Managers know that call center workforce management matters. Put it another way: if customer interactions are at the heart of a contact center’s success, then effective workforce management is the backbone.
It enhances agent productivity, helps you deliver exceptional customer experiences and improves the agent experience, too. That’s why contact centers are investing in it in droves. In fact, Gartner reports that by 2025, 60% of contact centers will have implemented AI-driven workforce management tools to help optimize scheduling and resource allocation.
There can be a lot to unpack when you dive into WFM, but don’t worry: we’re here to help! This blog will dive into best practices, discuss the features you should look for when sourcing tools, and help you discover the transformative power of innovative WFM software.
What is Workforce Management in a Call Center?
Simply put, workforce management is the strategic discipline of carefully deploying your resources, so you hit your service level targets while keeping costs in check. These resources include time, staff, technology, and processes. Workforce management software is a tool that facilitates this process.
WFM touches a wide range of activities, including forecasting, scheduling, performance tracking, and reporting. One core function of WFM is to use data-driven insights to help managers predict staffing needs to optimize operational efficiency.
The results? Improved customer satisfaction and increased agent productivity.
How Can WFM Help my Contact Center?
Providing accurate forecasting
Eighty-four per cent of contact center professionals say accurate forecasting is the most critical factor in successful workforce management, according to ICMI. Accurate forecasting has a profound trickle-down effect in the contact center. It can transform the customer and agent experience by aligning staffing levels with customer demand. The net result is optimized schedules and improved service levels
Efficient workforce management can increase call center productivity by up to 20% according to Contact Babel, while reducing operational costs by up to 10%. How? One way is by eliminating agent idle time using data-driven insights that make it easier to align staffing with anticipated call demand.
DID YOU KNOW:
Call-backs work as an insurance policy when call volumes are peaking. By scheduling call-backs for quieter times, you increase efficiency and decrease agent downtime.
Meeting service level agreements
Customers value a fast response when they reach out for customer support. 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as important when they have a customer service question. 60% of those customers define “immediate” as 10 minutes or less, according to HubSpot. When scheduling is optimized, it’s much easier to consistently meet service levels.
Studies show that contact centers with WFM tools have a 7.5% higher adherence rate than those without. If this term is new to you, it simply refers to how agents use their time and shows managers, in real-time, what an agent is scheduled to be doing, and what they are actually doing. Real-time adherence ensures that contact centers can react quickly to changing customer demand. Real-time monitoring lets supervisors follow agent activity, track schedule adherence and make adjustments on the spot if needed. This flexibility helps achieve optimal staffing levels and a seamless customer experience.
Promoting agent empowerment through self-service
WFM tools often include self-service capabilities that are empowering for agents. They can manage their own schedules, request time off, and swap shifts, too. This type of self-service reduces administrative burden – and it’s very popular among employees. Those who use it report having a better work-life balance and improved morale. That’s a goal on every call center manager’s radar these days!
Improving the customer experience
A better customer experience is always the goal in a contact center. All roads should lead here, and WFM software puts you on track. By ensuring the right number of agents are available at all times, WFM software reduces wait times. By making sure customers are connected to the right agents – the ones with the correct skills to answer their query – WFM minimizes transfers and enhances overall customer satisfaction.
The numbers back this up. Deloitte reports that companies who deploy effective workforce management strategies experience 32% higher customer retention rates compared to those with poor workforce management practices.
What Should I Look for in WFM software?
If you’re considering investing in, or upgrading your WFM software, you may feel overwhelmed by choice. Here are some of the key features you’ll want to look for. You should also consider how well the software will integrate with other products you already use in your contact center.
DID YOU KNOW:
Fonolo’s suite of call-back solutions is platform agnostic. That means it works with all existing software programs you use and can easily move with you as you shift from one platform to another or add software capabilities to your contact center.
- Forecasting Accuracy
The software should have robust forecasting capabilities. Look for WFM software that can analyze historical data, account for seasonal patterns, and generate accurate demand forecasts to optimize staffing levels.
- Real-Time Monitoring
Real-time monitoring features enable supervisors to monitor adherence to schedules, track agent performance, and make data-driven decisions in real-time.
- Integration Capabilities
Seamless integration with other contact center systems, such as CRM and workforce optimization tools, ensures a cohesive and efficient operation. (Editor’s note: Fonolo’s call-back solutions integrate with all software, always!)
- Administrative Control
Administrative control features let managers define rules relating to attendance and payroll. This system is automated and includes accurate financial calculations related to pay, overtime, taxation, and training budgets.
How Does WFM Impact the Agent Experience?
We’ve discussed how WFM software improves raw scheduling accuracy, using historical data, customer trends, and forecasting models to optimize the workday. Advanced WFM software also supports self-service and flexible scheduling, allowing agents to plan their own schedules and even share shifts or work remotely.
Bonus: Offering autonomy also cuts down the administrative burden in the workplace. And agent happiness is a natural outcome. Let’s take a closer look at how WFM software improves the agent experience:
Agent self-service is liberating
WFM tools often include self-service capabilities that are empowering for agents. They can manage their own schedules, request time off, and swap shifts, too. WFM also makes it easier for managers to offer flexible scheduling options like shift bidding or remote work arrangements. This type of self-service reduces administrative burden – and it’s popular and empowering, too. Employees who use it report having a better work-life balance and improved morale. That’s a goal on every call center manager’s radar these days!
Skills-based call routing makes work more interesting
Skills-based routing improves CX by making sure the agent with the right skills gets matched to the right inquiries – every time. It’s a great idea – and an obvious one. But without skill-based call routing tools, it’s difficult to do in practice. Skills-based call routing improves all your important CX metrics: first-call resolution rates and CSat and it reduces escalations. It also enhances agent job satisfaction by allowing skilled agents to put their knowledge and skillset to work solving more engaging and challenging problems.
Performance-based scheduling aligns skills with tasks
Performance-based scheduling goes hand-in-hand with skills-based call routing. Managers use performance metrics and analytics to assign agents to specific tasks based on their expertise and performance.
Successful and high-performing agents can be assigned critical or complex tasks. You know where this leads! Improved job satisfaction – along with improved operational efficiencies, and better CX.
Contact centers that use performance-based scheduling experience 25% less agent turnover than those that don’t according to The Quality Assurance & Training Connection.
Embrace the power of WFM and watch your contact center thrive in an increasingly competitive landscape.