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Contact Center Workforce Management Made Easy: Tips and Tricks

Updated: Aug 28, 2023


Image source: Freepik


Why is contact center workforce management (WFM) important?


Effective WFM can increase the productivity of the call center and the satisfaction of customers by ensuring proper scheduling and improving call center operation.

73% of business owners report a direct correlation between their customer service and business performance.


It shows that adequately managing the workforce and ensuring customer satisfaction in a call center is crucial.


In this article, we will provide tips and solutions to help you streamline your call center operations to enhance customer experience, improve employee satisfaction and achieve organizational goals.


What is contact center workforce management?


Image source: Freepik


Contact center workforce management (WFM) is a strategic approach to efficiently and effectively managing the workforce within a contact center environment. It involves various activities and processes to optimize contact center agents’ productivity, performance and utilization while ensuring customer satisfaction.


The primary goal of contact center workforce management is to align the number of agents, their skills and schedules with the expected volume of customer communications, such as phone calls, emails, chats and social media interactions. By doing so, contact centers can maintain service levels, minimize wait times and enhance overall operational efficiency.


Contact center workforce management: key elements


Successful workforce management for contact centers includes such crucial elements as:


Forecasting


Forecasting involves analyzing historical data and multiple other relevant factors, such as seasonality, sales plans, weather, salary days and promotions, to predict the future volume of customer interactions. It helps determine the staffing needs for each 15-minute period for the next month (or a longer period, if needed).


Scheduling



Based on the forecasted volume, scheduling involves creating agent schedules that match the expected workload. Schedules need to consider:

  • Employee preferences

  • Skill requirements and competences

  • Breaks

  • Adherence to labor laws and regulations

  • Business logic and needs, internal planning principles, rules and agreements

  • Employee speed of work, training and other needs

  • Fairness in the distribution of shifts considered favorable or unfavorable

Intraday management


Intraday management involves making necessary changes and adjusting agent schedules throughout the month to address changes in workload or unexpected events. It could include:

  • Reassigning agents, e.g., in case somebody gets sick and needs to be replaced

  • Offering overtime

  • Responding and/or approving various employee requests, such as time-off, changes to shift length etc.

  • Implementing contingency plans

Some of these tasks, e. g., managing workload coverage by assigning employees during the day, could be performed by a floor manager, if there is one.


Payroll and reporting



Payroll management involves calculating and processing agent salaries, wages, bonuses, incentives and other compensation. Payroll systems ensure accurate and timely payment to agents based on their hours worked, overtime, attendance and other factors. Integration with time and attendance systems helps automate this process and ensures compliance with labor regulations.


Reporting is crucial for monitoring and analyzing workforce management metrics and performance. Contact centers generate reports to assess agent productivity, service levels, forecast accuracy, schedule adherence and other key performance indicators. These reports provide insights into operational efficiency, help identify areas for improvement and support decision-making processes.


Additionally, establishing a dedicated workforce management team is crucial for ensuring sustained success. Consisting of a workforce manager and analysts, this team should continually monitor WFM processes. It allows for the early identification of operational bottlenecks and performance issues.


Streamlining contact center workforce management with WFM software


Contact centers experience many challenges with employee scheduling, agent engagement, administrative costs and high call volumes. A good WFM software can address all of these challenges.


What is contact center workforce management software?


Workforce management software is a technology solution designed to streamline and enhance the operations and management of contact centers. It provides a centralized platform for maximizing agent performance, reporting and overall contact center administration.


One great example of WFM software is Workofo.


Workofo is an AI-powered platform that offers workload forecasting, rule management, scheduling, schedule optimization and workforce optimization capabilities. Using artificial intelligence, the platform generates precise forecasts by analyzing various data sources and automatically generates highly optimized schedules tailored to each employee.


Contact center workforce management with Workofo: benefits


The advantages of using Workofo include:


Money and time saving


Workofo suggests the most efficient staff levels and schedules, resulting in time savings ranging from 5% to 15% and decreased labor expenses. By optimizing employee shifts according to business rules, Workofo helps minimize overtime costs and errors from manual data entry.


Workofo and other workforce optimization software prioritize forecasting and scheduling for instant business cost savings.


Improved customer service


Image source: Freepik


Workofo guides ideal staffing levels and schedules to ensure sufficient workforce capacity for meeting customer demand. By analyzing data from multiple sources like call center software, call handling systems and/or omnichannel systems, operating hours and local regulations, Workofo predicts peak periods and allocates resources effectively, leading to improved customer service and reduced wait times.


Workofo offers workforce optimization as part of its services. It encompasses a holistic approach to enhancing customer satisfaction by generating crucial data on workforce performance.


Higher operational efficiency


Workofo helps ensure that employees are available when they are needed most, which can improve operational efficiency.


The tool can optimize schedules and shift hours for each worker, reducing management overheads and providing many benefits to employers and employees.


Agent job satisfaction


By recommending optimal and fair shift allocation, Workofo helps avoid agent overworking or understaffing. Predicting peak periods allows efficient resource allocation, reducing agents' stress and workload.


Moreover, the convenient mobile app by Workofo allows agents to submit their preferences of when they can or cannot work, request changes to that schedule and swap shifts with colleagues.


All of that leads to higher transparency and better work-life balance, improving agent satisfaction.


Better communication


Workofo provides a centralized platform for workforce management which gives all employees access to the same information and ensures everyone is on the same page.

Employees can request shift changes or days off, submit preferences and receive notifications in real time, improving communication and collaboration among team members.



What results can you expect from Workofo?


