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The Details of Workforce Management

July 05, 2011

We’ve discussed in general terms what workforce management programs are capable of within a business, but the details of workforce management are what make them such a powerful addition to your call center.

According to veteran software provider Monet, “workforce management in a call center is the art and science of having the right number of employees, with the right skills at the right times to meet accurately forecasted volumes of work and to do all that at a predetermined service level and minimized costs. Workforce management is a critical task for call centers and poor planning and execution can have a negative impact on the business (revenues, cost), customers (satisfaction) and also employees (motivation/burn-out).”

The question is, what exactly do you need to be tracking in your workforce management solution to optimize your staff?

The first thing a manager needs to do it is to analyze the information that your WFM is collecting and ensure an accurate forecast. To do this you need to collect call history data, identify call patterns, holiday patterns and other events or business drivers that might impact call volume/pattern.

Once you’ve identified these patterns, you can go about calculating the staffing requirements your customer service operation needs, calculating workload etc. This is where the creation of a schedule starts. Having this wealth of information allows a call center manager to include all the activities that have historically given agents trouble and create a flexible, thoughtful schedule for them. Monet suggests booking call center agents in 15-30 minutes blocks to allow for ample break times and flexibility that is sure to fit everyone’s schedule.

From here it’s a matter of continuing to collect information about your team to make sure that the efforts started by your workforce management program are working. Make sure to inform and educate agents about the impact their adherence numbers have on the rest of the operation and provide incentives to keep them on the right path. Managers can then make changes based on what volume variances they see on a day-to-day basis. Keeping records on these allows you to quantify the success of a particular schedule and makes changes as needed.

Workforce management software helps organizations to automate key tasks that have an immediate impact on the bottom line. The solution is clear for anyone who needs to get more out of their call center workforce.

Chris DiMarco is a Web Editor for TMCnet. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University. Prior to joining TMC (News - Alert) Chris worked with e-commerce provider Suresource as a contact center representative and development analyst. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page. Follow him on Twitter (News - Alert) @cpdimarco.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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