Building a Resilient Contact Center with Workforce Optimization

Contact center resilience depends on your ability to provide an outstanding Customer Experience (CX) in any circumstance, even when times get tough. Your contact center’s most valuable resource is its people. A resilient contact center begins with resilient agents. And resilient agents depend on effective contact center Workforce Optimization.

The role of the contact center agent is changing. As simple and repetitive tasks are increasingly delegated to chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistants, human agents handle more and more challenging interactions, with fewer and fewer lower-intensity periods. Naturally, this leads to burnout. Contact center Workforce Optimization involves giving your agents the tools they need to succeed and to succeed consistently.

In this blog, we discuss methods for creating resilient agent experience. We cover:

  • How contact center Workforce Management empowers supervisors with flexible scheduling and forecasting tools.

  • How effective training, real-time reporting, and active support create resilient agents.

  • The ways in which AI will shape the future of contact center agents.

Want to learn more about building resilient CX? Download Content Guru’s whitepaper, Resilient CX: A Field Guide to Surviving Hard Times with Customer Experience to discover more.

What Does a Resilient Agent Look Like?

Last year, 49% of Customer Experience leaders saw an increase in agent attrition. Agent Experience is linked intimately to Customer Experience; if your agents aren’t satisfied, your customers won’t be either. If your contact center can’t cultivate resilient agents, agent attrition will only continue to rise.

But what is causing this increase in agent attrition?

  • The rise of AI and chatbots has automated simple and repetitive inquiries. Human agents are focused only on the most challenging; meaning more heavy emotional labor. Resilient agents must receive regular training on handling these difficult interactions.

  • In the omni-channel contact center, agents increasingly respond to asynchronous contacts. Multiple contacts made via email, SMS, or web chat can be answered at the same time. This places increased cognitive and time demands on agents, contributing to burnout.

  • Customer contact demand continues to rise. Periods of economic uncertainty increase the likelihood of service disruption, which prompts customers to reach out. Agents are under increasing pressure to answer more contacts, faster.

The agent of the twenty-first century is under pressure from multiple directions. Cultivating agent resilience required contact center Workforce Optimization.

Contact Center Workforce Optimization Creates Agent Resilience

Agents don’t become resilient overnight. Cultivating agent resilience takes time and active support. A full suite of Contact center Workforce Optimization tools provides everything you need to guide your agents through the toughest customer interactions.

  • Intelligent scheduling frees up time for supervisors, letting them dedicate more time toward monitoring and supporting agents, but scheduling alone does not make a resilient agent.

  • Your contact center needs intelligent Quality Management (QM) tools and monitoring tools. Intelligent transcription allows supervisors to track interactions in real time – Automatic notifications can be tied to certain keywords or levels of sentiment, making supervisors aware of interactions of concern. From here, supervisors can offer real-time advice, take over an interaction from an agent, and allow that agent to take a short break to recuperate.

  • To understand agent performance, you need an in-depth reporting suite – Agent performance statistics can be displayed within the contact center workforce management solution, giving supervisors a complete overview of the contact center. From here, supervisors can drill down into individual agent performance, tailoring feedback and training to individual needs.

A contact center Workforce Optimization solution is the cornerstone of agent resilience. An essential subset of this is contact center Workforce Management. That is, the scheduling and forecasting tools that help you plan for the future.

The Basics of Contact Center Workforce Management

Contact center Workforce Management is all about empowering your agents to do their best work. It's about scheduling, training, and on-the-job support. Supervisors should be able to provide clarity to their agents, control over working schedules, guidance during difficult interactions, and training that helps your agents develop professionally.

A market-leading contact center Workforce Management solution will:

  • Make scheduling easy – With an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface, agent schedules can be organized in seconds, and automatically completed based on expected contact volumes and the particular mix of channels each agent handles.

  • Put integration first – Businesses often use multiple, overlapping systems. Your contact center Workforce Management solution should integrate seamlessly with any third-party system, to unify your employee data.

  • Offer omni-channel forecasting – Your contact center Workforce Management solution should provide reliable forecasts of contact demand to support agent scheduling. By factoring in your SLAs, agent availability, and customer contact history, an effective contact center Workforce Management solution can create schedules to meet any level of demand.

Contact center Workforce Management solutions offer a host of tools for supporting agents. But what makes an agent truly resilient?

The Future of Resilient Agent Experience

Artificial Intelligence has arrived in the contact center. Generative AI and Large Language Models (LLMs) have elevated chatbots from frustrating gimmicks to advanced automated assistants. And customers aren’t the only ones benefitting. The agent of the future is supported by AI.

  • Supported by advanced transcription, an AI assistant can monitor an interaction as it progresses. Based on this information, this AI assistant can offer script suggestions, supporting the agent through difficult interactions, and leading to a more seamless experience.

  • AI assistants can draw active, real-time insights from every interaction. These can be presented to supervisors through a single, intuitive dashboard. Customer and agent sentiment can be automatically tracked, without the need for customers to fill out lengthy surveys.

  • By monitoring agent strengths and weaknesses, generative AI can identify opportunities for improvement, and generate custom training content tailored to their needs.

The future of the contact center is intelligent. AI is changing the role of the agent, in some cases making that role more challenging. But it also offers ways of building resilience.

Contact Center Workforce Optimization with storm®

Cultivating resilience in your agents depends on the quality of your contact center Workforce Optimization solution.

Content Guru’s cloud-based contact center Workforce Management solution, storm® WFM™ provides everything you need to support your agents through the AI revolution. From intelligent scheduling to omni-channel forecasting, WFM lets you get the most from your top talent.

WFM sits within Content Guru’s broader Workforce Optimization (WFO™) suite. WFO is a powerful toolkit, which combines in-depth reporting, Quality Management, intelligent transcription, recording, and training capabilities. WFO integrates with brain®, leveraging the power of generative AI to support your agents.

WFO is only one part of the broader storm solution. storm boasts 99.999%+ availability, meaning you’ll always be available to your customers, at any time. storm is hosted on secure data centers within your home nation, to ensure your customer data is stored securely. As a browser-based solution, storm is accessible through any internet-enabled device, letting you enable flexible working for your agents.

Contact center Workforce Optimization is only one step toward resilient CX. Download Content Guru’s whitepaper, Resilient CX: A Field Guide to Surviving Hard Times with Customer Experience to discover more.