performance also included.  The first three, however, are among the most important to the SMB community CoreDial serves, largely because they can be very costly from a time and efficiency perspective when using manual reporting.  Instead, CoreNexa WFM delivers these features as a built-in solution, connected directly to the data set already used to run the contact center operation.

CoreNexa WFM has been in the works for a year based on requests from both CoreDial’s partners and their end customers.  The problem SMBs faced was not really having access to suitable WFM tools.  Certainly, there are many third-party products, but some are far too expensive for the market and have too many features SMBs don’t need, and others are too complex and need major integration work. 

Now, they have fully integrated WFM capabilities that reduce administrative effort and give managers the tools to more efficiently and effectively run their teams. 

According to Rick McFarland, VP of contact center solutions at CoreDial, the adherence piece may be the most important component of the WFM module.  Basically, what he calls “adherence-on-demand” allows managers to schedule staff using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, then be able to monitor activity at any time to make sure agents are doing what they are supposed to be doing.  Any activity on agents’ desktop clients is fed directly into the WFM dashboard, and alerts can be set up for agents who are out of adherence.  Whether by the minute or shift, and regardless of location, managers have the depth of information to provide targeted, purpose-driven coaching and support to their teams, whether they’re working on-site or remotely.

While some might feel this is getting into the “big brother” realm, it’s really about monitoring productivity and making sure teams and agents are meeting their objectives.  If an agent is not on the phone with a customer when scheduled, or if AHT gets higher than expected, it can throw the whole day’s productivity out of sync.  The adherence-on-demand feature makes it easier for managers to not only track what’s happening across all agents wherever they are located, but to shift responsibilities as needed to accommodate shifting demands during peak or off-peak periods and across channels, or to schedule training or feedback sessions during slower periods.  It also means that any changes or feedback can be easily communicated to agents.

“We have always had agent performance and other after-the-fact reporting , but that just tells you what happened yesterday. The nice thing about adherence-on-demand is you can monitor in real time and drive significant productivity enhancements.  It’s great for supervisors to make sure they have resources in the right places doing the right things at the right time.”

Rick McFarland, VP of contact center solutions, CoreDial

The timing is ideal, with so many SMBs still wrestling with the new reality this pandemic has created. 

As for the future, while the initial rollout offers SMBs the toolset they need, McFarland says there is more to come.  As businesses grow – both partners and end users – they will inevitably look for more advanced features, like automated scheduling, surveys, gamification, QA, and more.  Now that it has pushed out CoreNexa WFM, CoreDial will be working towards adding new features in the future that will help remote contact centers function even more efficiently.