Workofo improves call center workforce management and enhances employee schedules by optimizing them according to predictive customer traffic patterns and the business's requirements.


For example, a highly successful tech company's customer service division, comprising approximately 400 employees, used Workofo to increase savings and improve its overall efficiency.


The contact center, which provides services to a few different companies, experienced many challenges, including:

  • Increasing personnel costs and other expenses

  • The requirement to enhance sales per hour while improving or maintaining service levels

  • Struggles with efficiency due to a limited number of employees in each project or account

  • Staffing shortages in specific projects or accounts

  • Inefficiencies caused by inflexible schedules

Workofo's AI-based solution analyzed historical data, business rules, labor laws, additional tasks, employee preferences and productivity levels. Then it tailored the schedule to meet the client's specific requirements, selecting the most optimal arrangement for employees.

The implementation of the workforce management solution brought the following results:

  • By reallocating 10.5% of work hours, the service level experienced a 3.5% improvement, resulting in customer time savings

  • Efficiency increased by 2.1% regarding the proportion of productive work hours

  • Planning errors were reduced by an impressive 96%, significantly alleviating administrative burdens

Based on past experiences with other clients and what-if scenarios, Workofo also provided recommendations for further enhancements, such as implementing more flexible shift patterns, introducing shifts of varying lengths and redistributing tickets among employees, resulting in higher employee satisfaction and lower rotation.


Conclusion


By adopting effective strategies such as accurate workforce forecasting, efficient scheduling, real-time monitoring and performance management, contact centers can ensure that the correct number of agents with the appropriate skills are available to handle customer interactions.


All of that is possible by implementing good workforce management software that allows for optimizing agent scheduling, navigating the challenges of call center workforce management and creating a streamlined and efficient operation that delivers exceptional customer experiences.


Workofo provides a highly robust AI-powered software platform to help you maximize your company's resources.


Client satisfaction is paramount to the Workofo team, and it is committed to delivering outstanding service at every step of the journey.

Schedule a demo to see how Workofo can simplify the scheduling of your call center.


FAQs


What is the WFM process?


The Workforce Management (WFM) process is a comprehensive set of activities and strategies implemented in contact centers to effectively manage and optimize their workforce. A solid WFM strategy typically includes the following key steps:

  1. Forecasting involves analyzing historical data, trends and patterns to predict future customer demand. Accurate forecasting helps determine the number of agents and resources needed to handle expected call volumes, chat interactions, emails or other customer contacts.

  2. Scheduling: Once the forecasted demand is determined, the scheduling process involves creating optimized work timetables for agents. Scheduling considers factors such as agent availability, skills, preferences and compliance with labor regulations. The goal is to ensure the proper number of agents with the appropriate skills are scheduled at the right times to meet customer demand.

  3. Real-Time Monitoring: During operational hours, real-time monitoring tracks adherence to schedules, call volumes, service levels and other key performance indicators. It helps supervisors identify and address any deviations or issues in real time. They can make necessary adjustments to maintain service levels and optimize resource allocation.

  4. Performance Management: Performance management involves monitoring and evaluating agent performance against predefined metrics and goals. It measures key performance indicators like average handling time, first-call resolution, customer satisfaction scores and agent productivity. You can use performance data for coaching, training and providing feedback to improve individual and team performance.

  5. Reporting and Analysis: Reporting and analysis provide insights into contact center performance, workforce efficiency and customer experience. WFM solutions include generating various reports and tracking metrics to evaluate operational effectiveness, identify trends and make data-driven decisions for continuous improvement.

Why is WFM important in the call center industry?


Here are some reasons WFM is important in the call center industry:

  1. Optimizing staffing: WFM automation helps call centers optimize staffing levels by forecasting staffing needs based on call volume and other factors.

  2. Improving customer experience: With the right number of agents available at the right time, call centers can provide better customer service and reduce wait times.

  3. Increasing employee satisfaction: By ensuring that agents are scheduled appropriately and have the necessary skills to handle calls, a workforce management program can help improve agent satisfaction and reduce burnout.

  4. Cost savings: Proper workforce management can help call centers to reduce labor costs by optimizing staffing levels and reducing overstaffing or understaffing.

  5. Enhancing communication: WFM tools can help keep everyone in the contact center informed and in the loop, including agents, managers and stakeholders.

  6. Reporting and analytics: Workforce optimization software generates comprehensive reports and analytics that provide access to key insights about the contact center, including high call volume times, employee absenteeism and performance.

What makes a good WFM?


Several factors contribute to making a good workforce management cycle. Here are some key elements that characterize a strong WFM:

  1. Accurate Forecasting: A sound WFM system should accurately forecast customer demand based on historical data, trends and other relevant factors. Accurate call volume projections help ensure the right number of agents are scheduled to handle the expected workload.

  2. Efficient Scheduling: The ability to create optimized work schedules is essential. A good WFM solution considers agent availability, skills, preferences and compliance requirements to generate efficient schedules that meet customer demand while maximizing agent productivity.

  3. Real-Time Monitoring and Adherence: Real-time monitoring of agent adherence to schedules and service levels is crucial. A good workforce management tool provides real-time insights and alerts supervisors to deviations from planned schedules, enabling them to take immediate corrective actions and maintain service levels.

  4. Performance Tracking and Management: A robust WFM software includes performance management capabilities to track and evaluate agent performance. It should provide relevant metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure individual and team performance, allowing for targeted coaching, training and performance improvement initiatives.

  5. Flexibility and Agility: An effective workforce management system should be flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances. It should allow for easy adjustments in employee scheduling and resource allocation based on unexpected fluctuations in demand or staffing needs.

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