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Top 6 Trends in Contact Center Workforce Management Solutions

Top 6 Trends in Contact Center Workforce Management Solutions 7/12/2012
By Donna Fluss

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The workforce management (WFM) market has awakened and is attracting replacements and new sales at rates never seen before. Interest in WFM solutions is being driven by a number of unique events. Contact center managers have been asking for better WFM capabilities for years, but the vendors did not see the value in making the necessary R&D investments because they did not think they could get a return on their money at a sufficient rate. So, the market was at a standstill, and true innovation was highly limited. Something had to give, and change finally started to happen due to shifting market dynamics. Below is a summary of the top 6 trends in contact center WFM solutions:

  1. European work rules have forced WFM vendors to make significant investments in their solutions.
  2. “Millennials” are changing contact center dynamics by forcing managers to alter their scheduling practices and prioritize agent schedule preferences over optimizing purely for performance.
  3. Ease of use is becoming a priority. Vendors large and small are finally making investments to enhance their user interfaces (UIs). This is important because a good UI incorporates logic and greatly simplifies the WFM process.
  4. Vendors are improving the accuracy of their solutions. Most WFM solutions overstaff due to the mathematical characteristics of erlang, but simulation and other mathematical approaches are now being used to improve scheduling effectiveness.
  5. There is growing need for forecasting and scheduling solutions that can handle social media and truly blended multi-channel contact center environments. Contact centers need WFM solutions that are up to the challenge.
  6. DMG estimates that there are 3 times as many back-office employees as contact center agents. Back offices and branches need WFM solutions to help optimize staff performance.

The WFM market is in transition. Any organization that has not purchased a new WFM solution in the past 3 to 5 years should take a look at the current offerings to see if innovation can make a quantifiable contribution to their contact center. Although WFM solutions are far from perfect, many of them are better than continuing to depend on manual worksheets. The contact center WFM market has come a long way, and the pace of innovation is expected to increase in the next two to three years.