Many organizations are recognizing that the very Workforce Optimization (WFO) solutions used in their contact centers for decades can now help their back offices.

Insights gained can help them better understand, structure and leverage thBusinessman_in_cubicle_using_laptop_resized.jpgeir back-office operations to improve the customer journey. Expanding WFO into the non-phone or non-customer facing parts of an enterprise requires proper planning and preparation in order to achieve goals. The most notable needs are:

Understand the cultural differences in the back office. Back-office employees (also referred to as associates, representatives, processors, staff—not agents) typically have a different way of working and view success differently than their contact center counterparts. Managers also have different processes and approaches to managing the work—and their people—than those in customer-facing parts of the organization.

Understanding those differences and being able to articulate how a WFO solution can be adapted to support those employees and managers will help pave the way for a smoother implementation and faster adoption.

Know your data:  WFO solutions derive much of their power through the data that supports them.  Recognize in advance that in the back office, it is highly unlikely that there is a single source of data, such as an ACD.

Back-office employees may have to go to multiple sources and spend time and effort to validate the data. You may also have to create a means of capturing non-system-related data, such as paper processing and time spent in training, coaching, etc. No matter how good the WFO solution, poor data in will lead to poor outputs and bad decisions.

Communicate: When expanding WFO solutions into the back office, there is no such thing as too much communication. There is bound to be a certain level of angst among employees and managers when confronted with the need to change their management processes and tools. A strong communication plan can help them better understand the changes coming and why the company is pursuing this course. Make sure you focus on the “What’s in it for me” for each role as part of the key messaging.

The bottom line is proper preparation and planning can help you get the results you are hoping to achieve: a more engaged workforce, more efficient back office and happier customers.