Workforce Managers in contact centers have their work cut out for them in today’s digital arena. With so many factors and channels to account for, we thought it would be helpful to write about the challenges and solutions for those who are looking for advice and guidance.
If you’re new to workforce management for a contact center or you want to enhance your knowledge, you’ve come to the right place.
This blog will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the do’s and don’ts of workforce management (WFM) solutions, and how you can best leverage them to achieve your key performance indicators and win at your job.
We will delve deeper into the utilization of historical data, the significance of data sharing, and how the right WFM software empowers contact centers to balance staffing levels with workloads.
“Service leaders must plan for the known outcomes, such as a seasonal surge, as well as the unknown outcomes. By planning for these unexpected times, call centers can maintain the desired standard of service.” – Jeffrey Schott, Director, at Gartner.
I. The Problem: Imbalance of Staffing to Workload
Inefficient scheduling and forecasting leads to worsened customer and agent experiences
The inconsistent nature of when businesses are able to reach customers and when customers look to contact businesses is the perfect recipe for technology and data to come together.
One of the top challenges facing contact centers today is accurately forecasting demand and aligning staffing levels accordingly. Fluctuations in inbound call volume can result in under or overstaffed periods, leading to inefficiencies in resource utilization.
Optimizing your agents’ schedules could mean the difference between a poor, good, or exceptional customer experience.
Navigating these challenges can be daunting, but with the right WFM solution for your contact center, you can address them head-on and foster a more balanced, and productive environment for all stakeholders.
II. Benefits of Workforce Management (WFM) Software in Solving the Problem
Reduced churn: How WFM software improves scheduling and workload balance
One of the key benefits of WFM software is its ability to optimize scheduling and workload, which contributes to reducing agent churn.
How you might ask?
Simply put, when you staff correctly in a contact center for the call volume coming in or going out, everything just seems to run smoother than if you don’t staff correctly. If the balance or projections are off one way or the other, the wheels start to get wobbly, friction creeps in, stress levels increase, and when stress levels increase, you start to experience burnout and agent churn.
One recent study showed the loss of a contact center employee costs the business up to $12,000 to rehire, train, and become productive.
Reduced overtime: Optimizing resource allocation to minimize overtime costs
With WFM software, your contact center can minimize its overtime costs by precisely predicting call volumes and organizing agents’ schedules appropriately.
Combined with real-time monitoring and reporting capabilities, contact center managers can proactively adjust schedules on the fly and mitigate excessive overtime costs, which is not only detrimental to the bottom line, but also to agent attrition rates, morale, and satisfaction.
Enhanced agent and customer experience: Improving service levels through efficient scheduling
Efficient scheduling has a direct positive impact on both agent and customer experiences.
Aligning agent availability with customer demand can reap tangible benefits for your contact center such as reduced wait times and average handling times, and improved service levels.
Not to mention, your agents will be more productive and satisfied as a result of more balanced scheduling and less idle time. And remember, happier agents mean happier customers.
95% of customers state that the quality of their agent interactions impacts their willingness to support a brand.
Additional benefits of WFM Software: Improved forecasting accuracy and better adherence to schedules
Apart from the above benefits, WFM software can also help contact centers improve their forecasting accuracy by leveraging historical data and advanced algorithms.
This is invaluable in an industry where only 45% of contact center leaders can attest to accurately being able to forecast resourcing needs. Contact center leaders also gain visibility into agents’ adherence to schedules via WFM software, allowing them to make real-time adjustments.
By harnessing the power of WFM software, contact centers can reap these multifaceted benefits, creating a more efficient and productive environment for agents and customers.
The optimization of scheduling and resource allocation enables contact centers to overcome the challenges posed by the randomness of call volumes, resulting in improved operational efficiency and enhanced overall performance.
With that, let’s explore how you can make the most out of historical data to unlock these advantages.
III. Leveraging Historical Data for Effective WFM
Understanding the importance of historical data analysis
Historical data analysis forms a crucial component of effective workforce management.
Contact center managers gain insights into call volumes, agent performance and customer behavior by analyzing past data, allowing them to make more informed decisions and optimize their workforce management strategies.
Exploring historical data to identify trends and patterns
Historical data increases forecasting accuracy by identifying trends and patterns in call volume.
One of the benefits of having access to historical data is the ability to identify trends and patterns. With this call log data, contact centers can precisely identify recurring patterns based on factors such as time of day, day of the week, or specific events.
This analysis enables them to anticipate future call volumes more accurately, facilitating better scheduling and resource allocation.
Historical data can also provide insights into agent performance, such as average handle times, customer satisfaction ratings, and productivity levels.
Over time, as contact centers gain more data, managers can more easily identify performance trends, strengths, and areas for improvement.
Building a forecasting model from scratch if no data is available
In cases where historical data is not available, contact centers can still establish a forecasting model from scratch. This process involves collecting and analyzing data from other relevant sources (industry benchmarks, market trends, customer surveys).
While this requires more effort in testing the outputs, it allows contact centers to make projection and optimize their workforce management practices based on industry standards.
IV. Internal communication is Essential
Internal communication that could negatively or positively impact or adjust call volume is critical to the success of resource alignment.
Marketing promotions and strategies could have a direct impact on workload. Negative press could violently change consumer behavior and cause call volume to increase or decrease depending on the circumstances. Abundant use of vacation time at the direction of leadership, if not communicated with the WFM team, could impact staffing levels needed to achieve SLA’s.
These and other examples like these are real in most companies and keeping open lines of communication between departments and the workforce management team is imperative.
V. WFM Solution Selection
Choosing the right WFM software for small to mid-sized contact centers
Making the right WFM software selection is a critical decision.
If you poll workforce managers, they will tell you they only use half of the bells and whistles they feel like they are paying for.
Some will tell you their WFM software is way too complex, has a huge learning curve, and you need a master’s degree in data science to understand how to use it effectively.
Others will complain the only time they can get the support they need is to pretend they are interested in a new feature to get the attention from the company they need.
And… the last group will tell you they are paying way too much and would be open to changing to a simpler, more cost-effective WFM Solution.
The bottom line is, small to mid-sized contact centers should do their homework, talk to references, and make a decision with their eyes wide open.
Recap of the Problem and Challenges Faced in Contact Centers
Throughout this blog post, we explored the challenges faced by contact centers, particularly the imbalance between staffing and workload caused by the unpredictability of call volumes.
We have discussed the negative impact on operational efficiency, customer experiences, and the difficulties faced by the customer, agent, and management in maintaining a balanced workforce.
Emphasizing the Role of WFM Software in Addressing and Solving Challenges
With the ever-changing nature of customer interactions and the need to maintain a delicate balance between staffing and workload, the importance of effective WFM cannot be overstated.
Solutions like SimpliTalkCX offer powerful capabilities that are crafted for contact center managers, by contact center managers.
Ready to take your contact center to the next level?
With our many years of combined experience and expertise in contact center management and workforce optimization, we are here to help you find the perfect workforce management software solution tailored to your needs.
Contact us today to discuss your requirements and leverage our deep understanding of the industry to optimize your workforce management practices.