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Back Office Challenges Must Become a Front Office Priority

Published: April 4, 2024 | By: John Englund

In so many business undertakings, work done behind the scenes gets little attention but has a big impact on results.  Customer service quality is no exception. Critical tasks like claims processing, dispute resolution and refund approvals are executed in the shadows. If they’re done well they go unnoticed; but if not, they draw a lot of negative attention.

Unfortunately, many back-office operations still rely on nonintegrated, legacy technology systems and outdated manual processes. That hinders efficiency and reduces transparency, making it hard for managers and employees to work effectively.

Automation jumpstarts productivity by connecting back-office systems, processes, and employee workstations to create a common thread of efficiency—and provide robust support for all employees throughout the workday. Automation monitors and aggregates data from technology systems to provide managers with a constant flow of real-time insights—which allows them to identify and resolve process logjams and to identify employees who are idle or in need of assistance.

Intradiem’s automation platform serves both front- and back-office teams with distinct but interconnected solutions.

Assess the challenge

Today, in the absence of a standardized framework, back-office service managers are hard-pressed to know if associates are engaged in completing a task, stuck on a problem, or just plain idle. Managers lack reliable markers to benchmark how employees are spending their time, and they have little insight into employee productivity because those metrics are often tracked manually in multiple systems. Every day is like a game of whack-a-mole.

But the experience of companies that have already applied state-of-the-art automation technology to their contact center operations shows that the back-office battle can also be won. Transforming reactive, ad hoc back-office processes to a proactive, automated approach transforms employee engagement, productivity and performance across the board. But it won’t work without buy-in from stakeholders.

Lead with communication

If businesses give their teams a clear understanding of what will change, how it will make their jobs easier and more rewarding, and how it will improve the customer experience, then the transformation is more likely to succeed.

But resistance to change is natural and should be expected. Employees may fear an automated intrusion into their already high-pressure workday. AI-based technology used to track their mouse clicks and keyboard strokes sounds like mistrustful micromanagement, until they understand that the purpose of detecting anomalies is to provide assistance—not punishment—precisely where and when it’s needed.

Communication is the linchpin of all change management initiatives. It begins with providing service leaders and associates with clear messaging on how automation transformation will proceed—before, during and after roll-out. Leaders must make it clear that an initial monitoring period will be used to establish benchmarks, which will be used to determine thresholds. The new system will allow the company to define anomalies, decide which team members should be prompted according to each situation, and how to phrase the message. Wary employees will embrace transformation when they learn that the message is “Do you need help?” rather than “Get back to work!”

All systems, go!

Intelligent automation has transformed contact center operations, boosting productivity and streamlining the work of frontline agents and service leaders. This has enabled centers to provide outstanding customer service—even when the entire team is working from home.

Companies that extend intelligent automation to their back-office teams—the unsung heroes of any service organization—will complete the transformation and reap the full benefits of the automation revolution. Both front- and back-office customer service teams will be positioned to overcome evolving challenges and fulfill their roles as company ambassadors and reliable bottom-line contributors.

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