50 MORE Expert Tips to Improve Contact Centre WFM

A picture of a hand moving blocks with people on them

After Doug Casterton, a senior workforce management (WFM) manager, shared his first 50 tips to improve contact centre WFM, we were inundated with great feedback.

So, we went back to Doug to ask him if he had any more great insights that he could share with you, our loyal readers.

Luckily, he had 50 MORE pieces of advice, which he has picked up from many years of contact centre WFM experience, and we are delighted to share them with you.

1. Don’t Just Accept Service Level (SLA) Achievement as Job Done

Most centres see achievement of SLA as a tick in the box; if it is achieved, everything is okay. However, the job does not stop there.

If you are achieving SLA, examine whether this is because you are correctly staffed (good) or overstaffed (bad).

If you are overstaffed, can you utilize this excess agent time proactively for other activities, training sessions, etc?

But also bear in mind that if you are consistently achieving SLA due to overstaffing, there are medium-term efficiencies that need to be realized.

2. Sometimes the Most Simple Solution Is the Best Solution

While it is important to leverage the tools and technology at our disposal, at times a simple solution is the best solution.

Our partners in operations and operational services are best served when we employ the most elegant process that provides the same or even more accurate information…

Our partners in operations and operational services are best served when we employ the most elegant process that provides the same or even more accurate information than would be otherwise derived with more complex and time intensive exercises.

Having the “right-sized” WFM team, with appropriate functional responsibility for their organizational scale, who fully understand the tools and technology they use and make use of them at the appropriate time, is a great platform for success.

3. Always Focus on the Business, Customer and Employee Outcomes

As Customer Operations make more investments in WFM staff and technology, there’s ever higher expectation for us to deliver “added value”.

Not just paths to reduce operating expense but also paths to increase revenue, engage the workforce, and improve customer experience.

The greatest challenge we face today and will face in the future is optimizing our own organizations and processes and aligning them to all desired business outcomes.

4. Stop Handling Advisor Scheduling Requests Over Email

Dealing with WFM queries and change requests from operations is an important task for any WFM team to handle quickly and correctly first time round.

Often, the main channel of communication into WFM for these types of requests is via email into a shared mailbox.

There are, however, distinct advantages to moving to ticket management software for these types of requests, including:

  • Organizational Efficiency – Email accounts become very messy and difficult to maintain as the load increases. Ticket management software allows your company to respond to requests with much less effort than other systems.
  • Routing Options – Specialist software allows you to make use of preferences, if you are willing to identify what each employee is best at.
  • Records of Previous Communications – You’ll be able to keep track of all communications you’ve had with an individual whether or not they’re related to the current issue.
  • Prioritization – Identify urgent requests for help that may warrant a response before a friendly suggestion for improvement, no matter which was received first.

5. Think Long Term When It Comes to Cost Efficiency

The ironic thing about treating the contact centre as a cost centre and not a customer or profit centre is that in the long run it often costs the company more money – whether that is through employee or customer churn or lost revenue opportunity.

“Here lies the inward-facing contact centre. It didn’t accomplish much, but it was cheap.”

While WFM practice has its history deeply rooted in short-term cost efficiency, that does not have be its only outcome focus. In fact, I would argue that the value it can add through optimization to other outcomes, such as revenue growth, is huge.

6. Measure Active Headcount Success

A key capacity planning metric to measure is Active Headcount Success. This is a measure of, when all things are said and done, did the operation have as much active full-time equivalent (FTE) as was planned?

This will be influenced by many different assumptions that result in agents going inactive. These assumptions will include things like:

  • Maternity
  • Floorwalkers
  • New staff still in training
  • Seconded staff
  • Various shrinkage activities
  • Attrition
  • Recruitment success

For more planning metrics that you should be measuring, read our article: Which KPIs Do I Need for Contact Centre WFM?

7. Don’t Neglect the Importance of Managing Your Abandon Rate

Abandon Rate is an important metric to keep an eye on for the telephony and chat channels.

The key to managing abandon rate is to determine why customers abandon in the first place, and the wait in queue is just one of the reasons. Other possibilities include:

  • The customer was interrupted by something more urgent
  • The delay announcement answered the caller’s question
  • A predicted wait announcement indicated the wait is longer than the customer wants to experience at that time
  • An alternative offered in the delay announcement was chosen (e.g. website)

For more on calculating and managing this key metric, read our article: How to Measure Call Abandon Rate

8. Question the Blips in Your Historical Contact Volumes

Building an accurate forecast is always going to begin with a look back.

