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Adaptive IVR Blog

How IVR and WFO Help You Win the Cost vs. CX Balancing Act in the Contact Center

Walking the tigthrope between budget and CX

Research shows that cost control is the #1 goal for contact center operations executives, followed closely by delivery of a positive CX

But here’s a dirty little secret: in many contact centers, those two objectives are diametrically opposed.

  • Cutting budget (fewer agents, inadequate technology) to meet business mandates can have a negative impact on customer experience (CX) and staff metrics.
  • Improving CX might require investing $ in processes, systems, tools, and products to improve customer service which may increase the budget initially.

Both of these issues require you to walk the tightrope between controlling your budget and delivering a satisfying CX. Successfully reconciling these two ostensibly conflicting goals is a balancing act that contact center execs can win. Let’s explore how to turn confrontation into collaboration with your workforce optimization (WFO) and interactive voice response (IVR).

Cost vs. CX: the contact center battle

This dilemma is also called inside-out vs. outside-in thinking. The former emphasizes business goals, such as shareholder returns and competitive positioning. The latter focuses on providing the best experience for the customer.

Fortunately, there’s a strategy that allows you to do both. By strategically investing in and leveraging technology to improve CX, you can also achieve rapid ROI, plus streamline operations into the future to keep the budget under control.

Pretty cool, right? Let’s dive into the details

Balancing the scales with WFO and IVR

Two of the most powerful contact center technologies are the WFO and IVR.

balance scales between cost and CX

It’s important to implement IVR and WFO solutions in a way that has your continued best interests in mind. Not just so they perform separately at a high level, but also so they can solve customer and agent issues together as a combined solution, in a very important process over time as you need it. They should be continuously delivering a clear picture of each interaction, from the customer’s initiation of a phone call to the productivity and efficiency of the agents – and how they individually and cumulatively impact contact center results.

Leveraging these two systems in concert is essential to achieving both cost control and excellent CX.

WFO and IVR working together to strengthen results

  • An optimized WFO generates large volumes of valuable data about agent/caller interactions that form the basis for root-cause analysis, process improvements and real-time analytics. It’s essential in delivering well-managed, optimized processes that meet business goals.
  • Meanwhile, an adaptive IVR generates thousands, millions, even billions of data points during customer self-service interactions by revealing what’s happening at your voice channel front door. This data offers invaluable guidance for improving processes, solving operational challenges and enhancing the customer experience.

Firstly, you need your WFO and IVR solutions to handle your modern contact center needs and work together with your best interests in mind. That means saying goodbye to lame IVR that acts as a router add-on to an ACD, and immature, one-off workforce management products that don't fully enhance customer service processes and workforce performance.

Then, let the WFO+IVR magic happen when WFO and IVR contact center intelligence work together to easily spot potential problems and improvement opportunities.

Simply put, combining IVR insights with WFO data can strengthen your customer service efforts and empower your team to:

  • See more clearly what is happening with your agents and customers right now
  • Understand what needs to be improved and adjusted going forward
  • Achieve business goals such as meeting SLAs, controlling costs and improving CX

Examples of WFO+IVR success

By leveraging the WFO+IVR together, you enhance your ability to identify processes and agent actions that affect CX, and which CX issues and pain points should guide budget allocations - ending the tug of war between cost reduction and CX improvement and creating a virtuous circle.

  • Use combined analytics to know your customer and improve CX: Learning about complete customer interactions can reveal behaviors and preferences that indicate better ways to apply budget dollars – such as improving IVR self-service options to automate more calls, minimize unnecessary call transfers and optimize staff workload management with WFO.
  • Automate personalization to elevate CX and save time and money: Adding customer-centric IVR capabilities, such as adaptive personalization, can end up cutting costs by recognizing customers and improving engagement, which in turn encourages the use of self-service and reduces average handle time, instead of relying solely on agents – a win-win all around.
  • Don’t hire more agents, automate calls to cut workload: Greater use of IVR self-service, together with strategic insights from the WFO, reduces contact center manpower costs through lighter demand and optimized processes to achieve KPIs.
  • Boost agent satisfaction and retention to increase CX: Streamlined processes, targeted training and a smaller workload lead to higher service quality…and better CX throughout the whole customer engagement - all achieved when WFO+IVR work as one.

Answers these 7 questions to tip the scales in your favor

To get started, consider the following:

  1. Which budget items are top of mind for your contact center?
  2. What is your customer experience rating and your goal to improve it?
  3. What are the main objections to spending money on advanced IVR/WFO technologies?
  4. Are you encouraged to maintain the status quo? Why?
  5. What data/trends/statistics would help you make a persuasive case for technology investment?
  6. What is your current call automation rate (percentage of calls handled via IVR vs. transferred to an agent)?
  7. What is the typical workload for your agents (calls handled per XX) vs. what you want them to be?

Level the playing field to win

You can have it all – better CX and cost control (not to mention happier agents). Change this traditional confrontation into a productive collaboration by harnessing the combined power of adaptive IVR and WFO technology.

Level the playing field between budget and cx

“Contact center organizations need data to inform their efforts to transition customer experiences from good to great. At the same time, they need this information to guide investments in operational improvements that underpin CX enhancements. The big picture -- from initiation of a customer call through its resolution, and the accompanying history – is essential to make decisions that will benefit both the customer and the business over time.” 

– Nancy Porte, VP of Global Customer Experience for Verint

This is the third in a series of blogs on the benefits of implementing and combining data from WFO+IVR. Previous blog posts discussed how WFO may not be painting a full picture of contact center operations and dealing with top operational issues that keep contact center execs up at night. These two solutions working together will strengthen operational and customer results.

Learn more about how you can blend workforce data from your WFO with unique information about caller behavior and preferences from your adaptive IVR to accomplish both contact center goals in one concerted process.

Forrester Report- Vendors Battle for the Heart of the Contact Center
Want to dig into the top technologies Forrester recommends? Their report, Vendors Battle for the Heart of the Contact Center, can help you plan your strategy to get a complete, actionable view of the customer journey.

Get your copy

Topics: Customer Experience IVR Business Case Process Improvement Performance Optimization Contact Center Insights Customer Care Customer Data Industry Insights WFO IVR