Contact centers constantly grapple with the ongoing task of aligning fluctuating inbound call volumes with agent schedules, all while striving to meet the highest of standards for customer satisfaction and agent experience.

Trying to manage this manually or even with spreadsheets can be exhaustive, time consuming and full of errors. Responsible for managing multiple contact centers in multiple locations? In different time zones? Thinking about scaling up?

That would be virtually impossible without the right tools and systems in place.

This is where Workforce Management (WFM) software becomes invaluable, playing a crucial role in optimizing operations and maximizing productivity.

Choosing the right WFM software for your small to mid-sized contact center could mean the difference between streamlining and growing your operations efficiently or letting your customer and agent experience suffer. With the right WFM software in place, your contact center can achieve a win-win-win outcome – for the customer, agent and management team.

DID YOU KNOW: 90% of customers want access to live voice agents and rate an “immediate response” as essential.

What is Workforce Management (WFM) Software?

WFM – Workforce Management – involves tasks such as agent scheduling and forecasting. The ability to accurately forecast call volume and allocate resources efficiently means mitigating the risk associated with understaffing (long wait times, stressed agents, and low-resolution rates) and overstaffing (costly overtime, higher labor costs and agents that are bored).

Managers often find themselves caught in a difficult balancing act, trying to manage costs while ensuring adequate staffing levels to deliver a positive customer experience.

Agents face the pressure of juggling unpredictable workloads and trying to deliver quality service, all while avoiding burnout and stress. And the customer has the expectation of getting a personalized experience that keeps them sticky to the brand.

WFM software, specifically designed for small to mid-sized contact centers, provides essential features and functionalities to streamline operations, improve resource utilization, and enhance customer experiences.

What is the benefit of WFM software to customers, agents, and management?

  1. Improved Customer Experience and Satisfaction
  2. Enhanced Agent Productivity and Engagement
  3. Streamlined Management Processes and Decision-Making

1. Improved Customer Experience and Satisfaction:

Accurate forecasting & scheduling enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty

Accurate forecasting & scheduling enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty

Providing a consistent customer experience as a small contact center can be challenging. The task of aligning agent availability with unexpected spikes in call volume raises the risk of prolonged wait times, which often lead to customer frustration and dissatisfaction.

In fact, the most common pain point in the customer’s experience is excessive hold times, with a staggering 68% of consumers expressing frustration due to prolonged wait times.

By accurately forecasting customer demand and efficiently scheduling agents, small contact centers can leverage the power of WFM software to enhance the overall customer experience and satisfaction.

The strategic utilization of resources ensures that the right resources are available to deliver exceptional service promptly. Reduced wait times, improved service levels, and personalized attention not only contribute to increased customer satisfaction but also loyalty. Customers feel valued and receive consistent service, leading to positive brand perception and enhanced customer retention.

2. Enhanced Agent Productivity and Engagement:

WFM software enables agents to focus on what’s important – the customer

WFM software enables agents to focus on what’s important – the customer

In 2022, 68% of agents reported that insufficient automation resulted in them spending an excessive amount of time on low-value, manual tasks, leaving them unable to fully focus on customer interactions.

With the capability to optimize work schedules and create a balanced workload, WFM software serves as a powerful tool that empowers agents to unleash their full potential.

Accurate forecasting and scheduling facilitate the efficient assignment of agents to meet customer demands, effectively eliminating the risks associated with understaffing or overstaffing.

This leads to improved agent productivity, reduced stress levels, and increased job satisfaction.

The presence of engaged and motivated agents not only leads to exceptional customer interactions but also actively contributes to fostering a positive work environment for all.

3. Streamlined Management Processes and Decision-Making:

Empower your contact center with real-time insights, efficient Resource Allocation, and cost savings.

Empower your contact center with real-time insights, efficient Resource Allocation, and cost savings.

Without WFM software, small contact center managers often lack access to real-time workforce data and struggle to make informed decisions. The absence of insights on agent schedules, attendance, and performance hinders their ability to optimize operations.

With WFM software, managers gain real-time visibility and automate key management processes, empowering them with valuable data and analytics.

These insights enable proactive resource planning, identify areas for improvement, and streamline decision-making.

By leveraging accurate data, managers can allocate resources effectively, enhance workforce utilization, and drive operational efficiency.

For small contact centers operating with tight budgets, the cost savings from implementing WFM software are of paramount importance.

WFM software offers automated forecasting and scheduling that can result in significant cost reductions, especially considering that labor expenses can comprise up to 75% of total costs in contact centers.

With WFM software, contact centers can achieve labor cost savings of up to 10% through the elimination of unnecessary overtime, avoidance of overstaffing, and efficient resource allocation based on customer demands.

By aligning staffing levels with actual requirements, WFM software optimizes resource utilization, reduces labor-related expenses, and enhances workforce productivity. These cost-saving measures directly contribute to improved profitability and financial outcomes for small contact centers.

What to look for when purchasing Workforce Management – WFM software – for small to medium-sized contact centers

The KISS rule most definitely applies here: Keep It Simple Silly.

Most smaller contact centers are tight on resources and budget. So, focus on essential features rather than unnecessary complexities in workforce management solutions. Take into account factors like cost-effectiveness, scalability, ease of implementation, and user-friendly interfaces.

