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Back to the Basics, Part Two: Workforce Management in the Contact Center

Workforce Management (WFM) is a set of integrated activities that work together to optimize the productivity of the workforce. Typically, the process is automated through the use of specific Workforce Management Software designed for this purpose. Workforce Management is a critical component of contact center operations for many important reasons which is why it is important to make sure your contact center has the basics down. Whether you are a new contact center or have been in operation for years, here’s a little WFM 101 Refresher Course:

  1. It collects and tracks historical data to identify the days, times, holidays, and seasonal time periods when you can expect a spike or a significant dip in call volumes.
  2. It enables the calculation of staffing requirements based on metrics such as call handling times and service times. It includes flexibility for start/end time variations and break times.
  3. WFM also supports measurements of real-time adherence, as well as incentivization.
  4. It allows for, and helps manage, variations in regular scheduling for staffing, timing, or business reasons.
  5. It provides reporting and analytics functionality, including the identification of undesirable trends. This helps to support business improvement processes.
  6. The many benefits of Workforce Management help to reduce operational costs.

In case you missed it, check out my last blog in this series – Back to the Basics Part One: Contact Center Operations Management

The Importance of Workforce Management

WFM is essential to the pre-planning and post-evaluation processes required to ensure the following:

  • There are enough agents to manage call volumes to prevent compromising the quality of interactions with customers. Otherwise, customers will either be waiting too long or will hang up.
  • When operational costs are being used optimally, there is no loss of revenue as a result of lack of workforce planning or poor execution. Forecasts allow for resources to be used productively and efficiently, preventing overstaffing or unnecessary overtime. Due to WFM implementation, costs are also reduced as a direct result of the streamlining of processes.
  • Agents are not overworked and burnt out due to understaffing. Agents need to be at their best to provide the best possible customer service. WFM enables staff to maintain a work-life balance, which in turn helps reduce attrition rates.
  • With more thorough and accurate data available, management is able to make good decisions more quickly.

The Division of Workforce Management

WFM is typically divided into the following main areas:

Forecasting: WFM is extremely beneficial to workforce planning because it pulls from and analyses historical data to help identify future resourcing requirements. It can also work out staffing requirements based on pre-determined metrics for unique ad-hoc campaigns.

Scheduling: Scheduling is a complicated process that has to take into account many different factors such as:

  • Ensuring optimum staffing.
  • Ensuring the staffing schedules fit legal and contractual obligations.
  • Ensuring that employee skill sets match up to the requirements for their roles.
  • Ensuring that the agents are available and have no conflicting commitments.

WFM allows you to automate and streamline the process.

Performance Management: Performance management is a necessary part of WFM to maintain service quality and ensure that targets are being met. Typically, WFM has Quality Analysis Tools in place to track performance against specific metric scores. Agent calls are also audited regularly. Additional training is recommended where calls fall short of the required standard. Superstar performers also get a chance to be recognized for their exceptional performance.

Intraday Management:  Intraday management is required to offset potential challenges as a result of unforeseen changes in call volumes or staff absenteeism. WFM teams monitor, track, and move people around, if necessary, on a daily basis, to ensure that the operation functions smoothly.

Time Management: WFM also helps to manage attendance and absenteeism on a daily basis. It helps with identifying negative trends and implementing corrective measures to address them. An example is changing employee shifts when needed. It is also the WFM team that manages emergency staffing or replacement staffing.

The Impact of WFM on People, Process, and Technology

WFM is a great integrated workforce planning and management tool. It enables you to streamline the people, processes, and technology components required to create solid business transformations in your contact center.

Let us help you identify workforce management strategies that can boost the success of your contact center operations. Get in touch with us today or call 218-286-4006 for a consultation.



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