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TCN Executive Interview

McKay Bird, Marketing Director and Jesse Bird, CTO and Co-Founder, TCN

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Since 1999, TCN has been a leading provider of cloud-based call center technology for enterprises, contact centers, and BPOs. The cloud-based delivery model provides customers with immediate access to the latest version of the TCN solution, as well as the ability to easily scale and adjust to evolving business needs. Sheri Greenhaus, Managing Partner, CrmXchange sat down with McKay Bird, Marketing Director and Jesse Bird, CTO and Co-Founder, TCN to discuss their newest workforce engagement suite, a product built by TCN with their own intellectual property. 

What prompted you to build the Workforce Suite?

We like to control the experience for our customers who use our product. Many of our customers are small to medium-sized businesses. They have been doing workforce management (WFM) manually for a number of reasons, major ones being price sensitivity and difficulty of integration. With our unique pay-per-use billing model, we are able to deliver a solution that meets their price target and can be adopted and integrated very quickly with no additional implementation.

How does your workforce suite help them?

Generally speaking, across the critical areas of the contact center market, we find that workforce management is the area that people have automated least often. This is primarily due to the difficulty in implementing all other data and tools that the agents are using into the WFM solution.

For many contact centers with 200 seats or less, the cost of both the implementation and the WFM solution is out of reach. Our philosophy is to provide a unified platform. We provide the communications, workforce engagement, data management, integration, intelligence, reporting, analytics – all integrated into a vertical stack.

This is beneficial in the workforce engagement arena. With us, there is no start-up, maintenance or integration expense. You can go from 0 to 100 agents with just a few clicks.

In order to use a workforce management system, organizations need to bring in call data, interaction data, agent data, etc., and then train the WFM system to consume all that information. When using our system, there’s no outside integration necessary - it's integrated directly, cleanly and from the same company that built their contact center.

The reason why we believe many small to medium contact centers are not using WFM solutions is simply because it's a very heavy lift and they don't have workforce management expertise or they're not ready to take on that expense.

Many companies want the agents to schedule themselves. In addition, they want to have the ability to schedule phone, chat, and etc. Are you able to do that with your solution?

Our solution is designed to be an omnichannel workforce engagement, workforce management solution covering many channels.

Our first version was released on January 1, 2023. This version concentrated on the management functions that we call skills profiling (how to measure the work that is coming in) – forecasting (how to predict the type of work that you think might come in), scheduling (how to handle agents within the SLAs) and adherence.

We expect in Q2 to release a version of our agent portal. Through the portal, the agent will be able to set their own shifts, shift bidding, shift changing etc. The portal will be available to agents as they log in.

Will customers that are not TCN customers have the ability to purchase just the WFM solution?

The primary goal is to bring people into the TCN ecosystem and have them use our solutions as much as possible. When we develop an addition to our solution, our customers are always the first to learn about it. We are looking more towards Q3 or 2024 to roll out to companies that are not presently customers.

How would you say your WEM solution compares to others on the market today?

When you look at the big picture of WFM - Does it do skills profiling? Does it correctly take all the work that's there and allocate it into the right buckets? Does it match up the right agents? Yes, it does all of that natively out of the box. There are several types of forecasting models.  We spent a long time figuring out the right type of machine learning models to apply in that area and we think it does a really good job at forecasting. It does schedule. While it does not have every type of scheduling feature, it probably has the top 80% of them. We are able to tie into adherence very, very closely to what's happening in the contact center in real time and we do a great job at that.

Of the customers that are using the WEM or WFM solution, what are they most happy with?

We have a customer who felt like their workforce management system was using them. They bought something off the shelf and they had built some systems to integrate their data into that system. They wound up shelving the entire thing. While it was easier for this company to work manually, they preferred an automated solution. For them, the benefit to using our system was the fact that they didn’t have to wrangle data or maintain a middleware system. It was done. We will probably find that will be true of most of our customers who use our WFM tool.

Our philosophy has typically been to build and integrate rather than partner for the critical areas of contact center solutions. If you are using our platform, there is no reason for you to get workforce management or workforce optimization from other vendors. There is not as much of an advantage if you are not using the TCN platform.

What level person is managing the solution?

Typically, some type of contact center operator manager in mid-size companies. They may not have a workforce manager. It is generally not a technical person.

What else should our audience know?

The industry is talking a lot about workforce engagement. Last year we spent a lot of effort on workforce optimization, which is voice and interaction analytics, sentiment analysis, scorecards. This year we released workforce management.

The micro and macro: the micro being, how do I make every agent the best agent they can be with the proper training and learning, onboarding and performance monitoring, et cetera? And then the macro - how to make workforce management effective as it can be. Our goal is to bring to TCN customers both sides of workforce engagement. If you are a TCN customer, there is really no reason to go outside of our company for WFM or Workforce Engagement.