Autumn 2015 blog series: “Workforce Management in the making – how’s it done and who’s behind it all?”
– Number 2 of 5 postings. Stay tuned weekly!
How do we do R&D here at Teleopti? Of the many innovative teams, I’m part of the real-time adherence (RTA) team. Our technical manager and product manager, after communicating with customers, make group decisions, and, based on these, prioritize and feed us items in the pipeline to be developed. Time frames are relative but for the sake of simplicity, we can say that a bug is fixed in a matter of days; a minor feature is developed in two weeks and a major feature that requires tricky infrastructure changes within the application, one to two months.
A major breakthrough was the recent release of the much improved real-time adherence (RTA) functionality.
WFM, as you may know, isn’t only about creating schedules; following up and ensuring agents follow (adhere to) their schedules is equally important. The RTA module is then a vital tool for intraday managers and team leaders that allows them to follow agent performance where ever they are on any device and to drill down from site or team overviews to individual agent-adherence details, using filtering functions. More importantly, the real-time feed enables them to respond more swiftly to pre-set alarms from any mobile device. From our perspective, perfecting RTA to 100% reliability represents an invaluable – even essential – “must have,” especially for our large, contact-center customers.
To give an example of how RTA needed to be perfected: team leaders or intraday managers, using the module, request that certain data be displayed; e.g. when agents hang up, take a break, etc. In response, a huge amount of data is transmitted over the network, yet a tiny bit of data may go missing. Although we had a very high success rate – some 98% – we wanted to improve even more as that tiny bit of missing data could be crucial or even critical to the customer operation. What we display should always represent the whole truth and spare intra-day managers or team leaders any confusion or headaches.
The challenge was then to close the gap for 100% robustness and reliability. We gave it a hard re-think and for about two months, worked through performance issues, making changes and fine-tuning, as well as carrying out extensive internal testing.
Since the release in early September, we can say that, for all intents and purposes, the customer can now see 100% correct, reliable adherence data of any agent – of course, in real time. If, for example, an agent leaves for the day, the log-out message is now automatically gathered from the database and displayed to managers and team leaders.
After the release, there are very few RTA issues and those that do come in are now also much easier to fix. Looking forward to hearing the customer feedback that we’re expecting in the coming weeks when I return from my U.S. vacation!
What are the next steps? That depends a lot on what the customers say. Since we, as an organization, are driven by customer feedback, we’ll continue our close collaboration and keep listening to them to deliver what they value the most.