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Improve both customer and agent experience with a smart Workforce Management solution

Improve both customer and agent experience with a smart Workforce Management solution
Johanna Raux
Johanna Raux Bid Manager at Odigo

Far surpassing the cost of telephone, technology, and real estate investments, human resources usually account for more than 50% of a contact center’s expenses. With cost reduction in mind, implementing a smart Workforce Management solution (WFM) is an excellent investment. However, this tool offers numerous other benefits!

January 28, 2020

Do you think that workforce management (WFM) is only about optimizing costs? Think again! WFM is first and foremost about the art of managing your workforce by making sure you have the right people with the right skills available at the right time. At a time when digital channels are proliferating, competition is increasing and customers are increasingly demanding, equipping your contact center with a high-performance Workforce Management tool is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

Today, some contact center supervisors continue to manage their schedules on Excel or internal tools and then engage in a tedious consolidation process to generate reports and statistics. However, once the contact center has more than 60 agents, the spreadsheet shows its limits. Indeed, the more agents there are, the more parameters there are to take into account. Another problem is that Excel does not allow for real-time adjustments or in-depth statistical analysis. As for possible forecasts, they remain very imprecise.

This method of workforce management is unsuitable for such large volumes and often leads to dissatisfaction among the spreadsheet user, the agent and, by extension, the customer!

The best alternative? A Workforce Management solution that, in addition to optimizing costs (30% reduction in overtime, 90% of calls answered within 30 seconds, etc.), will greatly simplify the work of supervisors, planners, and other forecasters, thanks to its advanced scheduling features.

Workforce Management: a clear ROI in 6 months

Admittedly, setting up a Workforce Management solution represents a significant investment in both time and money. However, the good news is that the ROI is visible on average after six months of consistent use. This is due to the nature of this comprehensive tool which is able to handle:

  • Call forecasting,
  • Agent scheduling and planning,
  • Statistics,
  • Reports,
  • Shift swaps,
  • Real-time monitoring.

Instead of being reactive, a Workforce Management solution makes it possible to become proactive.

A good Workforce Management solution provides your supervisors with a 360° view and guarantees a high-performance contact center

Workforce Management: forecasting and anticipating

The idea, illustrated in the chart above, is simple: the solution collects the right historical data, analyzes it, and makes forecasts – taking into account imponderable events. It is possible to include any event (holidays, Christmas period, marketing campaign, etc.) while taking into account agent preferences and ensuring equity between agents is respected.

Precise forecasts will naturally lead to sound planning. But what does sound planning mean? It means having the right number of advisers available at the right time with the right skills, while respecting the legal constraints of the country and the call center as well as the preferences and/or constraints of the agents. To succeed in this balancing act will, of course, require a few tests to be carried out beforehand.

Planning is based on rules that can be adapted when necessary. The user tells the solution what it is allowed to do and what it isn’t. The solution is able to optimize the rules as much as possible (no over or under-staffing, number of agents that perfectly matches the number of skills and needs, very flexible schedule), or to keep rather rigid rules, in order to take into account the particularities and constraints of the agents and of the contact center.

As a result:

  • Assignments are carried out in accordance with the company’s Quality of Service (QoS) objectives,
  • Agent productivity increases,
  • Absenteeism and turnover decreases.

A good Workforce Management solution makes it possible to monitor forecasts, check whether they are in line with reality and refine them if they aren’t. The solution provides easy access to reports including all the desired KPIs and/or the monitoring of your multi-skilled agents, and this on all the new digital channels.

Workforce Management: the fine balance between optimization and equity

Automation is important, but it is crucial that the contact center retains full control of the tool. This allows the contact center to choose the type of historical data it wants to use to manage the workforce and then refine it manually if necessary. The power of the tool lies in its highly customizable nature.

It makes it possible to ask the tool to prepare schedules including 2 Saturdays worked per agent per month or 3 night shifts per agent per month. On the other hand, it is recommended to allow the tool some freedom to decide on its own which dates to place these elements according to the type of schedules used in the contact center. Indeed, if the tool is too tightly controlled, it no longer fulfills its optimization function. Too unfettered, it generates dissatisfaction among agents and no longer respects equity.

360° real-time view of the contact center

Another benefit is that a good Workforce Management solution is able to manage two aspects of real-time.

The first is about agents and schedules, as the solution allows to monitor what they are doing and to set alert thresholds.

The tool also ensures that:

  • The agent is actually doing what was planned,
  • Events are well re-optimized following changes in planning in order to recalculate the net staffing.

The second relates to the calculation of real-time forecasts. Thus, if the contact center finds itself receiving more calls than expected at a given time, the tool will be able to recompute a forecast for the end of the day, which helps make decisions in real-time.

The tool will also indicate the status of the quality of service at the end of the day. It therefore becomes extremely easy to know when to ask your advisers to work overtime, cancel trainings or coachings, etc.

Give your agents control of their schedule again…

Finally, the Workforce Management solution allows your agents to easily organize shift swaps or request scheduling changes or holidays. If the contact center defines the rules, agents can freely manage their schedules as long as they respect the regulatory framework set by the contact center. The outcome: increased customer and agent satisfaction as well as lower staff turnover.

…and increase customer satisfaction

Ten years ago, the client was willing to wait up to 4 minutes before being connected to an agent. Today, 50% of callers will hang up after waiting 45 seconds.

With a good Workforce Management solution, not only will your customers do away with the long waiting time, but they will also say goodbye to operator-to-operator transfers, as the tool ensures that they immediately talk to the right agent with the right skill.

You want:

  • A reduction in costs and turnover in your contact center,
  • An increase in agent satisfaction,
  • Better service with reduced waiting time for your customers?

Keep your customers happy by making agent satisfaction a priority! Would you like to experience Odigo’s Contact Center as a Service solution for yourself? Are you interested in a solution which integrates Verint Enterprise Workforce Management, and allows you to significantly improve the operational efficiency of your contact center?

Johanna Raux
Bid Manager at Odigo

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