Don’t Let a Lack of Back-Office Data Stop You
By Mary Lou Joseph
Posted in Customer Engagement
A customer recently shared with me their story of extending workforce engagement from the contact center into their back office. The number one stumbling block? A lack of data. But they didn't let that stop them from achieving amazing results. Here's a snippet of their story.
A large insurer had been optimizing capacity in their contact center for a number of years and realized that there was a huge opportunity to do the same in their back-office operations. (Back-offices typically have 2-1/2 to 3 times as many employees as the contact center.) To start effectively planning for and managing resources, they identified three key pieces of information they needed:
This data can typically be acquired from an HR time and attendance system, or as in the case of the insurer, Verint's Enterprise Workforce Management (WFM) solution. Employee schedules, time off, and scheduled vs. actual data can all be captured from these sources.
An old-school means of capturing this is manually completed activity logs. But then you have some poor soul that spends their day just entering the data from the logs into Excel spreadsheets. The insurer used a tool within the Verint WFM solution called My Time. It's like a manual activity log, but employees enter the data directly into the system -- no in-between man needed. Using My Time, the insurer was able to track, by person, how much time people were spending in productive work, nonproductive work, team meetings, training, etc.
Many insurers and back-office organizations have a claims or core processing system from which they can get production volumes. Unfortunately, due to acquisitions, there can often be more than one system from which to consolidate data. There are also typically other processes and activities that occur outside these systems -- and all of this data is needed to create accurate capacity plans.
So, what's a manager to do?
Again, old school might be to give employees tick sheets where they log the number of items they process. This still leaves the poor sod who has to do all that data entry. An alternative is the Volume Capture Tool (VCT) within Verint WFM. Employees can manually enter into the system the number of items processed, in batches, by item type. You can compare this data to the core processing systems data to approximate and refine your data on the types of work and volumes executed by employee.
My Time and Volume Capture Tool gave the insurer the flexibility to fill their data gaps. According to the strategic planning analyst, "Without those two pieces of information, it would've drastically slowed us down getting into the back office."
I asked the customer what words of advice he would offer other organizations just starting on this journey. Here's what he said.
"Don't let data stop you. Keep going. Make it up if you have to, using valid business assumptions. They (the front line mangers) all have a general idea as to how much time it takes to do something and how much volume is coming in, in general. Every process is a continuous evolution, so don't ever stop. As soon as we got to that 'don't let data stop you' phase, we made some assumptions, started to use My Time and VCT, and moved on. You can then use that to come back to and say, 'Were my assumptions valid? Do I have the right productivity rate? What was my right shrinkage rate? Was that correct?' "
So I mentioned they had amazing results. Here are just a few:
Want to learn more about back-office workforce engagement? Visit www.verint.com/backoffice.
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