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Calabrio Executive Interview

Matt Matsui, Chief Product Officer, Calabrio

CrmXchange recently reached out to Calabrio for a discussion on their latest news, solutions, and the current contact center environment. Below are responses from Matt Matsui, Chief Product Officer, Calabrio, regarding their new acquisition, Teleopti. Teleopti was acquired in 2019, now we’re launching the unified product that stems from that acquisition.

What was the impetus for Calabrio to acquire Teleopti?

The importance of creating stronger human connections in business has come back into focus as consumers demand more from agents and from the customer experience. This has consequently elevated the role of the contact center and its crucial position in creating customer-brand connections. Forming the frontline between an organization and its customers, the work of contact center agents can easily make or break a customer relationship—agents are now brand ambassadors. Calabrio’s decision to acquire Teleopti, a leading workforce management vendor, was based on this prevailing market need to proactively engage, educate and empower agents to provide the very best customer experience possible.

With last year’s acquisition, Calabrio bolstered its commitment to a global, scalable, cloud-based workforce engagement management (WEM) suite, driven by customer experience intelligence. The new Calabrio ONE brings this to life by combining the two workforce management (WFM) offerings into a single world-class WFM product that is fully integrated one market-leading WEM platform.  

So what capabilities define the new Calabrio ONE for a new era?

The pandemic has brought to the surface a renewed perspective on customer service and how the quality of agent-customer interactions can positively or negatively impact a business’s bottom-line. The new Calabrio ONE is a direct response to that need.  As a fully cloud-based WEM platform, Calabrio ONE has been designed to meet the performance, agility and engagement demands for the modern contact center in the new era of work and customer experience. The integrated, next-generation workforce management solution is infused with employee empowerment tools, intelligent automation and powerful reporting, united in the WEM suite with quality management, interaction analytics and advanced reporting.

Can we look at workforce management, quality assurance and analytics as stand-alone departments, or is there a need to integrate the knowledge and workflows for each of these disciplines into a holistic view?

Breaking down the silos of data and business functions within a company is the key to unlocking powerful business insights needed to succeed and outpace a competitive market. Unifying the tools that support these departments is an integral step towards this. By integrating workforce management, quality management and analytics tools under one platform, the contact center can tap into aggregated customer and agent data in order to create business strategies that are more efficient, responsive and accountable. Automating the connection between the disciplines with cross-suite workflows drives these strategies even further and faster so as to elevate customer and employee experiences, as well as operational processes.

When scheduling the workforce, along with accepting and making calls, what other items need to be taken into consideration?

There are two key considerations; first is that the scope of agent-customer communication has extended beyond calls to a wide range of digital channels. This means scheduling has a plethora of channels to staff and agent skills to manage to best serve customers. New planning technology must be able to seamlessly optimize schedules to all these variables.

Second, contact centers today need to consider the individuality and autonomy of the workforce, especially those working from home. The self-service capabilities Calabrio ONE offers are built for the new remote workforce model that businesses are adopting. With it, agents can self-schedule, trade shifts, book time off, find overtime—all via a mobile app. Now, intelligent automation makes employee engagement and autonomous scheduling a reality, for example, the virtual concierge in the new Calabrio WFM constantly looks for schedule opportunities for each agent and presents options to them. Taking pressure off the WFM team, rules can be set for when to offer different options to agents, and the assistant is there 24/7, serving the agent with new, personalized suggestions.

In today’s environment, how important is it for agents to be able to, within reason, schedule themselves?

With the pandemic and a shift to remote work comes a greater need for companies to ensure high levels of employee engagement including agent autonomy. In a study we commissioned on how the pandemic has changed consumer and employee behaviors, it found that the top skill managers now expect agents to have is self-management.

The new Calabrio ONE empowers teams with self-scheduling technology and WFM assistants. It can support and manage most customer-facing employees during times of normality and crisis, wherever they’re working. A customer service department that runs with more empowered, educated and well-managed staff and has the flexibility to adapt to external circumstances results in streamlined operations, engaged customers and a more sustainable future.

Since the pandemic, many agents have been working from home. How have tool requirements shifted to accommodate the new reality? And, do you think that we will ever go back to on premise contact centers?

This year, we’ve been witness to more companies embracing remote work as the new normal. So, as with any shift, to successfully rollout such change, contact center employees must be supported with the right tools and resources needed grow and thrive in this new working environment. Tools such as analytics-enabled quality monitoring and voice and text analytics have all risen in demand as contact center leaders look to remain close to teams and create an intelligent, human-centric environment both within the contact center and for at-home agents.
The mobility and scalability of cloud-first software has also proven a must. Certainly, many contact centers will have agents in an office environment again, but the pandemic has shown that creating and managing an effective team doesn’t exclusively mean having all your agents in a physical contact center. The new hybrid means the power of cloud—and the other opportunities that come with it—is here to stay.

With all of the self-service options available today, eight in 10 customers still believe interacting with a human versus a chatbot or other digital self-service channel is a sign of good customer service. Why do you think that is so?

I believe that the definition of customer service and support has changed in the minds of many consumers. We are fairly accustomed to helping ourselves when we have a simple issue—we Google answers, we access community forums, we look up our own account information. But, when we have a complex issue, we automatically want that elevated to a human—we want active support and empathy, which is something humans do much better than technology. This is where contact centers need to focus; finding technology that enables a human-centric approach both for automating simple services and in driving empathetic experiences when agents are handling these complex customer interactions.

Many organizations do not provide a consistent experience across the provided channels.  What is the best solution for this issue?

As the type and number of channels rose, companies tacked on tools to support each one and didn’t integrate data on the back end. But, the impact of that inconsistent experience has now put greater emphasis on data being collected and aggregated across channels so it can be used to make better business decisions and provide a 360-degree view of the customer.

If we only look at data from one channel, we get a fragmented view of the customer and we miss valuable insights. But if we have access to all the customer’s data from all the channels they’ve used, and data from social media, CRM or other business systems, the operations team can use all those insights to understand customers’ needs and behavior, shape agent training, update processes and deliver a consistent and high-quality experience regardless of the current channel. 

With Calabrio ONE, companies have a single source of truth about the full customer journey.  

Click here to learn more about the new Calabrio ONE.