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Intelligence comes to workforce management software

By combing insights about where employees spend time when using sales and marketing apps, Radial was able to better streamline the customer and sales and service agent experiences.

There's a lot of hype behind most every software tool and application for sales, marketing and service agents....

Separating the hype from reality can be challenging for those charged with purchasing these systems, especially when relying on employee anecdotes to pick which ones actually drive efficiency and which ones bog down workflows.

Enter workforce management software.

By finding insight gleamed from workforce management software, Robin Gomez, Radial's director of operational excellence, was able to better assess which products enabled his staff and which ones hindered results.

"We didn't fully understand how agents were interacting with their systems and how much time they were spending in different systems," Gomez said. "We had a lot of assumptions about things that should work and how they should work. It used to be more anecdotal. Now we're pulling it back and saying, 'Wow.'"

We've been able to find inefficiencies in what we're doing and shining a light on it. We call it 'Tracking the untrackables.'
Robin Gomezdirector of operational excellence, Radial

Radial is a business process outsourcing firm, working with many systems and touchpoints within its own company, as well as the systems and touchpoints with Radial's customers. Gomez has been using Pegasystems Workforce Intelligence and Desktop Robotics tools to delve into how his employees were spending their time on the various applications.

"It's two-fold," Gomez said about why Radial is looking for workforce insight. "As the agent experience goes, are we creating processes or tools or systems that are problematic for the agents? We want the work to be as easy as possible and for the focus to be on customer experience."

The other aspect, Gomez said, is to improve the customer experience by getting more timely and accurate answers to their questions or concerns.

"From both sides, whether the agent or the consumer, we want the process to be as frictionless as possible," he said.

'Tracking the untrackables'

For all the good that productivity tools and applications can provide, there is certainly a tipping point. According to a 2016 Accenture study, 59% of sales executives say there are too many sales tools and too much segregated customer data. In addition, 55% of sales execs reported that sales tools are an obstacle to selling.

"If you're not intentionally designing what your department will use, you're going to get this paralysis of analysis," said Karl Becker, president of The Carruthers Group, an Arvada, Colo.-based marketing and sales programs consultancy. "Employees won't know what tools to use."

Gomez, who has been at Radial for 19 years, said the company has continuously looked at how to analyze the efficiency of its applications, and that as workforce management software has improved, so has the insight.

"There have always been challenges on how we really quantify what's going on," Gomez said. "We'd do side-by-sides, manual observations, pulling in all different kinds of reports we get, but we couldn't drive a lot of effective change."

A little over a year ago, Gomez sought out Workforce Intelligence and Desktop Robotics from Pegasystems to better quantify what was going on within the applications.

"There are a couple hundred touchpoints we're looking at, and it's been part of our journey to try to make the agent experience easier," Gomez said. "Part of what we're doing is finding those challenging points -- why is an agent going to four different systems to execute a task? -- and see if we can eliminate that need to do so."

One feature that Gomez lauded was the Opportunity Finder, which sought out areas of Radial's processes that could be automated to simplify the agent's experience.

"We've been able to find inefficiencies in what we're doing and shining a light on it," Gomez said. "We call it 'Tracking the untrackables.'"

'It's not cloak-and-dagger stuff'

Workforce management software is capable of tracking where employees are spending their time on desktops and within applications, which can cause a big-brother-is-watching-you type of atmosphere, which could be detrimental to the workplace in its own right.

Transparency was essential when Gomez and Radial rolled out Workforce Intelligence last year. That, combined with the fact that service agents have had phone calls and customer interactions recorded for quality assurance purposes for years, helped ease employees that were worried about a technological ruse.

"The ultimate goal is to help you be more effective in what you do," Gomez said. "We did not role this out to run a shtick on our employees. We let them know what we were doing and what we're looking at. It's not cloak-and-dagger stuff."

Marrying workforce management with CRM

In April 2016, Pegasystems acquired robotic automation company OpenSpan for $52 million, using its software to roll out its Workforce Intelligence and Desktop Robotics products. Pegasystems will be integrating Workforce Intelligence into its CRM application in Q2, allowing for users to combine customer insight with employee efficiency.

"Look at CRM applications, what you're not getting insight into is what is actually contributing to your longer average handle time, what's causing the net promoter score," said Ying Chen, head of product strategy for the Pega 7 Platform. "Being able to marry that [customer] information with the productivity enhancers or blockers so that you can see what activities are increasing or taking away from the outcome, that's key."

Exact pricing for Workforce Intelligence for Pegasystems CRM wasn't available, but according to a spokesperson, the application is free for current joint Workforce Intelligence and CRM users. New installers have additional fees.

Next Steps

A guide for workforce management software

New features in Pegasystems' customer service app

Pros and cons of workforce management software in call centers

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