Complementing Case Management with Workforce Optimization
As self-service channels and automated, straight-through processing become more prevalent, service organizations are left with more complex, sometimes unique requests or issues to resolve. This has driven the rise in knowledge workers—employees with the experience and expertise to make judgment calls about how to best serve the customer. Unlike BPM and workflow applications, which lock employees into fixed or rigid processes, case management solutions (such as KANA® Enterprise from KANA®, a Verint® company) can provide knowledge workers with the flexibility to choose or define alternative paths to resolve these more complex case types. Such systems support decision making by acting as the consolidation point for the multiple applications and data repositories used, providing a single, holistic view of the issues or cases on which they are working.
But more can be done to improve the effectiveness of employees, whether they sit in the branch, contact center or back office. Workforce optimization (WFO) solutions, once limited to the contact center but now engineered to address the requirements of the entire enterprise, can provide organizations and employees with valuable, actionable information about employee utilization, skills and performance. WFO builds on the foundation of customer, process and case information available in case management solutions to help organizations:
- Create holistic capacity plans.
- Align and balance resources against workloads and prioritize work against service goals.
- Identify opportunities to improve employee skills and performance.
- Improve the quality of work being processed.
Creating Holistic Capacity Plans
Even though customer service requests are becoming increasingly complex and unique, there is still a great deal of “out of system” work done by today’s customer service knowledge workers, especially those in the back office. They may spend time reading reports, researching on the Internet, or taking electronic training courses to brush up on the latest regulations. In addition, there are standard, out-of-system activities and tasks that occur, such as team meetings, coaching, special projects and downtime. These activities can affect the employee’s availability to process work, and a company’s ability to create accurate capacity plans.
When the “in system” or in-production time is combined with out-of-production time, managers can receive a more complete picture of all the activities that impact capacity and create robust, holistic capacity plans.
Balancing Workloads and Prioritizing Work
BPM and case management solutions enable organizations to route work to skilled employees based on defined processing rules. Complementing this capability with workforce management, organizations can forecast work volumes and arrival times, incorporate existing backlogs, and then align employee schedules to the work for improved utilization and increased productivity. The Verint® Workforce Management™ solution, for example, includes an intraday monitoring screen that graphically shows forecasted versus actual volumes and incorporates backlogs. These capabilities help managers proactively adjust schedules and workloads to help ensure deadlines are met.
Improving Employee Skills and Performance
Improving employee performance largely depends on employees’ understanding of what is expected, and giving them the tools to meet their goals. Current solutions can provide a single, standardized framework for efficiently tracking, managing and improving individual, team and organizational performance. Role-specific performance scorecards display key performance indicators that can be tied to goals, giving employees visibility into objective, data-driven assessments of their performance and empowering them to self-correct behaviors. The scorecards show current key performance indicators (KPI) rankings against goal and peers, as well as trending data. These scorecards can be rolled up to team, department or enterprise dashboards, giving executive management valuable insight into organizational performance and drilldown capabilities to conduct root cause analysis.
BPM and case management help improve the quality of work by improving processing consistency. But evaluating the actual work for accuracy and thoroughness is often a manual process. Managers may select a work item and repeat the process to see if they come up the same outcome. With WFO, quality can be monitored on the actual work processed, without recreating transactions, through the use of desktop screen capture. Triggers can be created to capture the desktop screen at critical points in a process. Managers can then retrieve the screen flow to see how employees navigated systems, what fields were completed when, and whether errors were made, critical steps skipped, or employees struggled with what to do next.
Case management and WFO together can help improve staff effectiveness by providing employees with:
- Contextual customer information and knowledge resources for making decisions and executing work
- Prioritized lists of work items so they know which item to work on next to best meet customer service goals
- Visibility into their performance metrics so they can see how they are trending, and take ownership of their performance
The combined solution also can help organizations:
- Create holistic capacity plans, inclusive of all work types and activities.
- Balance workloads proactively throughout the day to better meet SLAs.
- Monitor quality and performance with time saving tools and a standardized framework.
In all this, it’s the customer that emerges as the ultimate winner, as the combined solutions help ensure requests and issues are addressed correctly, on time, the first time, by knowledgeable workers.
Companies and Suppliers Mentioned