If you have any amount of experience in the call center space, then you’ve realized that without a proper workforce management solution, it is nearly impossible to properly staff your operation. You are left unprepared to deal with call volume fluctuations on a day-to-day basis, nevermind throughout the year, and you end up wasting time and money with improperly balanced staff.
But for those without a lot of experience managing call centers, what should you be looking for in a WFM solution?
First and foremost, your solution needs ACD integration, without that you might as well be scheduling with a pen and paper. ACD integration will allow your WFM to not only keep track of real-time volume, but also gather historical data that can later be used to find seasonal call peaks. You’ll also be able to keep an eye on individual agent performance metrics such as abandonment rate, call length and adherence.
Forecasting is a must-have in your workforce management solution, and as discussed above should be connected to the ACD so it can automatically predict staffing requirements. But historically based reports are not the only forecasting programs that benefit your contact center. The ability to create and play out scenarios will allow you to truly visualize your staff needs. Say, for example, its flu season and you want to know what you’ll be up against should two of your best agents become unavailable. A good WFM software suite will be able to calculate those agents’ average handle times and let you know how many customer will go unanswered without staffing adjustments.
As far as things to keep in mind outside of features, you’ll want to make sure that the WFM software you choose has implementation, hardware and resource requirements that your call center can meet. Realizing that you cannot meet one of these requirements half way through the installation process is something that no call center should experience.
Considering that staffing is generally the largest part of a call centers budget, managing a workforce with software seems like a logical way to balance both need an expense. Keep the items above in mind as you look for a workforce management solution, and you’ll see ROI in no time.
Chris DiMarco is a Managing Editor for TMCnet. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University. Prior to joining TMC (News - Alert) Chris worked with e-commerce provider Suresource as a contact center representative and development analyst. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page. Follow him on Twitter (News - Alert) @cpdimarco.
Edited by Juliana Kenny