Why Care About Workforce Management
Workforce management (WFM) solutions are among the most important productivity tools in contact centers. These applications allow managers to forecast the volume of transactions that a contact center will have to process and schedules the optimal number of agents to meet the anticipated need, factoring in agent breaks, training needs, vacations and sickness absences. These solutions also streamline the hiring process, enabling managers to address both the number of agents required for a contact center and the skill sets that are necessary to provide the best service to customers.
Contact Center Uniqueness Presents WFM Challenge
All contact centers are unique, and it is difficult to develop a standardized approach for addressing staffing needs in every organization. Agent scheduling requirements are likely to be very specific to each environment. To meet the diverse needs of contact centers, WFM vendors have developed systems capable of addressing many approaches and options. This has resulted in sophisticated applications that were often highly complex and challenging to implement and maintain. Although there is still room for improvement, recent innovation has focused on improving the simplicity and usability of these valuable solutions.
WFM Benefits Contact Centers Large and Small
WFM applications benefit the contact center, its agents and customers. As productivity tools, WFM applications reduce agent waste, inefficiency, and absenteeism and minimize idle time. At the same time, WFM can increase agent adherence and improve customer service by decreasing the rate of abandonment and the need for “call backs.” The skill-based scheduling feature of WFM increases customer satisfaction, ensuring that agents with the right resources are available to address inquiries. Staff satisfaction is another benefit of WFM, which removes much of the arbitrariness of manual scheduling, empowering agents to manage their own schedules and enjoy schedule preferences for outstanding performance.
WFM is essential for improving productivity in very large contact centers, where the penetration rate of these solutions is currently the highest. These applications are also becoming increasingly critical for mid-to-large size multi-site, multi-skill and multi-channel environments. The options in the market are more varied than ever, with many new vendors and products to choose. Enterprises can select either purchased or hosted solutions. Applications are available to target the specific needs and budgets for centers of all sizes. A single WFM solution can address the needs of the contact center, the back office and remote sites, centralizing and simplifying the support burden. WFM solutions can be integrated with other workforce optimization products, such as quality management, eLearning, coaching and performance management; the resulting synergies increase the benefits and value of these offerings.
Selecting the Right WFM Solution
Contact center WFM solutions are more promising and varied than ever. Today, enterprises of all sizes and in all industries can find high-value WFM solutions targeted to their needs, at the right price. To help users navigate this complex and evolving market segment, DMG Consulting is releasing its first annual Workforce Management Market Report in December 2007. The Report presents an in-depth analysis of WFM functionality and technology, along with detailed coverage of market trends, challenges, ROI, vendor market share, pricing and best practices. The Report makes sense of the many choices available today. Users who take the time to select and implement WFM solutions properly will realize many quantifiable and qualitative benefits.
DMG Consulting LLC is a leading independent research, advisory and consulting firm specializing in unified communications, contact centers, back-office and real-time analytics. Learn more at www.dmgconsult.com.