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Far surpassing the cost of telephone, technology, and real estate investments, human resources account for more than 50% of a contact centre’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!
Do you think that workforce management (WFM) is only about optimising 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 centre with a high-performance Workforce Management tool is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
Today, some contact centre 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 centre 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 optimising 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.
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:
Instead of being reactive, a WFM 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 centre.
The idea, illustrated in the chart above, is simple: the solution collects the right historical data, analyses 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 centre 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 optimise 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 centre.
As a result:
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.
Automation is important, but it is crucial that the contact centre retains full control of the tool. This allows the contact centre 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 centre. Indeed, if the tool is too tightly controlled, it no longer fulfils its optimisation function. Too unfettered, it generates dissatisfaction among agents and no longer respects equity.
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 second relates to the calculation of real-time forecasts. Thus, if the contact centre 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.
Finally, the Workforce Management solution allows your agents to easily organise shift swaps or request scheduling changes or holidays. If the contact centre defines the rules, agents can freely manage their schedules as long as they respect the regulatory framework set by the contact centre. The outcome: increased customer and agent satisfaction as well as lower staff turnover.
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 WFM 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.
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