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Managing customer demand in the connected world

Customer contact has changed radically since the early call centres emerged, but the pioneer of this original technology is still leading the industry

Technology is without doubt having an ever-increasing influence on the way businesses operate and is likely to continue to do so. This comes as the world of work has changed, and as consumer demand has become instantaneous, with customers growing to expect the same one-click, always-on service from providers as they have become used to receiving from challenger brands such as Amazon.

Self-service has become the new normal and consumers increasingly want to transact with companies by any channel, and there is increasing necessity for near or real-time responses to their queries and demands.

“Traditional channels of communicating with customers are giving way to multiple, omnichannel interactions beyond the constraints of ‘nine to five’,” says Elizabeth Gooch, chief executive and founder of eg solutions, a leading enterprise workforce optimisation software company specialising in the back office.

“The old ways of working, using command-and-control tactics, have given way to the new way, which is centred more on engaging and empowering the workforce, encouraging collaboration to deliver excellent results. More and more, businesses are looking to develop and enhance their use of technology to meet the digital needs of customers and their workforce.”

Consequently, digital transformation holds a prominent place in the minds of leaders across a wide range of enterprises, with most companies already having a digital strategy of some description in place to meet the demands of the always-on consumer. They recognise the numerous benefits this can offer in improving customer service, streamlining and blending processes and, importantly, reducing administrative cost.

“This not only affects front-line staff. Work undertaken, in what has historically been termed the ‘back office’, is breaking out of its traditional bricks-and-mortar residence to become part of blended operations,” says Ms Gooch. “This comprises the call centre, branch, field or remote resources playing a major role in responding to and improving the end-to-end customer-interaction experience; a shift away from the typical manufacturing model towards an intelligence-based model.”

The always-on customer requires services that are always available. To this end the functions that the back office, or “office”, performs now need to be accessible throughout the customer interaction and the value chain.

This means that, without exception, enterprise technology must be deployable as a cloud-based solution. It must provide not only historical reporting, but also have predictive analytics embedded within solutions. It needs to merge business and personal technology to improve performance and exploit the digital literacy of both the millennial workforce and consumer. In addition, enabling the efficient allocation of the mobile workforce and consequently the evaluation of their performance is vital.

eg operational intelligence® is tried, tested and proven to improve customer service, operational efficiency and compliance while reducing costs

“As the number of mobile workers is expanding, employers are under an ever-increasing amount of pressure to adapt how they schedule workers’ shifts to address their demands for the flexibility they want to accommodate today’s lifestyles and personal needs,” says Ms Gooch. “For example, as bank branches close and mobile technology becomes more robust and sophisticated, many workers are now home or field-based, reliant upon and preferring to work with their mobile devices.”

This new flexible approach to working brings with it a further shift in how managers maximise the value of their most important asset: their people. Monitoring and evidencing human input potential and productivity is more important than ever. This demands the ability to control, optimise and improve back-office processing in real time, irrespective of location, to enhance customer service and free more capacity from existing resources to value-add activity. Due to this, there has been a shift in how organisations evaluate performance, preferring to have visibility of employees’ contribution rather than simply their attendance.

To gain most benefit, successful organisations need to forecast the skills and capabilities required to allocate work to their increasingly mobile workforce efficiently, wherever they are located in the world, evidence compliance and evaluate the performance of their teams in real time. They need predictive analytics, alerts and notifications all embedded within solutions that let them know where both latency and surplus exist before things go wrong.

In April 2015, Vanson Bourne conducted a detailed research project on behalf of eg solutions to determine the impact of digitalisation on businesses, both in the UK and United States. Some 90 per cent of respondents to this research identified a driving need for a back-office workforce optimisation tool within their organisation, which complements disciplines in their front office and optimises their entire workforce, including those in the field.

The eg operational intelligence® software suite is the world’s most comprehensive workforce optimisation software suite for back-office operations. Cloud-based and modular by design, the eg operational intelligence software suite is backed by more than 25 years of industry experience and is used by many leading companies in multiple sectors, including financial services, business process outsourcing, utilities and government.

eg operational intelligence is tried, tested and proven to improve customer service, operational efficiency and compliance while reducing costs by creating additional capacity from existing resources by prioritisation and line-balancing techniques.

eg’s mobile product extends the use of this market-leading workforce optimisation product suite to operational and personnel managers on the move and their workers, regardless of location. eg mobile enables the entire workforce to collaborate to achieve faster and a more accurate service, as well as extend the efficiency gains of the back office to workers outside the office.

When the eg operational intelligence software suite is used together with the eg operational management methodology® implementation services and accredited training programmes, eg are the only back-office workforce optimisation vendor truly to guarantee operational efficiency improvements of 20 to 40 per cent.

Ms Gooch concludes: “By transferring industry best practice, eg enable team and departmental managers to embed operational changes into their organisation to reduce cost, improve customer service and evidence compliance, managing customer demand in the connected world.”

For more information please visit www.egoptimize.com

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