WFM data analysis plays a huge part in driving change within your contact centre – assuming managers and executives trust your analysis.

In order to help all members of the contact centre accept, buy-in and act upon your data analysis, you need to be able to present objective, actionable insights. To achieve that, you need to overcome the barriers that prevent contact centre managers from trusting your WFM data analysis.

1) Friction Between Departments

In order to present an accepted, objective data analysis, it’s important to first overcome any barriers between the contact centre’s planning and operations departments.

It’s an issue that isn’t unique to contact centres, and any workplace that operates with separate operations and planning departments risks some form of discord between the two groups. In most cases, the inherent friction between the two departments can be traced back to a fundamental difference: personality type.

Though we’re dealing in broad generalisations, there’s often an element of truth to the idea that those in planning roles have a greater inclination for analysis and objectivity, and those in operations are more people-orientated and empathetic. The differing nature of each role attracts people with different interests; and whilst both personality types are essential to a healthy contact centre, these differences can sometimes cause friction.

Within the contact centre, workforce management (WFM) data analysis can bring these differences to a head. When the operations team are handed a critical analysis, they may feel frustrated that the report (and the planning team) don’t understand the difficulties and challenges they face day-to-day. On the other side of the coin, planning can quickly grow frustrated, as they find it hard to understand why operations can’t stick to their schedule. Either way, the validity of the analysis gets called into question.

2) Access to Information

This difficulty in communication can be exacerbated by differences in access to information.

In many contact centres, the reporting systems used to create workforce management analysis are accessible only to planning teams. In cases where equal access is granted, it’s likely that members of the operations team will lack the training, knowledge and free time necessary to interpret and validate the analysis for themselves. This can often create a perceived asymmetry of information, with a portion of the centre’s staff believing other staff members to have greater access to information and insight than they do.

When reporting is the sole responsibility of a single department, without any mechanism for independent checking, it’s relatively common for members of other departments to fear some form of bias. They may suspect people of presenting an un-objective analysis (potentially at their expense), and worry that senior management aren’t being presented with a fair picture of their own department’s performance. Even without any validity to these suspicions, one-sided availability of performance information can easily create a distrust of analysis and reporting.

How to Create an Objective Analysis

In order to overcome these problems, and ensure that your WFM data analysis is treated as accurate, unbiased and helpful, it’s important to reinforce the objectivity of your reporting.

1) Design Reporting Systems for Operations Staff

Reporting systems are typically designed by the more tech-savvy of employees. In many cases, this results in a reporting system that’s intuitive for the most technologically-inclined, but complicated and confusing for other staff members. Making a straightforward reporting system available for operations people will help overcome the problem of information asymmetry, and allow operations to gain insight into the analysis process.

2) Automate the Analysis Process

An automated analysis process can go a huge way towards creating a truly objective data analysis. WFM reporting requires busy managers to devote huge portions of their time to sifting through mountains of data, and diverts their expertise away from the areas that truly require skilled input. By switching to an automated process, you can free-up the time of valuable employees, and in the process, reassure your staff that your data analysis is always fair and unbiased. This makes it easier for operations, planners and executives to get on the same page, trust your data analysis, and take meaningful steps towards improved contact centre performance.

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