We’ve all heard of blending. There’s simple blending – like the mixing of a couple of ingredients together to create a blended whiskey. Then there’s the next level of blending such as the nutribullet – ready to blend anything from drinks to power smoothies to soup.
Much like blending different ingredients to create a fantastic drink or a heart-warming soup, blending the front and the back office is comparable, where the individual components do not work as well as the blended product itself.
Blending the front and the back office has always been a tricky task, mainly because of the differences in demand, expected service levels and skills and systems that exist between the front office (customer facing) and the back office (indirect interactions with customers).
In order to advance in a competitive world, where customer experience is everything to an organisations reputation, investment is continually being pushed into areas of the business that are customer facing.
To make this work, organisations face several operational challenges. Without complete visibility across all processes, they won’t be able to identify areas for improvement. With lack of real-time oversight of what people are doing, it’s near impossible to effectively implement service level agreements (SLA’s) which are accurate.
The Blended Workforce
This is where Workforce Optimisation (WFO) solutions come in. Workforce Optimisation solutions:
- integrate processes
- provide cross-operational visibility
- drill down into data for insight on how to improve the customer experience (insight is gathered in real time to keep up with changing customer demand)
WFO is popular in front end operations like contact centres. But it’s not just the front end contact centre that is involved in a customer’s journey. Ensuring the front office is streamlined will defeat the point if a customer has to stay on hold for the front office to speak to the accounts department.
This is why businesses are now working towards the ethos of a blended workforce. The blended workforce will ensure the front and the back office are working in sync, where according to the UK Contact Centre Decision-Makers Guide (2017-18), back office integration is placed as a top 3 priority by almost half of contact centres.
What are some of the obstacles that stand in the way?
Back office operations usually have different goals and processes compared to customer facing parts of the business.
For example, the contact centre sales team in a bank will prioritise speed and efficiency for the customer. On the other hand, the back office team who are in charge of approving and processing mortgages will be more concerned with finer details and compliance. They will take their time to look through processes and ensure everything is being done correctly.
Another obstacle which could be faced when trying to create a blended workforce is the silos of system integration. The front and back office might be located in completely different places, and run on completely different IT systems. Unifying workflows, combining data and removing complexity present serious challenges.
Tip: To combat this, OPX is a back office workforce optimisation solution that is platform agnostic meaning it will sit on top of any back office system and also integrate with any third party RPA solutions.
Achieving a blended workforce requires the right technology. Digital operations transformation software suite or back office workforce optimisation (BOWFO) technology has been developed specifically for this goal. They are designed to:
- Control and monitor workloads throughout an organisation (front and back office optimisation combined)
- Achieve smart work allocation
- Automate workloads
- Manage inbound demand channels
- Provide in-depth real time management information on demand
- Incorporate robotic process automation (RPA)
Interested in achieving a blended workforce in your organisation? For more information, get in touch with our partner Business Systems!