Salesforce’s Omni-Channel feature is over a year old, but most customers don’t realize the full potential of what this feature offers. A lot of the focus is around the unification of Service Case creation from different channels. So, whether that Case is created by Email, Phone, Chat, SMS Text, Web, Social or even from IoT, the mechanism to route those Cases to an agent and the agent experience is the same. Obviously this has huge benefits on its own but the under utilized benefit of Omni-Channel is how it can be used to manage work distribution.
To describe how Omni-Channel manages work distribution I’m going to focus on Cases as it’s just easier to explain, but please note this can be used for all types of work. In fact, the use case we’re going to dive into below is all about QA work. A service organization basically has two types of channels generating Cases. The first is Active or Live channels – channels where the customer is actually live at the other end of the communication. Phone and Chat are the biggest channels here. With these Active channels, the interaction had to be directly sent to an agent. The second type are the passive channels – Email, Web, Community / Portal and Social. With these, the Cases would come in and typically be assigned to a Queue where they would sit until an agent grabbed them and followed up on them. The way Cases are routed for these passive channels cause a lot of inefficiencies. First, you’re reliant on your agents to be monitoring a queue and actively claiming Cases. Second, it tends to lead to cherry picking. Whether it’s a particular customer that is known to be a pain in the neck, or whether it’s certain case types that might be too hard to close out, the agents can see these in the queue and avoid them. Third, it’s very hard to see what your agents are working on with these passive channels. With the live channels, phone and chat systems can all monitor what call / chat(s) an agent is on at any given time but that’s traditionally been extremely hard to do with passive channels. To get around these challenges, typically Call Centers have Queue monitors – someone who is doing nothing but making sure Cases aren’t left behind. A classic case of throwing bodies at a problem instead of using technology.
Enter Omni-Channel. Combined with Presence, Omni-Channel can push Cases to agents instead of waiting for agents to go grab them. With Presence, an agent will set their availability for work and be able to specify what kind of work they are available to receive. While they are available to receive work, Omni-Channel will push that type of work to them. The “push” is basically a screen-pop in the Service Console. So, an agent says I’m available to receive “Service Cases” and the next Case waiting to be claimed in that Queue will be routed to the agent. They accept that Case and it pops into the Service Console for them. Once they complete working it and close out the tab in the console, the next Case will route to them immediately. This will continue until the agent changes their Presence status saying they aren’t available anymore. This is huge from a productivity standpoint. No more having the agents fish around a queue trying to decide which work to take. In addition, this mixes across channels, so for example if the phone lines are light, other busier channels can be routed to that agent automatically. There are some nuances around the setup for this like setting up priorities with the Queues and weighting the capacity for each work type that let’s you hone this even tighter. A good example is the capacity functionality. You can set a type of Case – like Email & Community Cases – to a .5 capacity. This basically says an agent can work on two of these at a time. Meanwhile Cases coming in from Phone has a capacity of 1, meaning they can only handle one at a time. Omni-Channel will work through these capacities to fill agents up, but without overloading them. In this scenario an agent working on an Email case will never receive a case from the Phone, but they may receive a second case from the Community.
Now, how can this be used in a QA scenario? As I mentioned above, Omni-Channel doesn’t need to be just for Cases. It can be for any kind of work distribution. One of the use cases we have been using Omni-Channel heavily for is the QA process. All call centers have some level of QA that is occurring to review their agents (at least all of the call centers we help). Typically this involves a dedicated team that reviews Cases from different channels and across all agents – reviewing the recordings for phone Cases, transcripts for chat Cases, etc. More often than not, this is a pretty painful process. First you need to figure out which Cases to QA. How do you ensure you have a balance across all agents and Case types? How do you make sure that Cases with bad survey results or other flags are reviewed automatically? Second, how do you get all of the material you need for the Case? The Case itself, the recording, the Survey result, the transcript, etc. Usually all of this is manual and a major time-suck for the QA agents. We have watched customers that literally waste 50% of their QA agents’ time simply trying to figure out what to QA and getting all the materials. 50%! Well, with Omni-Channel and some other tools, this can all be automated. Here’s how.
