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Is there a tool/spreadsheet that you would recommend for calculating staffing given different metrics? I am sure there are many, but thought I would check with you as to one that is convenient and reliable.

Is there a tool/spreadsheet that you would recommend for calculating staffing given different metrics? I am sure there are many, but thought I would check with you as to one that is convenient and reliable.

11/30/2009

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Question
Is there a tool/spreadsheet that you would recommend for calculating staffing given different metrics? I am sure there are many, but thought I would check with you as to one that is convenient and reliable.

Answer

This is actually a complicated question. The answer is that you need a workforce management solution. The “catch” is that the underlying math used in these solutions varies based on the types of staff you are trying to “optimize.” For example, if you’re optimizing for call center/phone agents, the fundamental math will be erlang. If you’re optimizing for branch/back-office staff, different algorithms are required.

Complicating the situtation, the underlying algorithms work better under different circumstances. For example, erlang is not very effective when applied to fewer than 50 agents; it was designed to handle a large volume of activity and does not deliver optimal results for a small staff. However, it’s still is generally better than not using any workforce management solution at all.

Here is the link to DMG’s 2009 contact center workforce management market report. This Report provides a detailed analysis of the competitors in the contact center workforce management sector, addresses workforce management best practices, and also reflects which of the vendors have workforce management solutions for back-office and branch activities. The Report looks at leading and contending solutions, and provides a very detailed analysis of their functionality, technology, implementation processes, ease of use, etc.

Having pointed out the challenge of using workforce management solutions, I should emphasize that workforce management solutions are often the most important productivity tool for contact center managers. When used properly, they can deliver significant benefits that also help to improve the customer experience by making sure that contact centers have the right number of resources available to handle the anticipated transaction volume. These applications are highly valuable, but often challenging to use.

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