January 4, 2022

WFO in the Contact Center: 5 Ways Quality Management Can Improve Agent Engagement

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A quality management program offers rich opportunities for developing, engaging, and retaining contact center agents.

WFO in the contact center— what is it, how can it help managers work smarter and not harder, and what are some pointers for implementation? 

These are all good questions, and definitely, ones being asked by contact center managers feeling the strain of maintaining staffing levels during an unprecedented labor shortage. Finding ways to keep frontline agents engaged, happy, and well-equipped to do their job is increasingly top of mind for customer support leaders. 

WFO, the vast umbrella that covers quality management and workforce engagement, provides

the means for improving agent performance, providing them with the growth and development opportunities they desire, and making them feel like valued and visible contributors to the company’s success and their own. 

A well-thought-out QM program presents considerable opportunities for developing, engaging, and retaining frontline agents. 

Here are 5 ways to ensure that your QM program engages your agents and drives continuous improvement. 

1. Develop customized coaching and development plans

Start with one-on-one discussions to identify your agents’ long-term goals and what they want to achieve. Assess each agent’s skills and improvement opportunities. Ask the agent to self-evaluate their performance for strengths, weaknesses, and skills they would like to expand or improve. 

Practical Pointer: Work together to set performance goals tailored to the individual, and set a timeline for meeting them. These discussions will help you develop targeted scorecards to drive performance improvement at the agent and operational levels

2. Make sure agents feel that they’re being treated fairly

The question of fairness often arises when agent performance is being evaluated. Remember to measure only what the agent can control, such as courtesy; compliance; adherence to policies, procedures, scripts; communication skills; and problem-solving skills.

Be sure to recognize examples of good performance and not just the areas that need work. Identify agents doing things right and add these interaction recordings to your eLearning library so other agents can learn from real-life best practices.

When implemented effectively, WFO in the contact center helps you recognize and socialize examples of good performance.

Practical Pointer: If you identify quality criteria that generally score low across your team or a group of agents, don’t single out individuals for coaching. Dig deeper to find the underlying cause. It may be a center-wide training gap or a process- or policy-related issue that needs to be fixed.

3. Provide feedback with context

Connect performance feedback to the interaction recording for the greatest impact. It gives agents the benefit of hearing and seeing what went well and where things went wrong. When agents can self-identify errors and opportunities for improvement, the feedback is viewed more positively. 

Timely feedback is more effective since the interaction is still fresh in the agent’s mind. Don’t make agents access multiple tools to go from the initial notification to the feedback, interaction recording, and coaching action. Try to remove disruptions to learning by streamlining the steps within the QM process

Practical Pointer: Ideally, supervisors and quality managers would forward the actual interaction and specific coaching tasks to the agent within a single platform. This provides agents with all the information they need to understand what they need to improve and how, and they’re able to ask questions or get additional comments from their supervisor using one tool.

4. Give agents a voice in the process

QM should not be a one-way process but rather a collaborative learning experience for agents and supervisors. Agents want to take an active role in those conversations, and recording 100% of interactions provides the means to do so. Agents can review their calls, emails, SMS, and chats and draw their own conclusions about their performance.

Build agent trust in the program by giving them a voice in their performance scores and the ability to question, share their concerns, or dispute a score. 

Build agent trust in your WFO contact center program by giving them a voice in their performance scores and the ability to question, share their concerns, or dispute a score.

Practical Pointer: Providing a dispute resolution process will help surface broken processes or the need to calibrate scoring.

5. Track QM Effectiveness 

Agents resent activities that waste their time, like repetitive coaching sessions that may be missing the mark. How do you know that your feedback and coaching efforts are working? By tracking agent performance scores, the precise coaching tasks tied to the interactions they need to improve, and when they completed the training. If the coaching is effective, individual agent performance scores for those skills will improve. A comprehensive QM solution can quickly and easily generate these types of reports.

Practical Pointer: Create a tracking and review feedback loop to ensure that both agents and supervisors continuously improve their QM roles and that the process is effective.

Rapid feedback helps agents adapt quickly to change

Change happens fast in today’s contact center environment. Being able to identify issues and communicate those to agents quickly is critical. Rapid feedback and intraday coaching provides your contact center with the power to promptly course-correct and close the gaps that impact your business.

What does WFO stand for in a contact center?

WFO in the contact center stands for workforce optimization. It is a combination of tools, strategies, and principles that help teams work more effectively while measuring progress. WFO integrates tactical business solutions like scheduling, forecasting, and performance reporting with staff-enhancing methodologies such as eLearning, coaching, skills development.

What is the difference between WFO and WFM?

The difference between WFO (workforce op[timization) and WFM (workforce management) lies in the breadth of the tool being used and its intended purpose. 

Generally,  WFO is the overarching business strategy, while WFM is the tactical deployment of certain parts of that strategy. Think of WFO as being concerned with the big picture and WFM as a subset of how a certain part of that picture will look.

For example, agent scheduling is a workforce management tool because it’s concerned with the day-to-day function of contact center staffing, but when used to forecast spikes in seasonal volume agent scheduling can also serve as a workforce optimization tool by altering managers to inbound increases so they can adjust scheduling plans accordingly.


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About LiveVox

LiveVox (Nasdaq: LVOX) is a next generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 billion omnichannel interactions a year. By seamlessly unifying blended omnichannel communications, CRM, AI, and WEM capabilities, the Company’s technology delivers exceptional agent and customer experiences, while helping to mitigate compliance risk. With 20 years of cloud experience and expertise, LiveVox’s CCaaS 2.0 platform is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. The Company has more than 650 global employees and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Atlanta; Columbus; Denver; New York City; St. Louis; Medellin, Colombia; and Bangalore, India. To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox or visit livevox.com.

To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox, visit www.livevox.com or call one of our specialists at (844) 207-6663.

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