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Omni-channels, BI, AI, Robots, Chatbots… Are You up to Speed? - Calabrio - Blog

Omni-channels, BI, AI, Robots, Chatbots… Are You up to Speed?

Think of workforce management (WFM) as a cockpit with instruments, indicating how your flight or – in this context – “business” is going. Without WFM, you’re practically flying in the dark - if not blindly so! Where are you headed exactly? What’s going on? What should you do? What decisions should be made? Tremendous development and evolution, both in cockpits and WFM, have taken place in the past decades. Are you keeping up?

The term “WFM” is hardly new and dates back thirty years or more. Twenty years ago, the general talk was about inbound and outbound centers. At the turn of the century, the buzz turned to increasing efficiency, and the multi-skill environment arose in response.

At the beginning of this decade, the talk turned to multi-channels. Not only were there ten different kinds of phone calls but also different channels – e.g. e-mail and chat. Voilà the rise of the multi-channel contact-center and agent. Today, it is not unusual for agents to have 20 skill areas in their profiles in conjunction with different types of interactions.

Two to three years ago, we got into the world of omni-channel. What does this mean? Let’s say you go into the website of your bank and browse. You then click the “chat” button. With omni-channel in place, what you were browsing need not be repeated: it’s already been recorded. This saves precious time, both for customers and the customer-servicing outfit.

If the chat person is unable to answer your query, you’re transferred to the appropriate agent and a live call. Again, thanks to “omni,” the history of your web browsing and the chat now goes to the live call – without your having to repeat everything all over again. “Omni” gets rid of all the annoying repetition, thus improving the overall customer experience.

When discussing replacing or upgrading your WFM, multi-channels, multi-skills and omni-channels should absolutely be part of that discussion. Whatever system is being utilized for planning, forecasting or scheduling, these areas should become part of the equation, if they aren’t already – and, in my opinion, they should be done on the double. The WFM of today can no longer afford to think about just planning, forecasting and scheduling alone.

It is 2018 and the buzz in the contact-center industry is about market drivers in digital advancement. This applies to business intelligence (BI), artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots and wearable devices.

Let’s talk about BI. Your WFM is connected to your automatic call distributor (ACD) but could and should also be connected to multiple platforms - for example, to the Salesforce platform  that then sends and receives information. This achieves and increases invaluable BI!

Utilize your WFM as a central system, like an octopus with many arms, connecting it to multiple platforms. And why not connect it to HR and payroll, automatically pushing data about agent behavior? Without this, someone has to collect this contact-center data and send it manually in a report.

What will this bring the contact center? Even better BI. For example, of the twenty agents on the job, who is most likely to break adherence within the next twenty minutes? AI will give you the answer. Boom. Mary Jane.

Providing BI to supervisors is already happening via the intra-day management feature of modern-day WFM: the system constantly analyzes campaigns and market behavior, makes assumptions, etc. This, and more, will become even more accurate and swifter in the near future. AI then takes it from there and based on this information, can make better, swifter decisions that will end up making your business run more optimally.

In today’s day and age, there never seems to be enough time – there’s always a million things to do. Sounds familiar? Robots to the rescue, sending warning flags! Many organizations are adopting the chatbot approach and automating customer care. But please don’t confuse these with interactive voice response (IVR) systems, saying: “Thank you for calling. Please dial….”

The chatbot platform analyzes your voice and message, and then responds accordingly. Isn’t it spooky that sometimes you can’t distinguish a robot’s voice from a real one! Think Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore, in the 2013 blockbuster film, HER, where Scarlett Johansson plays the role of Samantha, an artifically intelligent, personified voice of a computer operating system – so empathetic and growing all the time…in fact, growing far beyond her britches!

Finally, we come to wearable and remote smart devices - a favorite! I’m talking about them setting the right temperature on your side of the bed or measuring your sleep IQ; opening the front door when the bell rings, even if 3,000 miles away; the sprinkler system watering the lawn only when necessary, popping your dog a treat when s/he behaves at home but you’re at work; Ralph Lauren taking your measurements through a shirt and sending it digitally. This is all happening here and now!

Imagine supervisors wearing Google glasses – even prescription-filled ones – receiving reports, red flags and warnings, right in front of them! It’s up-to-the-minute intelligence in an instant. Imagine agents stating shift preferences, getting time-off approvals and swapping shifts - right from their wearable devices. It’s cool and it’s where we’re headed.

Anyone thinking of investing in a WFM solution must think of its future and how it will play with the onslaught of these digital advances. To be up to speed, start thinking about how to blend your multi-channel capabilities with these digital advances. Doing so - i.e. accommodating your multi-channels - will bring you even greater efficiency of scale.


Publish Date: January 19, 2018 5:00 AM

2021 Buyers Guide Training


Charlotte Purvis
Charlotte Purvis is a speaker and communication consultant who has influenced an average of one million customer interactions each year for over 20 years. She consults, trains, and speaks on customer service, business communication, and leadership development for global companies, universities, and community organizations. She practices what she teaches as evidenced by nearly 100% of her engagements coming from repeat or referral business.


Call Centers
Contact Centers
Admin Training
Supervisor Training

Davis-Mayo Associates

"Service Excellence" Customer Service Training
Live onsite training for your teams. Experienced by more than 450,000 people in 48 US states and 18 countries. No-nonsense approach by our experts with field-test content customized to your situation and using your scenarios.


