August 2019 In QueueMarch 2019 In QueueMarch 2019 NACC In Queue
Welcome to the August 2019 issue of the NACC In Queue newsletter!
month’s edition of In Queue exclusively features NACC member reviews of
recent industry events. We appreciate the active involvement of
our members and encourage others to submit reviews, opinions, or
articles of interest on any industry topic.
The 2019 Society of Workforce Planning Professionals (SWPP) Annual
Conference was held in Nashville, April 23-25, at the Omni Nashville
Hotel and Conference Center. Vicki Herrell, the Executive Director of
SWPP, and her team worked hard to make it a fun experience in an
environment tailored to growth, networking, teaching and learning from
one another. It was my third year attending, and I feel like I’ve
learned something new every time.
Prior to leaving for the conference, I’d already planned my strategy
regarding what sessions to target. I highlighted them in the SWPP
Quality Assurance and Training (QATC) app on my phone. I knew I needed
help with these two things:
workforce management concepts and data into “executive-speak”
Learning how my
group at U.S. Bank Global Fund Services could implement workforce
management (WFM) for our back-office functions
I’d also be presenting a panel session on how to measure WFM success in
partnership with two attendees and SWPP Board Members: Robert Dobson,
Global Head of WFM and Reporting for StubHub, and Dick Spearrin,
President of The Call Center Consulting Group (and 2019 SWPP Lifetime
Achievement award winner). We’d collaborated via WebEx prior to the
conference, and I was looking forward to meeting them face to face.
The conference started bright and early Tuesday morning with
registration, breakfast and keynote speaker, Justin Robbins. I’d had
the privilege of seeing Justin speak at different conferences, and he
was dynamic and charismatic as always. His presentation – “I Didn’t
Plan for This Mess” – covered customer expectations and how you can’t
win at the game of Contact Center. He also provided “MacGyver-isms” and
six observations on how to navigate messy situations.
My next session was “Selling Workforce Topics to the Executive Level.”
“Ah, here we go,” I thought, “Just what I’m here for.”
This session talked about how the landscape of WFM is changing to
become more sophisticated and integrated operationally – and how
executives are saving a seat at the table to hear from WFM. The
presenters also shared best practices on the following:
How to know your
audience and what they want
How to present
information by telling a concise, logical story
What pitfalls to
avoid and tips to implement to get to the heart of the matter:
providing executives with line-of-sight to performance, projections,
costs and return on investment (ROI)
After lunch, I headed to my next session, “Implementing VTO and
Determining ROI.” Voluntary time off (VTO) is something we’d started
last year to offset overstaffing during our off-peak months. (In my
realm, off-peak months are May through October, where we give offline
time for growth and development and allow for people to use paid time
off (PTO) to go home early. November through April are high volume
months for us, and we often reduce the amount of offline time to put
all hands-on deck.)
I was interested in seeing what others were doing and getting ideas how
we could improve. This session talked about determining a business’s
intended goal and outcome, tailoring your offering to those needs and
wants, then reporting on it. Session presenters walked through how they
set up their environments, what they learned and how they continued to
work through the process and launch it outside their pilot groups.
My last session for the day was “How Gerber Life Integrated WFM Support
to the Back Office.” My department had been offering chat options and
email, mail and fax servicing for a while, but hadn’t formally started
forecasting volumes or planning for our back-office offerings. This
session gave some ideas around what specific information to gather. It
detailed how each individual task is processed, how to identify gaps in
that process to see if there are opportunities to streamline, how to
discover any technological obstacles specific to paper handling and how
to train operations and management staff on data analysis and
The last session I attended Tuesday segued nicely into my first morning
session Wednesday, “Extending WFM to the Back Office.” Clearly, I
wanted to get a full-on perspective from as many experts as I could.
This session dove into even more detail pertaining to the back office.
It gave additional insights on forecasting, scheduling, workload
management and reporting of back office tasks. I felt confident I’d
taken enough good notes out of these sessions and gotten some ideas to
take back to my organization around integrating WFM into the back
Afterward, I was excited to attend my next session, “Making Use of Your
WFM System – Flex Scheduling.” I was interested in getting ideas and
learning about other organization’s successes and opportunities
regarding flexible scheduling, as this was something we’d already been
doing in our own contact center at U.S. Bank Global Fund Services. I
heard about Dish Network’s foray into implementing flex scheduling for
14 pilot teams in their 7,000-agent contact centers – and what they
learned, and are continuing to learn, throughout the process. Their
pilot groups included work-from-home agents, an offering we implemented
and are looking to expand in our own contact center.
