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A New Generation of Workforce Management for Today's Call Centers

July 09, 2012

If you think about the most expensive part of running a call center, you'll find that labor costs are at the top. This is true across all call centers. By some estimates, labor accounts for 70 percent of labor costs in most call centers. Given the high turnover in the average call center, this makes the costs of recruiting, hiring, training and compensating agents even higher. Logically, this means that any technology that can keep labor costs down – by making sure you have only as many agents as you need – will pay for themselves. Workforce management, therefore, is one of the most critical, cost-containing technologies in the call center.

Workforce management isn't the same as it was 10 or even five years ago. In fact, a new generation of innovative and easy to implement solutions designed to assist call center management achieve increased efficiency and substantial cost savings has emerged.

There are four critical aspects of workforce management that call center managers can implement to immediately realize benefits, says Mark Edwards (News - Alert), director of product and services at integrated technology and people resource solutions provider, Intuate Group.

“Led by the Noble Systems Shift solution, these technologies offer self-service modules to empower agents, change the dynamics of contact centers and free supervisors to focus their time on assisting customers instead of managing agent schedules,” said Edwards in a press release.

According to Intuate, the four critical areas are: provision of advanced functionality, including leave management, self-service and mobile features; delivering flexible deployment options for premise, cloud and hybrid environments; functioning as part of an integrated contact center tool set to improve forecasting, planning, quality assurance, decision support and overall contact center management; and support of blended, multi-skill and multichannel customer contact activities wherever agents are located.

“The speed of business has outpaced brick and mortar so it makes sense to look for a solution with cloud and hybrid delivery methods,” said Edwards. “Hosting, particularly routing and CRM, has become an important deployment option for some contact center infrastructure segments. It often makes sense to hybridize the technology environment by keeping some core systems on the premises and adding new modules through software-as-a-service (SaaS (News - Alert), or look for a provider able to deliver WFM through the cloud.”

Edwards emphasizes that it also makes sense to look for a workforce management solution that is part of a broader suite, particularly when you need to be up and running quickly or have limited IT resources, as standalone solutions can often present integration problems. It's also critical to choose a solution that blends media.

“The solution has to meet the demands of a blended, multitasking environment, including inbound and outbound contacts, multiple channel and non-call activities. For a WFM platform to be highly beneficial to a multitasking center, it should be capable of forecasting call and non-call volumes and schedule resources for blended, multimedia environments,” noted Edwards.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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