Since the best contact centers handle inbound and outbound communications with customers and prospects, contact center workforce management is vital for their performance management. The rise in employee turnover rates, increasingly diverse workforce, and shifting market conditions have made the need for contact center workforce management more crucial and necessary to survive and thrive in business.
In this article, we will discuss what workforce management is in general, define contact center workforce management and its importance, and describe the cyclic process of contact center workforce management in detail while highlighting why it is needed.
What is a Workforce Management System?
A workforce management (WFM) system is a strategic solution for optimizing your contact center workforce by creating schedules, allocating tasks, and tracking employee activity and attendance. The right WFM solution assigns the right tasks to the right employees possessing the perfect skillset to meet the job demand. Advanced WFM solutions also offer robust analytics and labor forecasting to enable well-informed decisions, minimize business costs, and increase overall workforce productivity.
Resource efficiency is a shared goal of most businesses, so using an effective contact center workforce management solution makes sense. Effective workforce management solutions allow organizations to make their workforce more productive and cost-effective, particularly with cloud contact center software. Otherwise, it can become a significant liability. In the absence of a reliable contact center workforce management solution, businesses often experience increased labor costs, overlapping employee duties and leave, staff shortages, increased project costs, workplace safety incidents, and delayed deliveries of projects. A robust, responsive, and innovative WFM solution can save businesses from such problems.
A scalable and innovative WFM solution helps improve the best human resources (HR) software for professionals to ensure efficient resourcing in projects, optimize the workforce's productivity, train and upskill employees when needed, and address staff challenges at the earliest. Furthermore, workplace safety can be promoted, labor costs can be determined accurately, performance management streamlined, and compliance can be observed with workplace regulation.
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What is Workforce Management in a Contact Center?
Contact center workforce management is a set of processes that enable organization leaders and human resource heads to correctly assign agents possessing the proper contact center skill set to the right task and experience lesser operational costs and employee overturn. Contact center workforce management software integrates with an organization’s support software to offer a data-driven forecasting and scheduling approach to forecasting and scheduling. Two common mistakes made in the absence of a contact center workforce management solution are:
- Making the organization atmosphere great for agents to work, but not paying much heed to the high staffing costs and lack of a satisfying customer experience.
- Reducing staffing levels to cut costs and result in agent burnout and an inability to cater to customers.
Deploying the right contact center workforce management solution helps strike the perfect balance between meeting business needs, valuing agents, and ensuring positive outcomes for customers. Customers set schedules for agents in a contact center and expect customer service availability around the clock and across all communication channels. Without a robust contact center workforce management solution making it possible would be too hard.
However, a contact center workforce management software with AI lets you access data in real time and make data-backed decisions, such as hiring more agents when you consistently observe a trend in customer demand exceeding agent capacity.
An excellent contact center workforce management solution can:
- Forecast agent workload and schedule agent activity accordingly.
- Consider upcoming marketing campaigns for appropriate hiring.
- Cater to unexpected situations, like unforeseen power outages, severe weather conditions, product recalls, etc.
What is Workforce Management Cycle?
Contact center workforce management is a repetitive process. Therefore it is also called a workforce management cycle. This means that WFM is an ongoing process. Contact center workforce management has the following steps:
- Forecasting Contact Metrics
- Calculating Staff Numbers
- Scheduling Employee Shifts
- Increasing Agent Engagement
- Improving Real-Time KPI Management
- Implementing Reporting and Analysis
Forecasting Contact Metrics
The contact center workforce management begins with forecasting the appropriate future contact metrics using past data and business intelligence (BI). These metrics could be volume and average handling time (AHT).
Calculating Staff Numbers
The next step in contact center workforce management is calculating staff numbers. This means making the correct estimate for the number of employees you will need to handle the forecast contacts without compromising the desired level of quality service. This can be especially challenging for international contact centers, and WFM streamlines the process across time zones to ensure accuracy and consistency in scheduling.
Scheduling Employee Shifts
Scheduling employee shifts is of utmost significance in contact center workforce management. It involves creating changes for employees that match supply and demand for staff as best as possible while considering multiple constraints, labor laws, account skills, and employment contracts.
Increasing Agent Engagement
Inefficient contact center workforce management agent engagement is crucial to making them feel valued and building loyalty to the organization. This step focuses on including and engaging the workforce in the planning process.
Contact center features and benefits include a strong focus on increasing agent engagement for an effective customer experience and efficient operations.
Improving Real-Time KPI Management
Once the necessary forecasts have been made, and the organization is past the planning stage, contact center workforce management requires real-time control of key performance indicators. This means keeping a close track of activities and ensuring that the workforce does not deviate far from the actual plan. With the real-time tracking and managing approach, immediate and effective action plans can be brought into motion to remedy any unforeseen circumstances quickly.
Implementing Reporting and Analysis
The last stage of contact center workforce management is reporting and analysis, which provides valuable and actionable insights to help organizations work on the areas of improvement.
Why Do You Need Workforce Management?
Many businesses question the need for contact center workforce management, although almost as many continue to pay the price due to the lack. Contact center workforce management is essential for facilitating workplace and resource efficiency as organizations strive to meet their goals via optimized sales pipelines and excellent customer experiences.
Through contact center workforce management or workforce management in general, the correct number of employees can be assigned the right task at the right time. This is made possible due to the data-driven approach of contact center workforce management that gives lessons to agents with the best-suited skill set. Furthermore, via real-time agent activity and attendance tracking using a contact center workforce management solution, no employee is more burdened than another.
Contact center workforce management prevents frustrating errors such as employee leave overlap and improves agent productivity, simultaneously reducing operational costs and time. There is more to contact center workforce management than just making employee schedules. It provides you with the necessary data to make informed decisions and provide a great customer experience with efficient management of the existing resources.