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TechStyle Gets NICE with Its Employees
An agent engagement tool and precise staff forecasting provide a path to better experiences for employees and customers
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Growing companies encounter many challenges. For TechStyle Fashion Group in El Segundo, Calif., one early hurdle was managing its expanding workforce. While still a start-up, TechStyle brought on powerhouse brands like Kate Hudson’s Fabletics, ShoeDazzle, and FabKids. It already had a system to coordinate staff, but Shannon Nowell, senior manager of workforce management (WFM) systems and analytics at TechStyle, soon realized that it needed something more robust to help manage and optimize the schedules of its more than 650 customer-facing agents around the world, in locations as diverse as Los Angeles, Barcelona, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, and Serbia.

Changing the status quo required a thoughtful approach. “We had been stuck in an eight-hour-block phase for a couple years,” she explains. “Our tenured employees were used to that schedule, and it was going to be disruptive for them to get anything different, such as a program of four tens or a flex schedule.”

TechStyle was keen to find a WFM system that could balance both employee schedule preferences and expanding business needs. Nowell’s team interviewed stakeholders, identified their needs and expectations, explored the products available, and compared them against the company’s requirements. “When we did that, NICE came up on top,” she says of the unified cloud WFM platform she ultimately selected. The rollout took just six weeks and was completed in September 2016.

Among the factors NICE had in its favor was its ability to integrate with the Customer Interaction Cloud solution that TechStyle had already deployed from inContact, which NICE acquired in mid-2016 for $940 million.

Together, the two systems can track real-time data around agent and call activities and forecast and generate schedules for multiple sites. It has had a trickle-down effect.

“When we improved the forecast, we scheduled people better, and they were more aligned with our call arrival patterns, which allows for a better member experience,” Nowell says.

The dynamic and more precise scheduling has enabled the company to better empower its agents, too. Agents have more control of their scheduling via NICE’s Webstation, a single portal for managing personal-time-off (PTO) requests, vacation requests, and shift bids.

“With that, we found we could offer more PTO opportunities for agents,” Nowell says.

“Also, if they’re high-performing agents, we have a ranking for them, and they can choose the schedule they like based on their higher preference,” she explains.

Using the platform’s modeling functionality, the team has run scheduling scenarios “where we were actually so efficient we cut operating costs by at least $700,000,” Nowell says. That’s money the company plans to reinvest in its workforce.

The member experience has improved, too. “Our answer rates before the NICE rollout were 92 percent. At the close of 2016 they were up to 97 percent,” Nowell says. “Our speed of answer also improved, dropping from a minute and 15 seconds down to 30 seconds.” Call wrap-ups also saw a 38 percent reduction.

In addition, though attrition rates among agents were already low, Nowell says, “We definitely saw a decrease in attrition when we implemented NICE and began offering those agent empowerment tools,” she says. Agent productivity has seen a 25 percent increase as well.

Nowell finds the advantages offered by cloud services, such as the adaptive, flexible nature of the NICE platform, very exciting. It was one of the main factors her team considered during system selection. “We’re a technology company, and we want to stay innovative,” she explains. “We want partners that are innovative as well.”

Looking ahead, TechStyle might consider leveraging NICE’s robotic automation capabilities, too. “It’s an opportunity to take repetitive processes and have a ‘macro on steroids’ do them as opposed to a person,” she says. This would also enable the company to free up workers, who could then be used in more strategic ways.

“It’s been a great relationship with NICE, and we hope to keep it strong and expand upon it,” Nowell says.

The Payoff

Since deploying NICE's WFM solution with its inContact Customer Interaction Cloud, TechStyle Fashion Group has seen the following results: 

  • a $700,000 reduction in operating costs;
  • an increase in answer rates from 92 percent to 97 percent;
  • a quicker speed of answer, from 1 minute 15 seconds to 30 seconds;
  • a 38 percent reduction in call wrap-ups; and
  • a 25 percent increase in agent productivity.

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