CRM and WFO: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Rajeev VenkatJuly 12, 2013

Organizations have historically linked Workforce Optimization (WFO) solution decisions to their switch and routing infrastructure.  This is especially true when it comes to deploying the more mature components of WFO such as Recording and Quality Monitoring (QM) and Workforce Management (WFM). When to add, change or upgrade these solutions has often been tied to ACD-related decisions, which is all well and good.However, the need for organizations to differentiate and elevate themselves by offering a holistic and superior customer experience is growing exponentially. Furthermore, with the growing success of newer WFO components such as Speech, Text and Desktop Analytics, Customer Feedback and Performance Management that can contribute more to successful customer relationships, a strong argument can be made to link WFO decisions with the other major software decision related to delivering a superior customer experience—customer  relationship management (CRM) software.

CRM and WFO software address different problems toward reaching the same end goals of enhancing the customer experience while increasing revenue, keeping costs down and increasing employee productivity and satisfaction. CRM is like the front end of customer operations, while WFO is the back end.

CRM helps answer questions such as how can we:

  • Maximize customer relationships?
  • Maintain a complete picture of the customer?
  • Enhance collaboration?
  • Provide access to information?
  • Deliver consistent service across channels?

WFO helps answer questions such as how can we:

  • Have the right number of skilled people at the right times in the right operational locations?
  • Deliver the right quality of service?
  • Train and coach agents on demand?
  • Analyze and manage agent performance?
  • Listen to and analyze the voice of the customer across all modes of communication?

An organization may have an excellent deployment and best practices of CRM software on the front-end. However, if they do a poor job of listening to the voice of the customer across different channels, forecasting contact volume, scheduling employees with the right skills, and ensuring that employees are performing and delivering the right quality of service, then the operation is bound to fail or at least perform sub-optimally.

The CRM software’s abilities will not be fully leveraged if there are not enough employees with the right skills and quality to meet the desired service levels. Neglecting one or the other and not tying the two together present a recipe for failure. For such reasons, CRM and WFO initiatives should be tied together to maximize the benefits from both solutions.

A regional utility company in the U.S. did exactly this, leveraging SAP CRM and Verint WFO together. They orchestrated a cohesive strategy across both solutions and associated practices to realize broad, tangible benefits across their entire customer management operations.  The benefits they realized include:

  • Reduced call volumes despite a growing customer base, because of improved first call resolution and an improved billing and collections process
  • Reduced handling time by five minutes
  • Improved quality processes and root cause analysis
  • Exceeded industry benchmarks by achieving a service level of 83 percent in 30 seconds, a four-fold increase in three years
  • Increased employee satisfaction due to less burnout; reduced attrition by 20 percent
  • Improved average customer satisfaction scores from 84 percent in 2010 to 92 percent in 2012

CRM and WFO should be viewed as two sides of the same coin.