Best Workforce Optimization (WFO): The 2019 CRM Service Leaders Awards

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THE MARKET

The global workforce optimization (WFO) market is in the midst of change, with artificial intelligence ushering in a new era for service organizations, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. The firm’s report defines these as operating environments that feature AI, machine learning, intelligent virtual agents (IVAs), robotic process automation (RPA), desktop process automation (DPA), and knowledge management, all of which can help companies improve the service experience for customers. More specifically, the report asserts that AI-powered bots and IVAs can quickly respond to customer inquiries, while RPA and DPA enable organizations to reduce expenses and assign human agents to higher-value tasks by automating routine, repetitive tasks.

The report also identifies predictive analytics as an emerging customer experience strategy. It goes on to say that through a combination of data mining, statistical techniques, and machine learning, predictive analytics can identify relationships, patterns, and trends with an eye on determining the likelihood and business impact of future behaviors and events. Furthermore, the report says that predictive analytics could be used to better understand what customers need and want and provide real-time agent guidance and next-best-action recommendations accordingly.

THE LEADERS

Aspect Software posted a 4.0 in depth of functionality and had decent showings in customer satisfaction (3.6) and cost (3.5). It had a slightly lower score, however, in company direction (3.4). “With an almost complete remaking of the management team, it is unclear in which direction Vector Capital will be taking Aspect. This is leading to a lot of customer uncertainty and some understandable misgivings,” warns Ian Jacobs, a principal analyst at Forrester Research.

Calabrio earned strong scores across the board, with a category-leading 4.3 in both company direction and customer satisfaction, a 4.2 in cost, and a 4.0 in depth of functionality. According to Jacobs, the company “has moved beyond just the ‘We’re not NICE or Verint’ category into a serious contender on its own merits.”

Newcomer to the leaderboard OnviSource had a strong cost score (3.8), but struggled in the other three areas, with scores of 3.2 in depth of functionality and customer satisfaction and a category-low 2.8 in company direction. These scores suggest that the company currently has a “best-of-the-rest” status.

Although it struggled in cost last year, Verint Systems improved in that area this time around, earning a 3.6, up from 3.4 last year. Its scores in the other three areas were strong as well: The company posted a 4.2 in depth of functionality and scores of 3.8 in both company direction and customer satisfaction. Verint “still represents the gold standard” in WFO, says Paul Stockford, president and chief analyst at Saddletree Research. “As a market leader and innovator, Verint is a solid WFO investment, while always moving forward in its quest to optimize the employee experience.”

THE WINNER

NICE is the category winner once again. Last year, the company was brought down by a low cost score of 3.4; it improved in that area this time around, earning a 3.6. It also posted a category-leading 4.3 in depth of functionality, as well as a 4.0 in company direction and a 3.8 in customer satisfaction. “With a foundation in analytics for all its solutions, including WFO, NICE is poised to redefine efficient WFO in the future while offering a solid-performing WFO solution today,” Stockford says. Jacobs points out that the company’s “move to consolidate routing and WFO into a single offer has really paid off.”

ONE TO WATCH

ZOOM International reprises its role as One to Watch for the third year running. Although it remains affordable—it earned a 3.7 in cost—the company struggled in each of the other areas, posting a 3.3 in customer satisfaction and 3.0 scores in both depth of functionality and company direction. These results suggest that while the company remains a solid choice for organizations in need of a low-cost solution, it is not likely to leave that niche anytime soon.

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