Profiling the Back Office Workforce Optimization Market
Frost & Sullivan annual customer surveys repeatedly show three core challenges that cut across all business segments: the need to cut costs, improve customer satisfaction, and improve quality. Each of these is intensified by factors and market conditions outside of the business’s control. The global economic downturn, for instance, has not only played a significant role in the need to cut costs but also produce goods and services that provide value to customers. The global focus on quality, which often suffers at the hands of cutting corners to reduce costs, has also made news headlines for many years. Adding to the pressure is the need to remain compliant with vast and ever changing laws, standards and government regulations.
However, the dynamic change in customer engagement, elevated by the rapid increase in technological change, is perhaps the biggest challenge businesses face. Today’s consumers are tech-savvy, engaged, more informed, and therefore more demanding than generations past. They want answers and resolution quickly and through increasingly diverse channels that include text messaging, chat and social media. Because they can research on the Internet and compare findings with their peers at any time of day, from anywhere, companies can no longer battle it out on features and price alone. Therefore, the battleground for competitive differentiation has become ‘Improving the Customer Experience,’ changing the way businesses engage with customers, and improving the customer journey across the lifetime of that customer.
To do so requires broad organizational change. Customer service is no longer the sole provenance of the Front Office, and to the customer, it doesn’t matter if the person handling their business is a contact center agent, claims adjuster, mortgage processor, or accountant. They just want their experience to be consistent with the promise of the brand that they have selected, whether it’s delivering on guaranteed overnight shipping, processing an insurance claim on time, or fixing a billing issue.
Work done in Front and Back Office impacts the Customer Experience. The Front Office, particularly the contact center, has attempted to address these challenges through a decade-long development of new customer interaction channels that cater to the changing consumer, and Workforce Optimization (WFO) and Agent Performance Optimization (APO) tools to enhance the Customer Experience and improve operational efficiency. The Back Office, at the same time, has gone through a similar metamorphosis implementing Business Process Management (BPM) tools and initiatives that address some of these core challenges through process automation.
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