The pandemic created the circumstances for a complete reassessment of the tools and processes used in contact centers to manage agents. In short order, an entire industry’s fundamental assumptions about technology and best practices were called into question by the need to remove workers from crowded centers into home environments. The vendor community responded quickly with a variety of new, or newly emphasized, ideas for how organizations should react. As a result, there has been a fundamental change in the set of tools now associated with agent management. And although some of the changes are directly attributable to the urgency of the pandemic, there were underlying trends propelling them already discernable before Covid.
Social and technological advances have radically changed the contents of the agent management portfolio.
Agent Management is a broad area that contains multiple software applications with separate but related purposes. There are multiple terms used to describe it in the industry: agent performance optimization; workforce optimization and workforce engagement management — these are all flavors of the components but not the entirety of agent management. Ventana Research believes that recent social and technological advances have radically changed the contents of the agent management portfolio, and that some vendors are moving faster than others to recognize and implement the shift.
Agent management is critical for two reasons. First, agents represent the single largest ongoing cost for contact centers, which have been plagued by high turnover for so long that it is generally considered an unsolvable cost of doing business. Second, agents are the direct point of contact with customers, meaning that poor performance directly affects customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately revenue. Better trained and equipped agents provide interactions that are faster and more accurate.