Implementing a Workforce Optimization Suite can be exciting. However, planning for a smooth implementation can be time-consuming and challenging, especially when it comes to aligning expectations.
It’s common for the team responsible for deployment and configuration of the solution to differ from the team that selected the software. Therefore, starting with a solid plan complete with clear expectations regarding time requirements, feature utilization, and usage is critical to its success.
But even the most well-thought-out plan will run into speedbumps from time to time. We know that no two journeys are the same; however, through numerous customer engagements, we’ve identified the most common challenges companies run into and established best practices for avoiding them.
Here is our list of the top 8 mistakes companies make when implementing a new WFO suite and tips for avoiding them:
1. Underestimating the time commitment
Someone communicated a date for the program launch, and it’s non-negotiable. This happens more frequently than you’d guess and rarely leads to a smooth rollout. More likely than not, you end up with an overworked, stressed-out project team and frustrated stakeholders. Why? Because the first hiccup throws your entire timeline into jeopardy. To avoid this, discuss the implementation plan with your team and build a contingency plan to allow time to address unforeseen issues. You’ll be able to adjust where needed without working around the clock or, worse, failing to meet your deadline.
2. Overestimating what the solution can solve
Workforce Optimization can bring light to areas where your customers and agents experience issues inside your contact center and why. The software will not, however, address human factors, nor will it change company policies. If your expectations don't align with the solution's capabilities, you could find even the best software disappointing. Working with a reputable WFO solution consultant can help you pair you with the right platform and the right set up to meet your needs.
3. Assumptions on knowledge and usage
Workforce Optimization concepts are the same regardless of product, whether it’s Quality Management or Workforce Management. However, every WFO platform is different, and how you use their software can vary even more widely. Companies often assume all Quality Management products are the same or all Workforce Management products are the same, only to find out later that the solution they’ve chosen will not address their specific challenge. Select your WFO platform based on its strengths.
4. Forcing your software do what it used to do
What is worse than making assumptions about what your new Workforce Optimization Suite can do based on what your old system did? Attempting to force it to fit the exact mold of your old system. One of the most common statements I hear when we begin to implement new software is, “My current system does this; I want the new one to do the same thing.” The problem lies in that no WFO software operates the same. By forcing your new software to do what the old software does, you may be missing out on some of the best features the new system has to offer. Use the time for implementing a new system to re-evaluate what is and what isn’t working and adjust accordingly.
5. Underutilizing the software
Many times, there are more advanced features that you may not feel ready to tackle in the early stages of the implementation but don’t allow fear to stop you from implementing them down the road. These advanced features are the hallmark of what WFO solutions have to offer. They are what drives change and ROI. Start by implementing the basics, allow time to adjust and evaluate the software, then come back 30-90 days later and revisit the advanced features.
6. Not considering IT security
The number one delay in a project timeline for WFO comes from IT. Protecting your company's IT infrastructure is the Security team's number one job- you must involve them early in the process to avoid long delays. It's not uncommon for the control process alone to extend the project's timeline by weeks or months. The earlier you can involve your IT/Network department, the smoother things will go.
7. Not training your staff
Training boosts the feeling of value in both your employees and your software. It shows that you're committed to building the confidence of your workforce. The issue arises when you involve only a small portion of or the wrong staff in training. While a smaller training group may be acceptable for administrator and supervisor training, don't be so limited that you find yourself in a bind should an employee leave. Consider daily roles as well as project roles when determining who should be included in the training.
8. Failure to test the software
You invest in a new WFO suite, spend the hours required to plan and configure the system but then fail to test it from an end-user perspective properly. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) ensures that configuration and workflow errors are caught before the application goes live in production and into the hands of your agents. Most issues uncovered during this phase are easily correctable before cutover, but only if you properly test. Yes, it takes time to compose the test cases and execute them, but it will save you more time and headaches down the road.
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