After lunch and WFM Jeopardy, I headed to “How to Increase Employee
Engagement.” It was presented by NICE, the vendor we use for our
scheduling and performance management software. They highlighted data
on the cost of attrition per agent ($12,000-$16,000), the percentage of
millennials and Gen-Xers that will leave their jobs within two years
(millennials: 43%, Gen-Xers: 61%), the amount companies lose in
productivity due to actively disengaged employees ($483-605 billion
every year) and the percentage of the American workforce that’s
disengaged (51%). There was also discussion about how a flexible
working arrangement can enhance employee engagement and how important
it is to get agent input and feedback.
An ice cream social with the sponsors came next, and after that, I
needed to prepare for my own presentation, “How Do You Measure WFM
For this, Bob, Dick and I hosted an interactive panel where we talked
about our own individual WFM and business environments. We discussed
our key performance indicators (KPIs) and gave measurement examples
from within our own organizations. Then we fielded questions regarding
what measurements might be the best fit for other organizations.
Everyone gathered that evening at B.B. King’s Blues Lounge, just off
Broadway, for some authentic southern BBQ, music and more networking.
Downtown Nashville was bustling with activity for the 2019 NFL Draft
and the Rock-N-Roll Marathon, and I enjoyed taking in much of the
cultural ambience before heading back to the hotel to rest up for the
final half-day of sessions.
I needed to be at the airport for a late morning flight, but I was
still able to attend breakfast and one final session, “Developing and
Delivering Effective Data-Based PowerPoint Presentations.” The
presenters talked through presenter roles, skillset, perceptions and
barriers. Then they connected the dots between stakeholder expectation
and data format and presentation. They informed us that executive time
is precious and that leading with the most important information first
– in a clear, concise manner – is key. The presenters instructed us to
put ourselves in the executive’s shoes when looking at data and ask:
“How do I feel when I look at it? Confused? Informed? Curious?
Questioning? Overwhelmed?” Finding out presentation preferences from
your audience can go a long way toward providing information that tells
a story in the way executives need it told.
Finally, it was time to go home, and on my taxi ride to the airport, I
took time to ponder and process all the great information received. I
celebrated my opportunity to contribute to the conference by sharing my
own story and thought about how to share my experience with others.
My primary takeaway, and the first thing I’ll encourage others to do is
this: if you have an opportunity to become an SWPP member and attend a
conference in the future, don’t walk – run – to the registration site.
And if you can present your information, go for it! There is so much
knowledge to gain, there are so many relationships to build, and there
is so much experience to tap into – I can promise you won’t regret it.
I hope to see you at next year’s conference, March 30 to April 1, 2020.
Stay tuned for details at www.swpp.org.
Engage 2019 NACC Member Attendee Review
Frantz, Senior Customer Service Manager, Spring Window Fashions LLC,
My team and I had the opportunity to attend Verint Engage again this
year – second time attending for two of us and third time for
another. The event, as usual, was very well
organized/orchestrated from the excellent venue (Universal Studios –
Lowe’s Royal Pacific and Sapphire Falls Resorts) to management of the
event, which was handled through “klik.” Klink is an app (similar to
previous years) where you could see all offered tracks and create your
own schedule etc. on any device. It also sent reminders as well
as real time communications on any changes to schedules etc.
Verint provided high tech name tag badges which were also your key to
networking. All you had to do was hold your badge up to other
attendee(s)’ badge and press a button on the badge. It would then
flash, letting you know that you connected with that other
attendee. The other person’s details then appeared in your app
contact list. No more business cards!
Our goals in attending Engage 2019 were to benchmark against other
users to ensure we are using our existing applications
effectively/efficiently, learn about potential applications we’re
exploring, and of course network with users we can reach out to.
We also managed to pick up a trick or two about best use of our Verint
solutions along the way!
The event did not disappoint. Session track content was relevant, as
always, and was primarily conducted by real users happy to share their
success and pro tips on how they made it work. In addition to the
session tracks, our Verint account executive reached out in advance to
set up meaningful meetings/discussions to ensure we got the most out of
the event. I would recommend it to anyone who has not been.
If you’re thinking about whether or not to make the investment in
attending a customer conference, make that investment. It is
worth it! We look forward to attending in the future.
(And thanks for attending my Engage 2019
session on generational issues in the contact center industry,
Amanda. Great to see you there, and I hope to see you at Engage
next year! - Editor)
In This Issue...
At The SWPP Annual Conference
Engage 2019 Attendee Review
"You aren't wealthy
until you have something money can't buy."
~ Garth Brooks
NACC has been burning
the midnight oil and typing until our fingers are sore to bring out
reports to our members. Each is listed below. If you are interested to
see what we are writing about, click on the links
below and download the executive summary of each. If you like
what you see, join the NACC so that you can view these reports and
others that will be coming out soon on our website. These reports will
ensure that you know the latest trends in the industry.