Where’s the biggest opportunity for improvements in back-office operating groups?
Intradiem invited Donna Fluss, President of DMG Consulting and a leading contact center and back-office operations and technology expert, to answer a few strategic questions for our readers. This is the second part of the three part series, covering opportunities to improve the performance of back offices. The next installment addresses the critically important topic of what it takes to deliver great service and be a top service organization.
Over the past 15 to 20 years, enterprises have invested millions of dollars in business process management (BPM)-type projects to automate workflow and processes, but little to no effort has been made to improve the performance of the remaining staff; this is because BPM promised to eliminate the need for back-office workers. Unfortunately, this has proven to be a costly mistake. While BPM efforts were successful in eliminating some workflows and work activities, in too many situations they did not achieve the promised result of full automation. In fact, over the years, the number of workers involved in these tasks has grown in many organizations. The number-one opportunity for improving back-office performance is to give managers tools to help them better manage the performance of their employees.
The top three tools for improving the performance of back-office workers are:
- Work management and allocation tools that provide real-time transparency and visibility into what back-office employees are doing. These applications must be able to manage work at the task level. This includes the ability to set service levels for all work activities so that they can be captured, tracked and measured every step of the way. These solutions must also be able to capture work activity at the task level and feed it to a workforce management solution.
- Workforce management tools to forecast work volumes and to determine the right number of workers required to get the job done. Back-office workforce management solutions must be able to address regular work, backlog, and in-process items at the activity or task level.
- Quality control applications to constantly measure the quality of the work being done in the back office, in order to identify opportunities to reduce costs and improve the customer experience.
Just as we’ve seen in contact centers, a well implemented workforce optimization solution that includes these essential capabilities, along with a performance management module, can help back offices reduce staff-related expenses by 20% to 40% while also improving the customer journey.