Why Contact Centers Need a Workforce Management Team

Every contact center needs a Workforce Management (WFM) team. Seriously, you do! I spend a lot of time evangelizing why WFM planning is so important when creating a consistently performing operation. Because I have seen this play out many times in my job as a consultant, I’m highly confident that WFM practices can help any business improve. After all, isn’t it better to be prepared than surprised?

One of the best predictors of future behavior is past behavior. WFM software allows us to gather data from the past so we’re able to prepare for the future. Learning from the past is your starting point in creating a business case for WFM. Be prepared, not surprised!

WFM is a tightly integrated set of processes and procedures that an organization uses to optimize performance of a workforce against an “expected” workload. Areas of responsibility for a WFM team typically include forecasting, scheduling, real time management, reporting and analysis. To learn more about workforce management, I suggest you read, “A New Definition of Workforce Management.”)

Three questions you need to ask about your business:

  • How many interactions of each work type will you receive and when? Can you afford not to know the work (calls, emails, chats) you will receive daily?
  • What agent skill sets are needed? Can you afford not to know which members of your organization are the right ones to interact with customers?
  • How many agents of each skill set are needed? Can you afford to lose customers if their questions/concerns are not handled within your customers’ definition of appropriate answer speed and answer quality?

Answers to these questions are simplified with workforce management software in the hands of skilled resources. Assigning the right resources for WFM will maximize the return on your software investment, so choose your workforce management professional wisely. WFM is a unique skill that requires advanced analysis abilities and software proficiency. As your company’s planning skills mature, you should expect to see:

  • More accurate forecasts.
  • Efficient schedule plans.
  • Improved consistency in service level delivery.
  • Ability to schedule in quality, training and other corporate initiatives.
  • Overall improved agent morale.
  • Improved financial performance with control of resourcing requirements.

In addition to an improvement in contact center performance, the information gained can also serve to model behaviors for HR, sales and marketing. Tap into WFM practices to stimulate collaboration between internal business partners and you’ll maximize overall effectiveness.

  • HR – How many agents HR needs to hire for each skill set and when they’re needed.
  • Sales – WFM team will ensure the right resources are identified to deliver upon the service promised, encourage additional sales opportunities, and extend the customer relationship.
  • Marketing – Maximize the marketing team’s efforts through event driven forecasting methodologies.

How does your contact center perform? Could your operation benefit from improved planning?

Chuck Swain

Chuck Swain

Chuck Swain

I've been a member of the contact center consultants team at Interactive Intelligence since June 2013; it’s a very rewarding role that allows me to work with many diverse organizations and share my passion for managing in a contact center. I've spent roughly 25 years working in contact centers and believe there is no more diverse type of work than what contact center leaders are faced with on a daily basis. Making the marriage between business process and technology harmonious is a fascination of mine, when it works it’s beautiful. While at the University of North Texas, the majority of my business studies were based in Strategic Management, I actually enjoy developing and executing short and long-term operational plans within a contact center. My recreational passion is golf - as a Floridian I get the chance to play a lot!