Contact centers have been around for a long time, dating back to the late 1950s. The idea of “workforce management,” in those early decades, would seem comical today. Call center managers counted how many workers showed up in the morning, and they handed out piles of paperwork with admonitions that the employees should finish all the work. For inbound contact center operations, contact center managers simply observed that when call queues were getting long, something wasn’t working right.
Of course, determining what that “something” was was anybody’s guess. Later on, companies began doing some rudimentary workforce management on graph paper using complicated manual algorithms (but if you weren’t good at math, you were probably sunk.) While these manual methods helped a little, they were insufficient to attain true workforce optimization.
Workforce optimization, a more recent concept, involves using historical information to calculate how the call center workforce can best be used to keep call queues short and provide high-quality customer service without wasting resources the way that overstaffing can do. These modern workforce optimizations, coupled with cloud-based delivery, have revolutionized contact center operations, and 2014 is likely the year we see workforce optimization in the cloud become the norm rather than the exception, according to Monet Software’s CEO Chuck Ciarlo in a recent blog post.
Ciarlo notes that a survey done by Connectfirst found that more than 45 percent of contact centers plan to make an initial or expanded move into the cloud within the next 18 months. The survey also found that 55.8 percent of contact centers say that improving agent productivity is their top goal. Together, these two goals spell cloud-based workforce optimization.
“Since customer service agents typically account for the largest percentage of contact center costs, it is vital to make sure agent resources are being properly leveraged to deliver consistent, reliable performance,” writes Ciarlo. “Workforce optimization software is one of the best ways to achieve this objective. It provides insight into customer interactions and service levels, delivering the data necessary to make important decisions about WFO and optimal management of personnel.”
Allocating technology budgets is an important part of a contact center manager’s job. Since a cloud-based workforce optimization solution can save a company money AND boost customer satisfaction through better management of the contact center’s human resources, it’s a technology that should be put at the top of the list.