Let’s explore the key features you should look for when choosing your WFM software for your small to mid-sized contact center.

  • Dynamic Scheduling
  • Forecast Planning
  • Performance Analytics and Reporting
  • Seamless Integration
SimpliTalkCX Dynamic Scheduling

SimpliTalkCX Dynamic Scheduling Screen

Dynamic Scheduling: For small contact centers relying on manual scheduling processes, implementing WFM software that doesn’t break the bank brings transformative benefits that optimize agent schedules based on demand forecasts, agent availability, skills, and business constraints, allowing supervisors to easily create, adjust, and optimize schedules to maximize resource utilization.

By automating the scheduling process, managers can save valuable time and resources that would otherwise be spent on manual coordination.

Workforce management solutions ensure that the right agents are assigned to the right shifts, at the right time, taking into account factors like workload balance, shift preferences, and compliance with labor regulations.

Through workforce scheduling, contact centers can mitigate the challenges of overstaffing and understaffing, resulting in efficient resource allocation and improved operational efficiency.

Contact centers that improve agent productivity also reap tangible benefits, realizing nearly a 7x improvement in revenue year over year.

SimpliTalkCX - Call Forecasting Planning Screen

SimpliTalkCX Call Forecasting Planning Screen

Forecast Planning: For small contact centers relying on manual forecasting, accurately predicting future workforce requirements can be an overwhelming task. Surprisingly, only 45% of contact center leaders report being able to accurately forecast resourcing needs.

Without the support of WFM software, small contact centers struggle to analyze historical data, identify seasonality patterns, and track relevant trends.

However, embracing the capabilities of WFM software can help overcome these obstacles. With powerful algorithms and predictive analytics, even some of the least expensive WFM solutions on the market empower contact centers to achieve accurate contact volume forecasting, identify trends, and optimize staffing requirements.

SimpliTalkCX Workforce Management Staffing Optimization Screen

SimpliTalkCX Staffing Performance Analysis and Reporting Screen

Performance Analytics and Reporting: Accurate and timely insights into key metrics such as average handle time, service level, shrinkage, and occupancy are crucial for contact centers. Workforce Management Solutions empower contact centers by providing valuable visibility and analytics into these essential metrics.

Workforce managers can make data-driven decisions to enhance operational efficiency and optimize resource allocation. Access to these insights empowers managers to enhance service levels, address productivity issues, and optimize agent utilization, resulting in a more effective and successful contact center operation.

In fact, contact centers that integrate analytics into their operations experience a 15% faster reduction in average handle times on a year-over-year basis compared to contact centers that do not leverage analytics.

Seamless Integration: Seamless integration of various systems is crucial to streamline operations and enhance efficiency. Integrating telephony, customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, and other key technologies enables a smooth flow of data and eliminates the need for manual work and multiple reports.

With seamless integration, contact centers can access accurate and up-to-date information, improve data integrity, and provide a unified experience for agents and customers.

This integration optimizes workflow processes, reduces manual effort, and enhances overall operational efficiency.

What else to look for in workforce management:

If you’re new to selecting workforce management software for your contact center, it’s crucial to give careful thought to several factors to ensure it’s the right fit. Here are some essential considerations to keep in mind:

  • Adherence Monitoring
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Pricing

Adherence Monitoring: Contact center managers need visibility into agent adherence to schedules. In a dynamic environment where staffing requirements fluctuate, monitoring agent adherence plays a pivotal role in maintaining operational efficiency and delivering a consistent customer experience.

By monitoring adherence, contact centers can proactively address deviations from schedules, identify potential bottlenecks, and take corrective measures to optimize workforce utilization.

According to a study conducted by Aberdeen Group, contact centers with strong adherence practices experience an average of 3-5% higher agent productivity compared to centers with lower adherence rates.

Ease of Use: If you’ve never used WFM software before, user-friendly software is a top priority for smooth adoption and efficient utilization by your workforce. It should have an intuitive interface and offer comprehensive training and support resources.

Simplicity is a key factor here. Many solutions on the market frustrate workforce managers because they are hard to use and have a long learning curve.

Customer Support: It is crucial to prioritize a vendor that provides reliable customer support. Look for a vendor that offers accessible support channels, such as phone or live chat, as well as comprehensive documentation and training resources.

Check references that you know are using the solution and don’t just take the company’s reference(s). Do your homework on the support front because many of the solutions on the market score very low in this area.

Pricing: Evaluate the pricing structure and licensing options of the software. Consider your budget, scalability needs, and value for money to ensure a suitable pricing model that aligns with your contact center requirements.

Remember, by understanding the fundamentals of WFM, recognizing its benefits for customers, agents, and management, and following a systematic approach to software selection, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your business objectives.

At DecisivEdge, we are dedicated experts in the realm of contact centers and workforce management. As the creators of SimpliTalkCX, we understand the unique challenges faced by contact centers and the vital role that workforce management plays in their success. Our goal is to connect with contact centers like yours, empowering you to unlock your full potential by choosing the best WFM software solution tailored to your specific needs.

Reach out to us today and let us guide you on your journey towards enhanced operational efficiency, improved customer experiences, and empowered agents. Together, we can elevate your contact center to new heights of excellence.