Technology drives the modern contact center environment, allowing business owners and managers to operate control costs and improve efficiency. Most likely, software already drives your contact center and gives you a framework to build workflows and monitor agent performance. Workforce management (WFM) capitalizes on available technology to ensure proper staffing while minimizing the cost of human resources
About Workforce Management (WFM)
Workforce management is the coordination of several activities within a company that is intended to improve productivity. WFM involves everything that affects employees, including wages and benefits, employee training and development, recruiting, attendance and scheduling.
The dynamic nature of workloads in the contact center makes the management of human resources a challenge. If too many agents are on duty, the cost per contact increases. Too few agents on hand, however, can result in extended hold and service times that result in a degraded customer experience. The number of agents on hand, of course, represents only part of the equation.
If agents with particular skill sets are unavailable when they are needed, contact center performance suffers because call backs and other delays become involved.A WFM program aims to ensure that a contact center always has access to an appropriate mix of agents that have the necessary knowledge, skills and other abilities to provide a high quality of service.
The complicated nature of the modern business environment represents a major challenge to firms that want to implement WFM. Additionally, abstract workforce requirements come into play, including listening skills, business knowledge and computer and software literacy. In many settings, businesses depend on WFM to help them manage a deepening pool of employees with specialized knowledge and skills.
Defining Workforce Optimisation (WFO)
Optimization is the essence WFM. By giving attention to a particular set of tasks that are collectively known as workforce optimization (WFO), contact centers can squeeze the maximum productivity from their staff while creating an exceptional customer experience. WFO often attempts to accomplish its goals through the integration of various types of software such as eLearning, workforce management, quality monitoring applications and other tools.
Although WFM and WFO have similar meanings, WFM generally encompasses the strategy used by a firm to get maximum performance and competence from the staff. WFM has much to do with scheduling human resources and managing time.
WFO strives for operational efficiency and involves tactics such as automation and access to information to enable employees to manage heavy workloads while improving quality. WFO requires the coordination of human and IT resources to improve communications and accessibility to increase overall customer satisfaction.
Speed is necessary for the modern business environment because of the number of parameters that require monitoring. The amount of data generated by a firm can overwhelm analysts and managers who cannot adequately do their jobs without advanced software tools.
Key Features of Workforce Management
Companies who are concerned with WFM find themselves working in these general categories of task:
- Forecasting – Managers must know how many workers they will need to meet future demand.
- Scheduling – Making sure that the right number of people with relevant skill sets are available during business hours.
- Managing time – Keeping employees within their time allotments to minimize overtime and other payroll expenses.
- Monitoring and reporting – Keeping track of real-time performance and collecting data to assess trends. These activities provide for the prompt detection and remediation of issues.
A coordinated effort to manage a broad range of variables that often cannot be managed by rudimentary tools such as spreadsheets.
WFM and Call Center Operational Improvements
Integrating WFM into the call center environment can positively impact performance throughout the firm. As part of the process, the automation of repetitive tasks and the standardization of workflows can make substantial improvements to team performance. Another part of the process, prioritization, ensures that everyone always works on the tasks that – at any given moment – deliver the most value possible to the firm.
WFM can improve every aspect of the contact center and its end result is operational efficiency. By eliminating redundancy and properly matching customer issues to an appropriate level of skills, managers can provide for a smooth and coordinated undertaking that systematically communicates with customers and addresses their questions and concerns.
Effective WFM procedure ensures that the employees work as often as they are needed while maintaining compliance with labor laws and regulations. Time management systems eliminate the need for overtime while always ensuring that the most affordable labor is engaged with the customer. WFM can, for example, eliminate situations where highly skilled workers are occupied with answering questions that require low skill such as those that regard business hours or return policies.
Employees often benefit personally from WFM. Better scheduling can result in an improved work-life balances, for example. Additionally, employees whose work closely matches their skills experience less stress and feel more satisfied with their work than those who feel compelled to fill roles that either bore or frustrate them. WFM can reduce turnover rates and improve the even distribution of workloads and hours.
Return on Investement
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of WFM is its return on investment. Although the investment in supportive technology can cause the contact center to incur both upfront and ongoing expenses, businesses may quickly recoup their investment. Of course, not every setting will experience the same benefits at a predictable pace, so the time required for WFM to pay for itself can vary. In most environments, however, ROI stems from several common sources:
- Better customer service results in satisfied customers, a good reputation, and steady revenue streams.
- Reduced labor and management costs can directly translate into increased profits.
- IT labor and infrastructure cost reductions through the use of cloud-based technologies.
Businesses that implement workforce management in their contact center can improve their operation by ensuring that a staff that is as appropriate in number as it is in qualification is always in place to meet operational requirements. As a result, companies can minimize their payroll expenses while improving competency throughout the organization.
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