Happitu is your customer support team’s personal coach. It guides your team through every interaction with custom workflows, responsive scripting, and dynamic help topics. As a result, Happitu slashes training time, delivers higher resolution rates, and reduces handle times.

Documentation in Happitu is automated, detailed, and consistent. Go beyond handle times and service levels with the rich insights of Happitu – from granular interaction data to aggregate data and trends – you get the complete CX journey!

We intentionally built the Happitu Workflow Designer with your customer support team in mind. Using our intuitive tools that provide quick and safe iteration, you eliminate the...
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Lieber & Associates

Training Executives, Managers, Supervisors, and Reps
Lieber & Associates provides training for all levels of the contact center team. The firm customizes its off-the-shelf trainings to meet your specific company needs,

Executive and manager sessions address topics such as customer experience, metrics, technology, AI, and video calls. Supervisor sessions train your leaders to better coach and motivate reps. Phone staff modules include sessions on customer service, order-taking, cross-selling, handling difficult calls, phone "soft skills," and more.

Manitoba Customer Contact Association

Making Training and Development Part of Your Corporate Landscape

Organizations are always on the look out to save money and make more profit. Usually when it comes to crunch time some leaders will scrap training in order to tighten the belt. The downside of this is the cycle it creates.

Because some employers see training as a flexible benefit, employee development is often taken off the table. When employees don’t feel valued it becomes easy to see a revolving door. The constant need to hire goes up which ultimately means costs go up; we know that hiring costs more than retaining the right people.

Start the conversation: Explore our Training Page
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CSAT.AI Scores Better Customer Service with Gamified Guidance!

CSAT.AI lets agents know when they’re on the right track by predicting CSAT scores in real time (when they’re fixable!) - because most customers don’t leave feedback, they just leave.

Agents have the immediate positive feedback that reinforces good behaviors for self training.

OMNI HR Consulting (Pty) Ltd

Human Capital & Organisational Development
Omni HR Consulting provides business and people development solutions through Training and Consulting services.

We work across a number of sectors to provide solutions from both a Skills Development / Business perspective.

Skills Development: accredited & non-accredited learning solutions including Learnerships, RPL solutions and Skills Programmes, including a curriculum for developing future skills.

Business Solutions: are designed to be customisable, relevant and industry-related to support businesses to achieve their strategic objectives and needs.

Orion Learning Services Inc.

Learning & Development
Learning & Development for Agents, Supervisors, Managers and Administration/Support Staff

Orion Learning is a global leader in providing accredited learning and development solutions for organizations globally. We offer call/contact center certification programs for Agents, Supervisors and Managers, business certifications and examinations for wide range of topics including project management, change management and service management, leadership soft skills and a full suite of assessment tools which can be used for recruitment, talent management, succession planning and coaching/mentoring. We deliver our solutions to global community and all of our solutions are delivered digitally.


VADS Training Center
PT VADS Indonesia as a Learning Center provides trainers, modules, development programs for individuals and teams. VADS Indonesia owns a vast curriculum for training provided by local trainers with flexible training locations that can be arranged at the client's place or PT VADS Learning Center. VADS Provide knowledge process, transformation consultancy, customer service training, leadership training, interpersonal development, and training for trainers.

Benefit :
- Customizable training by experienced trainers
- Increase motivation and engagement
- Improves customer service skills and knowledge

Service Quality Institute

Customer Service Training Programs
We have over 20 customer service training programs you can use on-site. With our technology, we eliminate 95% of all travel expenses for participants and trainers. The design of our programs reduces the training time by 80% which is the most expensive part of training and we eliminate the need for professional trainers and facilitators.

The Forum

Get connected to raise standards. Established in 2000, we are celebrating 20 years of best practice, our community of professionals is recognised as the ‘go-to place’ for innovation in customer operations, from contact centre and digital to field, back office, branch & retail services, working across all industry sectors.

We offer an independent and trusted space for learning and sharing, proud to welcome members are into a thriving and active community to network with other like-minded professionals. Benchmark against the best in class and learn from innovators and pioneers. Our team of independent experts can also offer bespoke advice, consultancy and training. We have helped many organisations develop the capability of their vital support functions.

View more from Calabrio

Recent Blog Posts:
Data is everything in the new era of customer serviceMay 20, 2019 5:00 AM
Real-Time Adherence – the art of smarter schedulingMay 8, 2019 5:00 AM
Evolving employee engagement with Workforce Management (WFM)April 30, 2019 5:00 AM
Guest Blog: There’s a brighter future for contact centre agentsApril 12, 2019 5:00 AM
Centralized or de-centralized WFM: 5 ways to strike the perfect balanceApril 8, 2019 5:00 AM
How patient are your customers? Erlang A may have the answerMarch 25, 2019 5:00 AM
Evaluating if the integration between your WFM & CX platform will be a big “Yes”February 25, 2019 5:00 AM
The whole organization is a customer service center – not everyone knows it yet!February 4, 2019 5:00 AM
Resistance to change – the arch nemesis of customer experienceJanuary 22, 2019 5:00 AM
5 steps to supercharge your customer service with contextual intelligenceJanuary 7, 2019 5:00 AM

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