Written by Beth Hildreth on March 13, 2015

Contact center managementContact center managers need to optimize the talents and skills of their agents by matching the right agent to the right job at the right time. More importantly, they must ensure the retention of their best agents by empowering them to influence their work schedules, shift changes, vacations, and other work-related activities. This is the function of effective workforce management (WFM).

WFM solutions have evolved to be essential performance optimization tools for contact center managers. Multi-channel centers operating in multi-sites can become vulnerable to the increasing complexity of managing the workforce if the appropriate solution is not in place.

An effective WFM system, therefore, must be able to deliver various capabilities to strike a healthy balance between operational efficiency and cost effectiveness while providing the ultimate customer call experience.

In general, there are four important WFM capabilities that managers need to explore to address the changing demands of customer service.

Automated forecasting, scheduling, and resource tracking

An accurate forecast relies on accurate data that the chosen WFM solution must be able to provide. Forecasts come in the form of hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, and even on-demand statistics that managers use to analyze deviations and come up with adjustments as the needs arise.

Unlike spreadsheets or siloed applications, automated WFM scheduling provides more flexibility. Managers are better able to monitor start, break, and closing times so that agent needs are recognized while maintaining uninterrupted contact center performance.

Resource tracking is a feature of WFM services that forecast contact volume accurately to help managers schedule the agents in the needed positions to optimize staffing. Precise resource tracking is crucial to prevent over-staffing, which increases overhead costs, and under-staffing, which lowers customer satisfaction.

Real-time management

An effective WFM system sets the ground for real-time management so that managers are better equipped to make real-time decisions to meet performance objectives. Deviations between forecasted data and actual data must have real-time solutions to prevent any problems from getting out of control. Integrating visual alarms that automatically activate when deviations reach specific thresholds increases the ability of managers to resolve issues in real time.

Employees sometimes breach adherence to schedules, do not always follow assigned workloads, and deviate from other work-related instructions. Real-time monitoring is necessary to enable managers to create contingency schedules and work assignments.

Multi-channel activity tracking

Customers use various channels of communication to interact with businesses. Managers need to empower their employees with the appropriate resources to handle customer interactions in the most suitable and timely manner.

In multi-channel contact centers, WFM tracking capabilities enable managers to know in real-time the quality of service that their agents are giving and the quality of service that customers are receiving. Voice calls and e-mail messages are both important customer service functions that must be addressed immediately and in the order of priority.

Capability to empower and enrich employees

Requests for schedules, exchange of shifts, and automated employee training are all possible in a responsive WFM environment. Based on configurable rules, agent-oriented applications provide employees with an avenue for making reasonable appeals. This helps ensure happier agents, more satisfied customers, and reduced employee attrition rates.

As with any business technology, WFM solutions are continuously maturing. Some businesses have opted to stick to their traditional methods, but many others have upgraded to new features for clearer visibility and deeper insight into their workforce and customer service interactions, which ultimately results in better workforce management all-around.

Overall, it’s important that new solutions meet unique contact center needs. Click here to learn how Momentum can customize a Virtual Call Center solution for your business to increase customer satisfaction, profits, efficiency, and more.