As call center leaders, we know the list of things to manage on the floor is endless.
Behind hold times and high call volumes, management must ensure every agent is trained, every shift is covered, and every customer is satisfied. Call centers that provide exceptional customer service usually have many people working behind the scenes to ensure operational efficiency.
One vital aspect of call center efficiency is call center workforce management (WFM).
What is Call Center Workforce Management?
Put simply, your call center workforce refers to your agents. When managing your workforce, you must ensure staffing and training levels are adequate to keep your contact center operational.
The best WFM enlists strategy to help management make the best use of agent labor hours to yield efficiency and revenue, without sacrificing employee engagement or customer loyalty and satisfaction. The benefits? Reduced costs, happier customers, and better productivity.
How can you practice efficient call center workforce management? The right software is key.
Why Call Centers Need Workforce Management Software
A common hesitation towards workforce management software is the initial investment. Why add another expense when you can manage your workforce using a simple spreadsheet, free of charge?
Depending on how big your call center is, standard spreadsheets tend to fall short. When it comes to call center workforce management, be sure your software entails these three functions:
Forecasting call volume is the base of all WFM. It requires detailed data collection and analysis of all customer communications, history, and metrics to predict the number of inbound calls for a future given time period (week, month, quarter).
Try compiling every IVR message, email, average handle time, and more into a spreadsheet. You’ll quickly realize how valuable it is to have a tool with this capability.
Shift scheduling systems.
Shift scheduling is often more of an art than a science. Managers need to account for the varying skill-sets and experience levels of their employees, as more experienced agents might be required for higher call volume times. Other considerations include business processes, agent capacity, performance, tenure, and availability to avoid compromising their engagement and loyalty.
A strong scheduling system will do wonders for your workforce management. The less time you spend troubleshooting your scheduling software, the more effort you can focus on staffing strategy.
Every call center manager knows that you can plan to your heart’s content and still have things go wrong. Agents call in sick, customers are impatient, software breaks down — anything is possible. Intraday management is a practice that addresses this challenge.
This involves analyzing live call volumes and demands, and making adjustments to shift schedules accordingly. This helps contact centers assure proper staffing levels, even in emergencies; and adherence, or ensuring agents are working for most of their shifts.
All the above is a lot to track — likely too much for one person, a team, or a spreadsheet to manage. That’s where WFM software can help.
Common Challenges Solved by Workforce Management Software
When deciding on whether call center WFM software fits in your budget, consider the following challenges you’ll face without it:The best call center workforce management software limits human error to help you reduce the risk of agent burnout, overstaffing costs, and customer dissatisfaction. #CallCenterTechnology Click To Tweet
Any miscalculations in forecasting or scheduling could result in overworked agents. Call center burnout is notorious in this industry, and without careful planning to avoid it, you run the risk of losing skilled employees. WFM software helps you consider everything you need to make sound forecasting and scheduling decisions, minimizing the risk of human error that could lead to burnout.
According to data from SimpleKPI, call center staffing and salary costs make up almost 63% of a call center’s expenses. When conducting WFM on a spreadsheet, or under one or two executive staff members, you have a higher risk of overstaffing.
Agent salaries make up almost 63% of a call center’s expenses.
Ever been on a floor that’s understaffed? Or, understaffed with experienced agents? Listening to real-time customer dissatisfaction isn’t fun, but a real risk if you leave the responsibility of WFM vulnerable to human error. Call center WFM software helps you maintain adequate staffing levels so that your customers are kept satisfied.
How to Select the Right WFM Software For Your Call Center
The right WFM software won’t look the same for everyone. Here are some helpful tips to help you decide on the best WFM software for your call center:
Test out your desired features in a demo.
Most call center software providers let you test out WFM software before you purchase it. Which features are most important to you? Scheduling? Reporting? Intraday Management? The ideal software should manage all of these, but you should have the easiest time managing the areas that are most important for you.
A demo will help you learn how to interact with the software, and illuminate any issues with user-friendliness from the get-go.
Evaluate your budget.
WFM software won’t have a cheap, up-front cost, but it’ll save you thousands in the long run. Regardless, you should consider your budget when shopping for WFM software. If you notice one software is more affordable than the other, look into customer reviews to find out how other call centers find the software. You might be better off spending a little bit more on a solution that works for most people.
When evaluating costs, look at more than just the ticket price. Ask about maintenance and upgrade costs, and compare quotes for everything.
What call center software do you already have working for you? Maybe you’ve had Fonolo’s Visual IVR helping smooth out call center spikes for a while, and want to integrate it with any new WFM software. So, integrations must be a top consideration in your search for a WFM solution.
Your first step to actionable insights for WFM is real-time data and metrics. Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs offer you both, whether it’s through live call monitoring or data-rich reporting.