June 4, 2016

Workforce Management: Say goodbye to EXCEL and opt for an automated solution made for 2016!

In this edition:

Looking for a way to make your contact center more productive, to waste less time and talent and to meet your forecasting efficiently? Workforce Management software is the best solution to help you meet your objectives!

According to “Call Center” magazine:

“The most important thing that most call centers can do to improve their WFM processes is to invest in a WFM software.”

Here is some additional information in regards to WFM software et how these tools can contribute to differentiating you from the competition by maximizing your workforce and reducing your operational costs.

The best part of Workforce Management Software…

Although WFM tools vary in sophistication and features, they will all allow you to import and collect call data.  Here is how these tools can help you:

  • Workforce Management solutions allow you to create schedules based on call forecasting all the while considering agent availabilities and all the factors that may influence service levels. If you have ever tried to do this exercise with a pen and paper or even by using Excel for example, you know how difficult such a task can be!
  • You need to forecast the future customer contacts based on historical data that goes back a few years. Workforce Management software allows you to automate this process and considers the seasonality of your interactions to ensure the results are truly reflective of your conditions. It has been proven that using such a tool to manage your workforce will produce results that are much more precise than they would be if you were counting on intuition and employee knowledge!
    • The savings related to more effective planning can take different forms:
      • 10% to 20% savings in global working hours;
      • 20% reduction in overtime hours;
      • 5% increase in agents’ schedule adherence;
      • 20% reduction of attrition.
  • It is also crucial for contact centers to review the different hypotheses regarding forecasting. These WFM tools allow you to create forecasts based on “what-if” scenarios, to test these hypotheses and to preview the impact these situations could have on your service levels and on your customers. Do you know what would happen to your contact center if you had a sudden spike in call volume? Or what would happen if your attrition doubled unexpectedly? What if you changed your service level objectives? WFM software allows you to understand the impact of these different scenarios and determine if you need to call for overtime or cancel some offline activities for example.
  • Finally, workforce management solutions give your leadership and supervisors teams the possibility to obtain live views of what is happening in your contact center. They are then better equipped to react, review agent productivity, adherence and overall performance and take immediate action if objectives are not met. Workforce management tools provide a picture of what is going on in a specific moment of your day and they allow the users to be conscious of the service level and the factors that are impacting it.

3 main reasons why you should use a workforce management tool

When you think about it, there isn’t any aspect of your contact centre that wouldn’t benefit from introducing a workforce management tool. Ask any director what their main objectives are and they will certainly answer:

  1. Improve customer experience and overall satisfaction;
  2. Increase productivity all the while reducing costs;
  3. Motivate employees and increase their loyalty towards the company.

Obviously, having a workforce tool is not the only thing that will help you meet all of these objectives! However, it can certainly help you reach them more rapidly and easily by offering your management team the possibility to better understand what is going on and take the necessary measures to resolve a situation.

How do you get there? Well, here are some examples…

1. Improve customer experience and overall satisfaction

You must certainly already have a way to forecast your service level based on historical call volume data. However, are you sure that your calculations have considered all the possible variables? And how much time do you spend building your schedules, modifying them and reviewing headcounts when exceptional situations happened?

Using a workforce management solution allows you to reduce the administrative time related to forecasting and scheduling up to 90%.

A workforce management tool does all of these things for you. It will provide you with precise forecasting, create flexible schedules that are mindful of expected and unexpected factors, agent exceptions and daily changes which in turn, will allow you to easily reach your service level and ultimately provide your customers with a shorter call answer time. Furthermore, when these tools are integrated with your interactive voice response system (IVR), they ensure the calls are routed to the correct agent, increasing your customers’ satisfaction since the agents with specific skills are available to take the calls they are most qualified to receive!

2. Increase productivity all the while reducing costs

How can a tool help you increase agent productivity…it’s simple! Workforce management software will provide you with tons of data such as:

  • Employee adherence
  • Call handling time
  • First call resolution
  • Service level per interval throughout the day

And these are only a few! Imagine all you could accomplish if you had access to such detailed information and this, quickly!

Hence, such a software optimises agent scheduling and ensures you have the right number of resources throughout the day, without being overstaffed, or understaffed! You are then able to reduce your costs by reducing the overtime or by having an occupancy level that is too low, for example.

3. Employee motivation

One of the more important aspects of an contact centre agent’s job that can affect their motivation at work is certainly the schedules he/she is given. We all know how quickly agents can become unhappy when sudden schedule changes occur or even worse, when they feel schedule attribution is unfair. Unfortunately, these situations happen quite often when we use a manual process to create schedules as we are all human and mistakes happen!

A workforce management software eliminates the uncertainties related to schedules and they allow your agents to manage their own schedules through preference setting. You are then able to assign schedules based on seniority or why not by taking performance into consideration? By doing so, high performant agents are attributed their preferred schedules which helps motivate employees to meet their objectives and become top performers. Employees who are happy with their schedules are employees that are loyal to their organisation and who perform!

Choose efficiency over cost

As you probably already know, workforce management tools are now essential in all contact centers not only to manage your call volumes, your workforce and your performance efficiently but also to reduce costs all the while maximizing productivity and increasing customer satisfaction.

As a contact center manager, your biggest worry when investing in a WFM solution may be to know if the product will help you and actually deliver on its promise. Or perhaps you might consider your contact center too small for such an investment?

You are wrong! It’s been proven that if a contact center wishes to remain competitive, there is no other option but to acquire a workforce management solution and even more so, if the contact center operates in different locations and in different languages.

Imagine all the time you could save if your forecasting was automated and this, for a multichannel and multi-site environment. Think how great if would be to optimize your workforce utilization: the right agent, with the right skill, in the right place, at the right time! Imagine how happy your agents would be to get their schedules well in advance and be able to achieve a work-life balance…there is your key to success!

Make the jump

We tend to get stuck in our routines and use the same methodology over and over again…perhaps you tell yourself: “Spreadsheets have worked well for me… why change?” It’s now time to change the status quo and put those spreadsheets away. Do not wait until the situation gets dire, that your service levels are not met or that your abandon rates skyrocket or even worse, that you lose all your star performers to a competitor with forward thinking contact center management!

It is time to envision this change and to go for it…what better way to do so than to call upon the experts of SSA Solutions who will not only guide you in your decision, train you and support you but will also offer personalized advice, ensuring you choose the best workforce management tool for you!

SSA Solutions has more than 16 years of experience in workforce management and it will be our immense pleasure to guide you through this process and adapt the market’s best practices to your organisation’s particularities and needs.

Say goodbye to manual spreadsheets and make the jump to a software that will revolutionize your contact center!

Contact us now!

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