What is Adaptive WFO?

Adaptive workforce optimisation is set to change the rules of agent management

Pose a mathematical problem to a classroom of smart students and most will find the right answer. As they work, peek over their shoulders to observe a mixture of problem solving techniques. While each student’s approach is important to their overall mark, the only real gauge of success is the correct answer.

The lion’s share of our daily work involves problem solving. In the contact centre, agents must solve customers’ problems, leaving them in a happier place than when they made first contact. To the customer, how the agent got them there is almost incidental.

Like students wrestling a maths problem, people work in different ways to reach the same goal. And yet current workforce optimisation approaches don’t always recognise individual thinking and behaviours, instead treating contact centre agents as a single species, applying blanket KPIs, scheduling, training, and development pathways. So when agents fail to satisfy generic processes, their performance is considered non-compliant or even poor, even when the customer positively rates the overall outcome.

But things are changing, and new tools will balance the strengths of individual agents with contact centre processes, driving better engagement among agents and improving customer experiences.

Adaptive workforce optimisation recognises that each employee possesses specific attributes and skills that must be factored into processes, coaching, and even talent scheduling and forecasting. One size does not fit all.

The approach ensures workforce planning and development adapts to each agent’s persona and work style. The process itself involves advanced analysis of data gleaned from multiple sources, including desktop activity, ACD information, voice/text analysis, CSAT scores, coaching results, past work experience, preferences and education.

Software does the heavy lifting, also harvesting new data as agents work, building a detailed picture of agent behaviours, strengths and weaknesses, helping managers to create an environment for agents to do their best work, with individually tailored KPI’s that align with business objectives.

But that’s just the start. Managers are able to match agent personas with tasks and workflow supporting cross-channel customer journeys, adjusting things like agent scheduling, training, incentives and goals in a way that ultimately leads to better customer service.

This more ‘adaptive’ approach to workforce optimisation promises broad ranging benefits, including higher quality service through flexible persona-based routing, scheduling and forecasting; tailored on-boarding and coaching that delivers a more flexible learning path for each employee; improved CSAT through tighter alignment between customer experience and agent performance; and personalised engagement plans that improve employee retention.

Adaptive workforce optimisation is finding better answers to the industry old conundrum of balancing the needs of individual agents with business objectives. Different folks have different strokes, and when staff are managed accordingly the ultimate winner is the customer.

Contact Pyrios to learn how new technologies are making workforce optimisation more adaptive – and contact centre agents more engaged.

Author: Paddy Neill

Business Development Manager and Contact Centre solutions specialist at Pyrios. 

Paddy has spent most of his career working with customers to create better communications and contact centres. His more recent interests include customer engagement and workforce optimisation.

Connect with Paddy on LinkedIn.