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Modernizing Digital Care - Forecasting & Staffing [Video]

Khoros Staff

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In this session, we will cover a couple of questions we often get from our customers and prospects about ways to help manage change, forecast staff, and cover multiple channels. 

  • How do I efficiently cover multiple channels?
  • How do I anticipate staffing needs?
  • How does resourcing change if our business model changes?

There are many ways to do this, and each brand is different, not only by industry but by culture and customer journey. Before you make a change, ask yourself if it is right for your brand and your customer?

First and foremost, you can’t just think about “Digital Care.” You must consider the overall impact on your business.  Then start with aligning your business goals with customer needs. 

Remember, there is a difference between being efficient and effective. Efficient is a Business Goal; effective is a customer need. I often hear brands ask, “what is my competitor doing x,” “how can we be best in class,” “what should our targets be.” 

Just because you are in the same vertical doesn’t mean your strategy should be the same as your competitors; after all, you do want to win, right?

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How do I efficiently cover multiple channels? (and have positive NPS)

Business Goals often align with efficiency, so here are some things to consider that will help you to improve:

Workflows & Automation - Do you have the right platform, teams, and processes in place to handle your customer needs? 

  • Case management vs. subject management vs. ADHOC. Three very different ways to manage your incoming posts. I personally think you need to use all of these. The best thing is, you don't have to choose just one with Khoros. You can route based on several factors (tags, channel, convo type, teams, etc.)
  • Conversation Type & Teams - Sometimes, having specialized teams based on conversation type improves response rates (business goal) and time to resolution (customer need).
  • Channels - Brands often think in public vs. private, and in the “Getting Started” blog, we talked about Proactive vs. Reactive channels, so you truly need to consider your customers' entire journey. A PM from Facebook is different from a PM from Google Business Messages. How? From FB, your customer goes to your brand page, most likely sees Marketing posts or other customer posts, then chooses to message you directly instead of posting publicly. For GBM, typically, the customer has searched for an answer to a specific question “How do I fix XYZ,” and GBM shows in your business listing as an option to contact you, along with the top SEO ranked answers. (both FB & GBM have multiple scenarios so try to consider all when supporting channels)
  • Automation - are there opportunities to add a Bot? Repeatable or copy-paste answers can easily be handled with a bot, and most efficiently if you actually redirect to your self-serve Community. You can also use a bot to pre-qualify customers, which is especially helpful in unauthenticated channels. Your bot can direct them to log in or provide specific information for validation purposes. 

Reputation & Resources - I believe these two areas have the most direct impact on each other. 

  • If volumes are high, response times are slow, and resolution rates are low.  Sentiment/CSAT/NPS are often going to be negative. 
  • But if your response times are slow and resolutions rates are high, you may find that Sentiment is positive. Waiting (a little) to get the right answers is always better than getting the wrong answer fast.

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How do I anticipate Staffing needs?

If I make a change, add a bot, a channel, expand a use case, see a sudden spike in volumes, or just notice my team seems overworked! 

Whether it’s your first channel or adding something new, it can be difficult to determine staffing needs.

Plus, there are so many factors to consider, such as channel, use case and available content. In the end, it all boils down to making sure your customer has the best experience. With an influx of volume and unpredictable spikes, you should stop and consider how to operationalize your agents best. 

For anticipate volume increases, like adding new channels or increasing visibility of existing channels, consider things like:

  • Throttling and visibility to start slow
  • Automation such as Welcome Responses or even Triage can help reduce volumes.
  • Adjusting workflows and utilizing specialized resources can improve your efficiencies.  

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For unexpected volume spikes, such as marketing campaigns, crisis management:

  • Using the predictive TAR formula to determine if you need to add agents
  • Shifting resources to or adding content address specific conversations and responses
  • If you have bots or AI already in place, adding a temporary routing to determine if volumes remain steady

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 Also, remember each channel is different, and what works in a public channel may not be as efficient in a private channel, and vice versa; consider the following:

  • Monitor volume of traffic and visibility on web page(s)
  • Monitor click-thru rates on support articles to determine if additional content on your Community can augment your staff
  • Determine  call drivers based on other channels like voice & email to determine questions that could be answered by an FAQ (high % consider a bot) 
  • Utilizing workforce tools to ensure agents are focused and working efficiently 

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When trying to get the most efficiency from your team, consider these states to help you determine where your team may need improvements:

Agent Focus States

  • In-FocusAgent is active on the conversation management tab in the engagement application, with a current conversation open. 
  • Out-of-FocusAgent is on a tab other than the engagement application’s conversation management tab. 
  • ActiveAgent has a current conversation open in engagement application. 

Agent Work States

  • Non-Work - State Agent is logged in; however, not available for any work.
  • Restricted State - Agent is logged in; however, not available for new work.
  • Work State - Agent is logged in and available for all assigned work. 

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How does resourcing change if our business model changes?

How does resourcing change if our business model changes (agents working from home vs. in the contact center)? Should some agents cover multiple channels?

Your business process may or may not remain the same when shifting agents to remote workstations, but you need to be cognizant of the subtle differences. Some people work well in WFH situations, while others require more supervision. Keep your processes in place, increase your quality checks, and have virtual meetings in lieu of just a phone call/dial-in. 

You should also consider optimizing routing, consider having some agents cover multiple channels to make your agents more efficient & productive.

  • Channel vs. subject routing
  • Case management vs. subject management vs. ADHOC

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Some additional questions and things to consider, if you would like to discuss any of these in-depth, please respond/question below!

  • Do I assign based on expertise, location, team? 
  • Do I engage other teams like sales, product, or marketing?
  • Should I provide a solution within the minimum number of interactions?
  • How can I establish positive customer satisfaction across all touch points?
  • How do I attend to customer needs within the defined SLA?
  • How can I provide an environment where customers can self-solve when necessary? (Note:If you are interested in this topic, there will be an upcoming session on self-solve and using Community + Care. )

If you enjoyed this and want to further explore the subject, please download our eBook, Modernizing your contact center.

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