When I last wrote about Intradiem, its focus was on using numerous sources of data as input for a rules engine that enables companies to make better use of customer service agents’ idle time by allocating tasks to fill those gaps. Although that fundamental concept hasn’t changed, the latest versions of its products also take on a bigger challenge: automating the handling of interactions by shifting the focus from making the best use of idle time to making the handling of interactions and associated tasks more dynamic.
I see four fundamental drivers behind this shift. The first is not new; anyone involved in running a contact center knows that agent work schedules are based on historical data about interactions but that every day is different and real-time events rarely match expectations. Contact center managers thus spend most of their time working out how to handle changes in interaction volumes and patterns, the nature of customer inquiries, agents absent from work, meeting SLAs and other details.
The second factor is that companies must now support more channels of interaction; our research into next-generation customer engagement shows that on average this is about seven but can be as many as 17. Each channel can take different lengths of time to handle, require different skill sets, and some, such as online chat, require agents to handle more than one interaction at a time; all of this adds complexity and requires dynamic scheduling.
The third driver is that many companies have changed their priorities to emphasize the customer experience rather than simply handling interactions as quickly as possible, which increases the focus on agent performance. The fourth closely aligns with the third: Managers are now required to track, report on and meet an extended set of performance metrics, such as first-contact resolution, net promoter score, customer value and agent experience. Together these four challenges force companies to become more dynamic in scheduling agent tasks and responding to changing situations.
To help companies overcome these challenges, Intradiem offers a portfolio of products. All are tightly integrated with the others, and together they monitor interaction performance and can adjust schedules and tasks so the contact center meets its SLAs while improving agent and customer satisfaction.
Task Management helps organizations make use of idle time by monitoring agent activity and pushing tasks such as e-learning to them. Real-Time Adherence monitors the overall interaction processes and automatically adjusts employee schedules in response to unplanned events or other disruptions. In a similar way, Intraday Staffing can automatically adjust schedules so that high-priority tasks are handled before others.
Channel Balancing monitors interaction volumes on different channels and can shift agents from one channel to another based on preassigned rules. Intraday Coaching monitors agent coaching requirements, tracks agent and supervisor availability and can schedule real-time coaching sessions that focus on individual agents’ needs. Reskilling monitors the type of interactions waiting in queues and can reassign agents so that those most skilled in a type are available to handle those.
As well as these core products, Intradiem has introduced supporting capabilities and services. There is a tool that, based on preassigned rules, can push notices and alerts to agents and managers. It offers easy-to-use point-and-click capabilities so that business users can set up rules, in real time if need be, to reflect operational circumstances. A mobile app enables agents to access capabilities and information while away from their workstations. A similar mobile app for managers enables them to access capabilities, alerts and information while they are, for example, walking around the center or carrying out coaching. Both mobile apps are in the early stages of development, but Intradiem continues to develop them. The company has also produced a customized version of the overall product to help one customer manage its retail operations.
These expanded capabilities have helped Intradiem gain new customers in various industries, and the company has produced case studies illustrating how its customers have reduced operational costs and improved business outcomes. However, our research shows that the customer experience market is immature, as most companies struggle to maintain basic operations. To help progress, Intradiem has introduced a business process optimization consulting service that uses a “pay by results” model to help companies understand the need for change and how to use its products to support those changes. This matches my own view that providing a superior customer experience is not a simple task; it requires coordinated change in all four dimensions of an organization: people, process, information and technology. It requires organizations to transition from multichannel to omnichannel service, and to reskill agents and other employees handling interaction so they can deliver the experiences customers have come to expect. Above all it requires a greater focus on the customer and the ability to react in real time to customer demands. I recommend that companies starting out on this journey and those needing support for existing programs assess how Intradiem can help.
Richard J. Snow
VP & Research Director