Table of Contents
Frost & Sullivan annual customer surveys repeatedly show three core challenges that cut across all business segments: the need to cut costs, improve customer satisfaction, and improve quality. Each of these is intensified by factors and market conditions outside of the business’s control. The global economic downturn, for instance, has not only played a significant role in the need to cut costs but also produce goods and services that provide value to customers. The global focus on quality, which often suffers at the hands of cutting corners to reduce costs, has also made news headlines for many years. Adding to the pressure is the need to remain compliant with vast and ever changing laws, standards and government regulations.
However, the dynamic change in customer engagement, elevated by the rapid increase in technological change, is perhaps the biggest challenge businesses face. Today’s consumers are tech-savvy, engaged, more informed, and therefore more demanding than generations past. They want answers and resolution quickly and through increasingly diverse channels that include text messaging, chat and social media. Because they can research on the Internet and compare findings with their peers at any time of day, from anywhere, companies can no longer battle it out on features and price alone. Therefore, the battleground for competitive differentiation has become ‘Improving the Customer Experience,’ changing the way businesses engage with customers, and improving the customer journey across the lifetime of that customer.
To do so requires broad organizational change. Customer service is no longer the sole provenance of the Front Office, and to the customer, it doesn’t matter if the person handling their business is a contact center agent, claims adjuster, mortgage processor, or accountant. They just want their experience to be consistent with the promise of the brand that they have selected, whether it’s delivering on guaranteed overnight shipping, processing an insurance claim on time, or fixing a billing issue.
Work done in Front and Back Office impacts the Customer Experience. The Front Office, particularly the contact center, has attempted to address these challenges through a decadelong development of new customer interaction channels that cater to the changing consumer, and Workforce Optimization (WFO) and Agent Performance Optimization (APO) tools to enhance the Customer Experience and improve operational efficiency. The Back Office, at the same time, has gone through a similar metamorphosis implementing Business Process Management (BPM) tools and initiatives that address some of these core challenges through process automation.
However, for the past decade, the lion’s share of resources aimed at improving the Customer Experience have gone to the contact center in building out performance measurement, management and improvement tools. In the Back Office, BPM tools, while tackling inefficiency and the movement of work, focused more on process and not on people. Without the focus on the way people work, these tools often unintentionally caused inefficiencies, as workers pulled from endless task queues those things they would rather do than what needed to get done. Companies over recent years began to realize the direct impact unresolved issues and BO process improvement procedures have on the Customer Experience. The answer was the emergence of Back Office Workforce Optimization (BOWFO). BOWFO is an emerging market that takes a fresh look not only at cutting down on waste and inefficiency in the Back Office but also tackles quality, service levels, process compliance, resource allocation, and workforce management better. Integrated with Back Office, BOWFO blends concepts, features and best practices of contact center management into Back Office operations, to address the core challenges businesses face.
This document will address the emerging BOWFO market. It defines BOWFO and how it works, and discusses the benefits of its use. It also analyzes market drivers and restraints in evolving BOWFO solutions. Finally, it profiles a few key competitors and provides an outlook for this emerging market.
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