The boundaries between customer-facing, front-office channels and back-office support functions are blurring.
As Ken Landoline, principal analyst at OVUM, stated in his blog, Back-Office Integration Coming to the Forefront in Customer Engagement, a number of trends are making it easier to link these two functions, including:
- In-sourcing previously outsourced contact centre functions
- The increase in channel digitisation
- The growing use of robotic process automation.
In a recent webinar, Top 5 Best Practices for Extending Workforce Optimisation (WFO) Beyond the Contact Centre, Craig Seebach shared additional research into this trend, the key barriers to integrating these functions, and how enterprise WFO can help improve speed, accuracy and cost to serve.
Why Extend WFO into the Back Office?
In a spring 2017 survey, Aberdeen Group found that the No. 2 cause of customer dissatisfaction is delays and errors in the back-office1.
And studies estimate that 20% to 30% of contact centre call volume is the result of issues in the back office. Saddletree Research also found that 69% of U.S. organisations now have the contact centre and the back office reporting up to the same internal department.2
So, it makes sense to have a standardised framework for reporting on workforce performance and customer experience across the entire customer service ecosystem.
Overcoming Cultural Differences
So if it makes sense, why isn’t it happening more often?
In the webinar, Craig polled participants about their use of workforce management (WFM), the most commonly deployed solution in the WFO suite.
Only 66% were using WFM to forecast and schedule a blended contact centre—one that handles phone/direct customer interaction channels, as well as back-office processing work.
Yet none of the participants were using the solution in standalone back-office functions. Craig explained that the greatest hurdle to migrating WFO beyond the contact centre is culture.
Back-office employees and managers may fear:
- Change: They’ve been managing with their limited tool set for years, so why change now?
- Control: Being forced to do things the way the contact centre does them, vs. following their own processes.
- Rigidity: Loss of flexibility and autonomy in how employees spend their time.
In the webinar Craig shared five best practices for overcoming the cultural differences, as well as other challenges—check it out.
In addition to the webinar recording, you can learn more by downloading the Best Practices Guide: The Business Value of Extending WFO Beyond the Contact Centre: Practical Steps to Get Started.
Are you using WFO in the back office? Share your experience with us and the challenges you overcame below.