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Evaluagent is a U.K.-based company founded in 2012 that is carving out a niche in the workforce optimization market. Whereas most WFO vendors offer broad portfolios of products that focus on operational efficiency to reduce the cost of agents, Evaluagent’s narrower portfolio focuses on the people side of interaction handling, particularly agent engagement and satisfaction. The company’s founders had in-depth operational experience of contact centers, and they set out to improve the job experience for agents over what they had encountered, which included cramped working conditions, demanding performance targets, hard-to-use systems and, worst of all, customers often shouting down the phone at them.

To support these efforts, Evaluagent offers three products: Call Centre Gamification, Quality Monitoring & Coaching and Call Centre Surveys & Insight. Call Centre Gamification, its primary product is based on a simple process: Define the outcomes (metrics) you want to achieve, collect the data to determine how well agents deliver those outcomes and reward those who achieve the desired outcomes. The product reinvents the age-old process of showing performance data on a wallboard, including the best performing agents. The difference is that, being software, it can be based on a wider variety of metrics and outcomes. The user interface is in tune with modern user expectations and, along with the application’s ability to visualize results, makes it fun to use. Rewards come in multiple forms such as points (which can be traded for a variety of rewards), badges and rating levels. The outcomes can be shared between groups or across the center, adding an element of competition to its use. Call Centre Gamification can sit alongside existing systems and use data from them as input to identify desired outcomes such as closing a sale or improving customer net promoter scores. The key is the user interface, which during a demonstration I found easy to use and should help ensure wide adoption. Managers can increase the fun aspect by creating challenges between individuals or teams, helping create a friendly yet competitive environment, all with the objective of improving overall agent performance.

Quality Monitoring & Coaching follows a morevr_ngccc_04_need_to_handle_interactions_better conventional approach, assessing agent performance against a set of predetermined questions depending on the type of interaction, analyzing the results to derive quality scores, and reporting on agent performance. The key is the analysis, which also has an intuitive interface and focuses on the key performance information supervisors and managers need to identify areas that require attention and agents who need coaching in them. The system includes collaborative capabilities so agents can give feedback and managers can track how agents improve. This is essential as our research finds that handling interactions has the utmost importance in a significant number (69%) of organizations according to our recent next generation contact center in the cloud benchmark research.

Call Centre Surveys & Insight also follows a basic approach: Create customer surveys, deliver them through multiple channels, collect responses, analyze them to identify issues and trends, and track key performance metrics. All three products run in the cloud and are backed up by services to help organizations adjust their cultures and processes to make best use of the systems, including the initial configuration of the software, integration of it into the organization’s existing architecture, and initial training programs. Information from one product can be used as input to the others so that, for example, customer feedback can be used to set a target outcome or to identify agent coaching needs.

Our benchmark research into the agent desktop correlates agent satisfaction and the likelihood of agents meeting key performance targets such as customer satisfaction and net promoter scores; very satisfied agents meet these targets twice as often as agents that are merely satisfied – a clear benefit of improving agents’ work experience. Evaluagent focuses on this experience, and for me its user interface is key to achieving its aims. It is  visual and intuitive, has several “point and click” capabilities to access information, and in short is fun. I have said before my concern is that the term “gamification” implies playing games to keep agents amused while they have nothing else to do. In practice it is far from that.  Yes, some challenges may resemble games, but it has a serious side in defining business-oriented metrics and outcomes, and finding ways to encourage agents and other employees handling interactions to reach or exceed their targets. I encourage organizations seeking to improve agent engagement and performance to assess Evaluagent’s approach and how its products can help.

Regards,

Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director

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Over the years, our benchmark research studies on contact center systems have shown that larger centers use dedicated contact center systems to support their operations nearly twice as often as centers that have fewer than 250 seats. Smaller centers typically lack budgets and technical skills to deploy and operate such systems. This situation is evident in the tools commonly used to support workforce management and analytics; smaller centers most often use spreadsheets. While spreadsheets have their place in limited ad hoc analysis for small groups, in an environment such as a contact center, they cause issues with regard to ingesting data from multiple sources and providing analysis in real time.

NICE, an established vendor of workforcevr_ngwo2_08_agent_workforce_analytics_tools_used_updated optimization and analytics systems to larger centers that have sufficient skilled resources to set up and interpret advanced analytics, now is seeking to meet the needs of smaller centers. It recently announced two new products for this other market. Evolve WFM specifically targets smaller centers, and NPM Essentials targets organizations looking for packaged contact center performance management and analytics.

Evolve WFM has capabilities similar to those in the NICE enterprise products but not all their features. It enables users to collect historical performance data and data from various telephony systems and use it to create agent work schedules that match agent numbers and skills to likely interaction volumes and patterns. Agents can input their preferred working patterns to be taken into account when new schedules are created. Managers, supervisors and agents have different views of schedules, and Evolve WFM helps them identify issues and correct them by adjusting schedules. Other capabilities monitor agents’ adherence to schedules and provide alerts that advise supervisors and managers of what is happening and enable them to make adjustments as necessary. Agents can be alerted to any changes to schedules using email or text message so that everyone is kept up-to-date in near real time. The product’s reporting capabilities enable users to monitor their performance against key performance metrics and export some of this data, for example, to a payroll system that manages the agent’s performance-related pay. Its intuitive user interface could increase adoption and reduce training costs. As well as gearing these capabilities to smaller centers, the system is available as a cloud-based service, removing the need for in-house hardware or IT personnel, and NICE has devised a pricing model intended to attract smaller companies. Evolve WFM makes it feasible for smaller organizations to transition from spreadsheets to a workforce management system that delivers benefits similar to those of more complex products.

Our benchmark research into customer analytics shows that, unlike many other business groups, contact centers often lack skilled employees to set up and use advanced analytics systems; managers or supervisors have to do most of these tasks themselves, hence the reliance on spreadsheets. NICE’s NPM Essentials aims to address this issue by demystifying the use of analytics and performance management tools and putting them in the hands of business users. It comes as a packaged solution that has only to be configured to specific user needs and possibly develop connectors to external systems so it can ingest data from them. It has been developed with employee performance in mind and comes with built-in connectors to the other NICE WFO products and some common external systems such as CRM. It works on the principle of setting employee performance goals measurable through metrics, collecting the data to derive those metrics, analyzing performance against those goals and recommending actions that help employees more closely meet those goals. It includes extensive reporting capabilities and tools that allow users to share information and receive alerts so that action is taken.

I have written previously about NICE’s extensive portfolio of WFO, performance management and analytics products. NICE was recently rated at the highest level in being a Hot vendor in the Workforce Optimizationventanaresearch_technologyinnovationawards_winner2016_clear Value Index and received a 2016 Ventana Research Technology Innovation Award in Contact Center Excellence for Adaptive WFO. The company’s acquisition of inContact extends them to contact centers in the cloud, becoming more accessible to organizations of any size. However, not all organizations have the same level of demands or the resources to make full use of advanced products and may miss out on core capabilities. I see Evolve WFM and NPM Essentials filling this gap and thus allowing organizations with lower expectations to advance the management and operations of their contact centers.

Regards,

Richard J. Snow

VP & Research Director

Follow Me on Twitter and Connect with me on LinkedIn

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