Mastering the flow — Steps and tips for designing effective guided workflows

Tashu Aggarwal

May 15, 20237 min read

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Although the term “workflow” may not sound thrilling, it serves as the foundation for everything we do. A workflow consists of a sequence of tasks required to accomplish a specific goal. From getting ready for work to completing work projects, we rely on workflows to help us accomplish tasks efficiently and effectively.  

For instance, a workflow for a writer may involve researching, outlining, drafting, revising and editing. A workflow for a chef may involve menu planning, ingredient ordering, prepping, cooking and plating. 

In a contact center, workflows are particularly important to aid agents in handling customer inquiries with speed, accuracy, and consistency. Guided workflows involve using technology to automate certain tasks and provide agents with step-by-step guidance to handle customer inquiries. It enables agents to become top performers from the very first day. They no longer need to spend time searching for answers and workflows across different knowledge bases, nor do they need to worry about which step to take next. 

Here are some of the benefits guided workflows provide: 

  • Accelerated speed for educating and ramping up new agents 

  • Reduced errors that arise from manual workflow management 

  • Enhanced consistency and effectiveness in service delivery 

  • Heightened agent credibility and adherence to compliance standards 

 As automated workflows provide agents with valuable insights, promote consistency and increase their confidence, it has become a widely adopted strategy in contact centers. Gartner predicts that global spending on process automation will rise to $3.4 billion in 2023, indicating a projected increase of 17.5% from 2022.  

However, creating effective guided workflows is not a one-and-done task. It requires identifying specific goals, mapping out the process, and testing and refining the workflow to ensure its effectiveness.  

In this blog, we will explore the key steps involved in designing an effective guided workflow for contact centers. We will also provide tips and tricks to help you create a workflow that can improve agent productivity, reduce wait times, and enhance overall customer satisfaction. So, let's dive in! 

Table of Contents

Identify the processes

To design effective guided workflows, you need to start by identifying the specific processes you want to automate for your agents. Each industry and department has its unique set of challenges and opportunities, which require tailored workflows to be effective. 

For instance, in the banking industry, a common workflow that can be automated is the process of blocking a lost or stolen credit card. By creating a form for agents to verify user details, you can streamline the process and reduce the time and effort required to handle customer inquiries.  

Similarly, in the healthcare industry, a guided workflow can be designed for booking appointments or scheduling tests. This can help contact center agents reduce wait times and improve their experience by providing a seamless and efficient process for scheduling appointments.  

There are various ways to determine which topics/functions should be upgraded to a guided workflow for agents. Here are some examples: 

  • Look at your most common, manual functions: Identify your most repetitive manual functions and build guided workflows. These could include tasks such as sending emails, canceling orders, updating CRM fields, or scheduling events. 

  • Address your most demanded topics: Identify the topics that customers frequently request assistance with and build workflows to help agents efficiently handle those inquiries. 

  • Tackle your most challenging topics: Identify the topics that agents struggle with the most, and consider building guided workflows to provide step-by-step guidance and improve their success rates. 

Once you have a clear understanding of your objectives, you can begin designing a tailored workflow to achieve them. 

Identify decision points 

Decision points are areas in the workflow where employees need to make a decision or take action based on the information they have received. For instance, when a customer contacts a customer service representative with an issue, the representative may need to decide whether to escalate the issue to a supervisor or handle it themselves.  

Similarly, in an e-commerce setting, a decision point could be when a customer contacts a customer service representative with a request to return a product. The representative would need to decide whether to approve the return or deny it based on the company's return policy. If the return is approved, the representative would need to guide the customer through the return process.  

By identifying these decision points, the company can create branching logic within the guided workflow. The logic could be designed to direct the representative to the appropriate form or script to guide them through the decision-making process. This ensures that the customer's request is handled efficiently and that the representative is following a standardized process. 

Map out your process

Once you have identified your processes and decision points for your guided workflows, the next step is to create a comprehensive workflow that guides agents through the process. Mapping out the process involves breaking down the workflow into a series of steps, from the initial inquiry to the final resolution of the customer's issue. Each step involved in the process must be identified, such as verifying customer information, accessing relevant databases, and providing a solution or resolution. 

The guided workflow could be designed to walk the agent through the troubleshooting process, providing them with scripted responses, visual aids such as image, diagrams and automated data lookups to help them resolve the issue efficiently.  

For example, in a healthcare setting, the workflow for scheduling a patient appointment might involve several steps, such as verifying insurance information, checking the availability of doctors, and booking an appointment. By mapping out each step of the process, the healthcare provider can identify any bottlenecks or inefficiencies and make necessary adjustments to improve the overall efficiency of the workflow.  

To ensure that your guided workflows are effective, it's important to keep them simple and easy to understand. Here are some tips for building guided workflows: 

  • Focus on building workflows for your highest-impact content, rather than trying to create them for everything. 

  • When building a workflow, limit prerequisite steps and focus on the task at hand. 

  • Create a direct path from start to finish, without adding tangents or unnecessary steps. 

  • Keep each step simple and clear, ideally with fewer than 5 tasks or instructions to start with. 

  • Use images to visually guide readers through the path, making it easier to follow and understand. 

  • Create pre-populated forms, templates, and scripts to guide agents through the workflow more efficiently. 

 Tips for building guided workflows:

Map intents with workflows 

Mapping intents with guided workflows involves identifying the different types of customer queries and matching them with the appropriate workflow. This allows the system to suggest the most relevant workflows to agents based on the customer's query, helping them to resolve the inquiry quickly and effectively. 

Intents refer to the specific purpose or goal behind a customer's query. For example, a customer may contact a company to inquire about a product, report an issue, or request technical support. The system can use natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms to identify the intent behind the customer's query and suggest the appropriate workflow to the agent. 

This not only helps to improve the speed and accuracy of the customer service process but also frees up agents to focus on more complex queries that require human intervention. 

Test, monitor and refine

Finally, it's important to test and refine your guided workflow to ensure that it's working effectively. Monitor your workflow and gather feedback from employees to identify any areas that need improvement.  

One way to test your guided workflow is to conduct a pilot program with a small group of agents. This allows you to test the workflow in a controlled environment and gather feedback from the agents before rolling it out to the entire team. 

You can also monitor performance metrics such as call resolution time, customer satisfaction ratings, and agent productivity to determine the effectiveness of the workflow. For example, if the average handling time is higher than desired, the workflow can be revised to reduce the number of steps or automate certain tasks to increase efficiency

Based on the feedback gathered and performance measured, make necessary changes to the workflow to improve its performance. This could involve updating scripted responses, adding new decision points, or refining the automation process. 

The final word 

To sum up, designing effective guided workflows requires a deep understanding of the problem you want to solve. It's important to keep in mind that it is not a one-time task. Continuous monitoring, feedback, and refinement are essential to ensure that the workflow remains effective and meets the evolving needs of the business and its customers. 

Using Sprinklr Guided Workflows, contact center managers can easily create, view, and manage the workflows that their agents can access through a self-service interface. The platform facilitates creating new workflows and making improvements to existing ones, without requiring any coding knowledge. 

On the other hand, by simplifying the agent experience with a clear sequence of steps to follow, guided workflows help agents navigate through various call and chat flows. The step-by-step guided workflows enable agents to focus on providing exceptional care with confidence, while the integrated omni search feature seamlessly combines knowledge base content and guided workflows into one easy-to-use search experience.  

So don't hesitate to explore this powerful tool and take your contact center operations to the next level. 

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