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Workforce Management Challenges and How to Tackle Them

December 10, 2012
By Michelle Amodio - TMCnet Contributor

In the call center, one of the top challenges noted by managers is the overall workforce management (WFM) flow. Because contact centers are staffed with many agents, most around the clock, it becomes a difficult task to hone in on one particular area or issue without some sort of tool or management solution to keep everything flowing and seamless.

A recent white paper from Coordinated Systems, Inc. (CSI (News - Alert)) discusses a myriad of challenges in enterprise WFM, from workforce rules to accurately predicting and figuring out calling patterns, all of which can make or break a contact center.

Businesses today are having a difficult time keeping up with customer demand, as the inception of the multichannel contact center has changed the playing field of how customers interact with the companies they do business with. The increased online connectivity of consumers coupled with cross-channel communications makes it difficult for managers to accurately predict their call volume, thus resulting in complex calling patterns. Setting appropriate staffing levels for a service desk requires a way to forecast call volumes.

In addition to having to figure out call volume, managers are tasked with keeping workforce operating at maximum ability. A workforce that is not working to its full potential means the contact center suffers. This inefficiency can spring up in any of the many links within the service chain. From forecasting and planning to scheduling, mobility and business analytics, this resource-intensive process is fraught with potential pitfalls and efficiency leaks.

In the contact center, everything has to be optimized, from customer demand forecasts to the shifts employees work, otherwise the ultimate end result is poor service.

In a contact center that deals with peaks and valleys of calls, creating a set of schedules that efficiently matches the workforce to the workload is a tremendous challenge. There are workforce scheduling tools that can help get that "just right" fit of timetables to minimize overstaffing and understaffing.

In the end, it’s best to give up the spreadsheet and use a workforce management solution, like Virtual Observer Community WFM that offers five different forecasting methods, eliminating the need of a calculator, spreadsheet and time.

Irrespective of the size of the contact center, workforce management is a challenge. In addition to making the right technology decision to help manage a workforce, it's also important to understand and address the most basic of workforce issues.

Are you looking for ways to accelerate agent performance? To learn about the top 10 ways to boost agent performance, click here.

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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