The workforce is the key to the success of the contact center. Financial services firms can do much more to obtain better returns from this large human capital investment, including providing better training and new career paths.

In operating a contact center, the workforce typically represents approximately two-thirds of operating costs. Organizations have a huge opportunity to streamline the effectiveness of this critical resource pool and to obtain better returns from this large human capital investment.  Employees are seeking training and development leading to well-incentivized career paths that now flow into and out of the contact center. The increased responsibilities and complexity supported by representatives mean that contact centers are providing new career arcs for customer-facing employees and, in the process, building a stronger employee base across the enterprise.

Another benefit of focus on the workforce is the potential reduction in attrition, both in the contact centers and across the firm. Attrition management drastically reduces the costs of attracting, onboarding, training and retaining new employees.  A mature workforce also has a strongly positive impact on the customer experience, but it is hard to establish such a workforce.

We see people as the center of the digital era.  Companies that focus on workforce innovation can, in our view, make their people a key point of strategic differentiation.  In the contact center environment, as in other work situations, companies are moving toward what we have termed a “liquid workforce” with strong basic skills and the ability to quickly pivot to new tasks and learn new capabilities as needed (see the Accenture Technology Vision 2016).  As the Technology Vision notes, successful organizations make continuous learning a core competency, using technology to provide employees with needed learning opportunities.

Through such techniques as coaching (not just in hard digital skills but also in softer skills such as empathy), the creation of new career paths for contact center employees, and the establishment of digital collaboration among teams and supervisors, financial services firms can increase their employees’ level of satisfaction and decrease levels of attrition and disengagement.

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Innovative approaches to training such as gamification and massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been shown to provide employees with personalized instruction and a sense of progress as specific goals are reached, using the digital technology most already have in their personal lives.

In the fourth and final blog of this series, we will look at how financial services firms should organize their contact center workforce initiatives.

Read more:  Download “Transforming the Financial Services Contact Center:  A Human Perspective in the Digital Era”

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