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It’s Time to Enhance your Workforce Optimization Environment

It’s Time to Enhance your Workforce Optimization Environment

Workforce optimization suites (WFO, also known as quality management/recording systems) keep getting better. The offerings, functionality, options and pricing from leaders, contenders and emerging players give end users a great opportunity to acquire (purchased, hosted or via software-as-a-service), the capabilities they need to improve performance and bottom line of their businesses.

In February, DMG Consulting will release our 7th annual Quality Management/Liability Recording (WFO) Product and Market Report. We invest over 1,000 hours each year analyzing the WFO market and all leading and contending suite vendors in order to deliver an industry report that helps end users in small, mid-size and large contact centers select the right solution and partner at the right price. (None of the vendors in this or any DMG report pays for coverage or inclusion. Vendor selection is driven by customer requests – enterprises’ inquiries about specific vendors – and each vendor’s ability to meet DMG’s participation criteria.)

WFO Market Outlook

The outlook for contact center workforce optimization solutions is outstanding. The quality and variety of solutions continue to improve every year. Contact centers of all sizes have many options and price points from which to choose. Now, for the first time, software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a viable alternative from a growing number of WFO and stand-alone vendors, although the market, in general, has a long way to go in this area.

WFO market leaders and contenders include 13 competitors, both large and relatively small, including: Aspect, Avaya, Calabrio, CallCopy, dvsAnalytics, Interactive Intelligence, KnoahSoft, NICE, OAISYS, OnviSource, Verint, VPI and Zoom. Five vendors – Cybertech, Genesys, inContact, Nexidia and UTOPY – are new entrants. A growing number of contact center infrastructure vendors have finally decided to offer their own WFO solution. In past years, Aspect and Interactive Intelligence had their own WFO offerings. Now, Avaya, Genesys and a growing number of hosted/SaaS-based contact infrastructure providers, such as inContact, have entered the WFO game and are competing aggressively for their customers’ business instead of leaving this revenue to the WFO vendors, as they did until the recent past.

Market Misconceptions: Setting the Record Straight

There are many misconceptions about the WFO market that prospects (as well as current users) need to be aware of when selecting a vendor. Here are a few of them:

Misconception 1: Leading WFO vendors earn a small percentage of
their revenue from sales of recording solutions.
Misconception 2: Recording is a commodity.
Misconception 3: All recording solutions capture 100% of calls.
Misconception 4: Quality assurance applications are commoditized.
Misconception 5: The modules in all WFO suites are highly integrated.
Misconception 6: A WFO solution comprised of modules that are 100%
owned by a single vendor is better than one that
includes partnered or OEM’ed components.
Misconception 7: All PCI solutions are the same.
Misconception 8: WFO functionality designed for contact centers works
well in the back office.

These misconceptions are generally the result of messaging from vendors who try to obfuscate, generally because they are missing some of the functionality of competitive applications. The WFO market remains a vibrant and dynamic sector with significant innovation in both core – recording and quality assurance – and newer functional components. Certain features of WFO solutions, such as TDM-based recording, are commoditized, but important differentiators remain in even the oldest component of this market, recording. QA applications are differentiated today and will become even more so with the introduction of new workflow-enabled functionality that will make the findings from QA solutions and WFO suites more actionable. DMG Consulting expects that these differentiators are going to become more significant during the next 2 to 3 years.

Final Thoughts

Increased competitiveness gives end users more choices, and this traditionally reduces acquisition cost. As SaaS becomes a more common delivery vehicle, DMG Consulting expects the prices in the WFO sector to soften, which will help increase the number of companies that can acquire these solutions. During 2011, end users are in the wonderful position of having many good choices, and should be able to negotiate to acquire what they need at prices they are willing to pay.

We invite you to reach out to us to help you select the right WFO solution for your company, whether you are a small, mid-size or large enterprise. Please contact Deborah Navarra at Deborah.navarra@dmgconsult.com or 516-628-1098.

DMG IN THE NEWS

2/3/11 Closing the Gap between Marketing and Customer Service
(CRMAdvocate)
2/1/11 Separating Fact From Fiction
(destinationCRM.com)

Ask the Experts

Question:
Currently we use a pay-for-performance program at my company. We review our staff every month, and 90% of their review is based on call quality. Each call center agent is given a level (1, 2 or 3) that has a rate of pay attached to it. They must maintain that level for three months to receive the pay attached to that level. For the reps that could mean an increase or a decrease if their performance doesn’t meet the accountabilities for that level.

Do you think the monthly reviews and the three-month level program is fair? We have been using this system for several years. I manage the customer service area of my company and think we need to change the time frame. What do you think? Should we continue to monitor and review every month, but change to every six months for a pay increase or decrease?

Answer:
Pay for performance is a call center best practice and a very strong motivator in effecting performance improvements and maintaining high performance levels. To be effective, the reward (pay increases), or the consequence (pay decreases) should occur as close to performance results as possible. For this reason, the three month threshold seems to be an appropriate and fair timeframe

Monthly monitoring and coaching sessions are critical for an agent’s success and a great way for supervisors to devote one-on-one personalized attention to agents … Read More

DMG Consulting LLC is a leading independent research, advisory and consulting firm specializing in unified communications, contact centers, back-office and real-time analytics. Learn more at www.dmgconsult.com.