1. Automate the “Work” Generation – Instead of making your QA agents waste their time figuring out what Cases need to be QAed, do this automatically. First, define your rules around QAing. We see a few different methods for this, but typically it’s some percentage of Cases or a certain number of Cases per agent. In addition, there are usually flags for automatic QAing – a Case with a bad survey score, or a Case that missed its SLA by a certain time period. Whatever your rules are at the end of the day, automate them. To automate this, there is usually a bit of custom work to do and that varies on your approach. We have done this with an apex trigger that handles the randomizer to grab the number of Cases you need. We have also used BREeze – our business rules engine – in instances where there are multiple ways a QA request can be created and we needed rules to determine when and what type of QA request to generate. Finally, we have even built Visualforce pages that allow for ad hoc queries and generation of QA requests. A good example here is if you find out you have an agent that has done something very wrong. Well, now you need to review all of their Cases for the past 30 days. With this page you can run that query and automatically drop all of those Cases into the QA queue.
2. Use Work or QA Records – To do the above, we typically create a Work or QA custom object and generate these Work records based on the rules. The record would contain all of the scores that QA is expected to fill out and it’s linked automatically to the Case that it was generated from. There are a few bells and whistles you can add to this but at a minimum you want a Status field here to track if the QA has been done and probably an escalation process so that the QA can be escalated to management if something is seriously wrong with what has been reviewed. It goes without saying, all of the score values are fully reportable and you can use formula fields to categorize the different scores and flags to set the overall rating of the QA.
3. Leverage Omni-Channel to Distribute the QA Requests – Now that you have QA records being generated automatically, you need to get them to your QA agents. This is where Omni-Channel kicks in. The QA records will be assigned to a Queue (or Queues if you have different types of QA work). You create a quick Omni-Channel status to allow for agent’s to say they are available. For this let’s call it Audit. We can dictate what users are allowed to receive this kind of work and in this instance we only want our QA agents to be able to. Now, using Presence an agent will change their status to “Available for Audit” and boom – the first QA work record will be offered to them. They accept it, it pops into their Service Console window and they start to work it. Again, since it’s linked to the Case, all of the Case details they need are right there for them. No more searching around. If you really want to automate this, you can even link the recordings for phone Cases directly in the QA record. You’ll need to integrate the system that is handling your recordings with Salesforce, but this is potentially another big time-saver. At a minimum, you can add a URL link to the QA record so all your QA agent needs to do is click the link to launch the recording – no more searching through the recordings database. If you want to go all-out, you can use ViewTrac to actually play the recording within Salesforce. The big benefit here is you’ll then be able to track your QA team and how much of the recording did they actually listen to. The time they played, the amount they went back and started over is all tracked – right in Salesforce. Especially if you’re a larger call center with a big QA team – ironically you need to QA your QA team. This is a great way to assist with that.
With Winter 17, Salesforce released the Omni-Channel Supervisor dashboards. We describe them in great detail in our Winter 17 Service Cloud write-up, but essentially these are real-time dashboards management can use to monitor how their QA team is doing. You’ll be able to see how many QA records are still in the Queue waiting to be worked, how many agents are working them and how many the agents have completed – all in real time.
As I mentioned above this becomes a well-oiled machine. Your QA agent scores the record and then closes it out and immediately the next QA record is sent to them. This allows your QA team to focus entirely on QAing instead of spending up to half of their day figuring out what to QA. With 25% – 50% more capacity in your QA team what would you do? At a minimum you can QA even more Cases and ensure your quality is where it needs to be. And now your QA process is entirely reportable. From the real time dashboards above, to productivity reports for your QA agents to just being able to report on the QA scores themselves and where agents are struggling. A fully automated process driving more productivity and the ability to report on it. What else do you need (besides a call center of agents that don’t require QAing)?
This is just one use case for Omni-Channel. There are so many other use cases. If you’re a Service Cloud customer or if you have a group of users that are trying to work through a queue of work – leads, requests for credit, returns, etc – this is a feature you need to seriously consider using. Salesforce is expanding it with each release so it is only getting stronger allowing us to get even more productivity. Don’t be stuck in the old ways of passive work distribution. Automate it.
If you’re interested in seeing some of this live, we recently hosted a webinar showing off multiple use cases including the QA use case above. The webinar is posted on our Omni-Channel Webinar blog post.