Gartner recently announced its inaugural Magic Quadrant for Workforce Engagement Management (WEM). It was an important indicator of the evolution from workforce optimization (WFO) technologies, an already mature market, to technologies that help drive employee engagement.
Though gamification, mobile scheduling apps and robotic process automation (RPA) tools all contribute to helping employees, especially Millennials, feel more connected to their jobs, there are also analytics-driven solutions that are playing a major role in helping companies engage employees in their quest to improve the customer experience. Here are three key areas where businesses are shaping up their workforce optimization strategies with speech, text and performance analytics to listen to the voice of the employee and make the leap successfully from WFO to WEM.
1. Speech and text analytics pinpoint key issues
Solutions are available today that can analyze speech and text interactions between employees and customers and provide valuable data for focused, relevant process improvement. The tools mine these interactions and produce user-friendly reports on key conversation topics, words most frequently used and problems most frequently discussed. It’s a new window into customer concerns and delights—and employee responses to them.
BPOs and other companies in India and around the world are embracing a holistic Voice of the Customer (VoC) solution that includes speech analytics, text analytics and customer feedback solutions. In response, they not only optimize each channel, but they also better understand the customer journey and take corrective action for converting customer detractors to promoters. They have achieved significant improvement in customer satisfaction while reducing costs and improving sales conversion rates.
Where does employee engagement fit in here? The key is having tools that bring the most important nuggets from speech and text analytics data to the employee’s fingertips. As customer inquiries grow in complexity, most employees can’t memorize all the information necessary to respond effectively. For example, your speech and text analytics applications might identify that customers are asking most frequently about one line of service or product. Employee engagement tools can then populate agent desktops with an easy-to-access, intuitive repository of information to help them answer the questions customers are asking about that service or product.
Employee engagement solutions today provide a knowledge management capability that brings these valuable nuggets to agent desktops. They play an important role in simplifying the delivery of information agents need to be good at their jobs. Aberdeen Group’s Omer Minkara provides insight here in 2017 research: Minkara reports that 51 percent of companies use at least eight channels to interact with customers, contact center agents typically browse three different apps to find relevant customer insights, and optimizing the agent desktop results in a 74 percent improvement in customer satisfaction rates. These metrics are a testament to the value of making it easy for employees to engage relevantly with customers, as well as to the impact those employees can have on the customer experience.
Individual case studies tell the story, as well. Bank of Montreal (BMO) uses speech analytics to identify the top five processes per line of business that drive the most repeat calls, as well as customers’ top digital challenges. Given the fact that the company has 12 million customers in North America and fields tens of thousands of calls annually, the data is golden and is used by the bank to drive positive change. “We didn’t have a clear line of sight as to why customers were calling us and what their experience was and what our associates’ experience was,” said one of BMO’s CX executives.
2. Performance management analytics chart a plan for growth
Contact centers have traditionally adopted the use of quality monitoring in combination with call recording to evaluate a small portion of employee-customer interactions for use of the proper greeting, inclusion of an upsell offer, reading of a relevant disclaimer, script adherence and more. Assessing the calls and documenting the results are important for identifying coaching and training needed by individual agents to improve their performance.
Although many quality practitioners may consider their quality programs automated, their programs typically consist of manually evaluating, scoring and reporting on five to seven percent of an agent’s calls. Even the best contact centers typically have not been able to evaluate a statistically significant portion of calls, and so might miss critical skill gaps that demand attention. Automated Quality Management (AQM) solutions change all that. It’s an important addition to any contact center’s technology stack, providing solid assurance that an organization’s performance and customer experience improvement programs are on target.
AQM provides automated performance scorecards in an at-a-glance format that make it easy for employees and their managers to view results and pinpoint areas for improvement. Many contact centers currently produce agent performance reports monthly, so problems can fester before they are correctly identified and addressed. By automating the scoring of evaluation forms based on business rules created for each question, AQM makes agent performance evaluation instantaneous, so managers can address skill gaps within a day rather than at the end of the month. Scorecards can trigger alerts that then schedule coaching on the skill and knowledge gaps identified, and progress can be tracked after each session to gauge uptake and effectiveness.
3. Voice of the Employee solutions make it clear you care
Voice of the Employee (VoE) solutions provide a timely, cost-effective alternative to traditional, third-party employee satisfaction surveys. Organizations can easily survey thousands of employees across hundreds of locations and multiple languages, then centrally measure, analyze and take action on their feedback. By capturing employee feedback using their preferred channels—including email, web, mobile, and SMS surveys—you can gain critical insights for fostering employee engagement and empowerment, productivity, satisfaction and retention.
The cumulative benefit to overall customer satisfaction is clear. While customers who provide feedback are only able to talk about their own individual experiences, employees on the front lines are ideally positioned to recognize patterns based on their conversations with the many customers who call them every day. Not only can they identify common issues, but they can also assess how important these issues are to customers, help to understand what’s causing them in the first place, and provide insight into how customers would like to see those issues corrected.
Granted, contact centers today have access to all sorts of analytics to mine voice recordings, text, the web, social media, and other customer touch points, so they can spot trends and respond to issues more quickly. The importance of analytics cannot be overstated as a way to extract call content, identify emerging issues or concerns, and quantify the number of calls regarding a specific problem, but getting the information directly from contact center agents in almost near real time allows the company to act on and resolve issues much faster.
And while VoE is a somewhat roundabout way to get at customer sentiment, it can be more reliable than VoC solutions alone. For example, a large IT outsourcing company combined and analyzed customer and employee feedback to optimize internal business processes and increase customer experience scores. After asking customers to give a customer satisfaction score on their experiences with departments such as sales, operations, help desk, billing and delivery, they asked employees to rate the same departments on how important their work is to the success of their jobs. They also used text analytics to analyze verbatim comments to help identify trends. Using one centralized platform, the company then mapped the survey data from both and drew conclusions to prompt process improvements.
The time to engage is now
According to a recent Gallup report on the state of the American workplace, 70 percent of the workforce is disengaged. They lack enthusiasm and commitment to the job. Companies with highly engaged employees, the report notes, are 22 percent more profitable, 21 percent more productive and have a 10 percent higher customer satisfaction rating than organizations with somewhat or highly disengaged employees.
Understanding that an engaged-employee culture is essential to a positive customer experience, companies today have the analytics tools available to help them score big in both areas.
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Jason comes with close to two decades of professional experience with leadership sales positions in iconic brands like Nomura Software, Epicor Software and KANA Software. As VP and Practice Lead - Engagement Management - Asia Pacific Verint, Jason has keen interest in mapping analytics and Knowledge Management to strengthen customer loyalty, retention and lifetime value.