Insights into what happened last year can shed light on what’s likely to happen this year.

But dig in deep when you see exceptional blips in last year’s patterns, and ask yourself: What was going on? Is it something that is likely to repeat itself or not?

9. Run a “Deadwood” Email Clearing Exercise

When trying to reduce back-office or email backlogs, it’s important to run a regular deadwood clearance exercise in order to avoid agent work duplication.

Deadwood being any email or back-office case that is no longer valid, perhaps because the contact was time sensitive, resolved automatically or the customer resolved their query on a different channel.

This exercise may take up some time for your WFM team, but it will save a lot more for your advisors in the long run.

10. Remove Short Exceptions From Your Abandon Rate Analysis

Short abandon calls or chats, that are disconnected before a predetermined number of seconds, should be filtered out from any abandonment calculations.

If you don’t do this, you will skew your centre’s abandonment rate and impair your ability to make sound decisions.

There are currently no industry standards when it comes to setting a short abandons threshold. That said, it’s common practice to set a short abandons threshold of at least five seconds.

Regardless of what short abandons threshold you select, it is important to remain consistent and avoid changing it frequently.

Regardless of what short abandons threshold you select, it is important to remain consistent and avoid changing it frequently.

New thresholds aren’t applied to previous metrics and reports, so changing your threshold too often can result in inconsistent measurements. This ultimately makes it difficult to compare metrics across time and gauge your contact centre’s progress.

11. Measure Schedule Inflexibility

Ensure you measure schedule inflex regularly, so that this can be inserted as a buffer into the capacity plan. Without this insertion, you will not meet service levels.

Inflex is short for inflexibility and, as the term indicates, schedule inflex means that there is some amount of inflexibility inherent when you create a schedule that results in the schedule not being able to perfectly cover demand as forecast.

Schedule inflexibility can be influenced by a number of things, including:

  • Economies of scale
  • Flexibility of schedule rules
  • Multiskilling
  • Hours of operation
  • Consistency of intraday demand

12. Experiment With Different Forecasting Methods

There is no ‘one size fits all’ method to forecasting, and it is important to explore different methods.

Some methods will be more accurate for your contact centre than others, while other methods will better for negotiating common forecasting challenges, such as isolating special days from the forecast.

Four of the latest models of forecasting are listed below and are highlighted in more detail in Call Centre Helper’s article: The Latest Techniques for Call Centre Forecasting

  1. Triple exponential smoothing
  2. ARIMA (auto regressive integrated moving average)
  3. Neural networks
  4. Multiple temporal aggregation (MTA)

13. Guard Against “Knowledge Erosion” Amongst Your WFM Team

Don’t limit training for your WFM to during implementation/upgrade. Beware of ‘knowledge erosion’ and invest in ongoing, regular training for your WFM team to maximize investment.

By throwing users “in at the deep end” with system training, many of the benefits can be diluted, as the full functionality may not be utilized immediately back in the workplace.

Ensure you have a working relationship with your provider and request refresher training or additional development for staff as and when required.

Ensure you have a working relationship with your provider and request refresher training or additional development for staff as and when required.

Remember that the training provided by your supplier is system training only and will give you the tools to do the job. But this needs to be coupled with understanding, knowledge and experience of resource planning.

14. Be Flexible With Break and Lunch Times

Don’t automatically give everyone an hour-long lunch break.

Giving your agents some flexibility over how they take their lunch break can help you cover demand during this tricky time of the day.

For example, some agents may wish to take their break as 15 minutes/30 minutes/45 minutes throughout the day, while others may want to take the full hour at midday.

15. Model Your ‘What If?’ Scenarios

Model different scenarios to work through possible solutions for informed decisions.

You can use ‘what if?’ scenarios to plug in different levels of workload or changing people assumptions, and then calculate the additional resource requirements needed to cope.

It can be beneficial to engage experts outside of the contact centre to include in these scenarios.

Additionally, and where appropriate, it can be beneficial to engage experts outside of the contact centre to include in these scenarios.

For example, it can be great for your contact centre to look at the potential impact of taking on additional workload in the form of:

  • New work streams
  • New products or product launches
  • Increased geographical responsibilities
  • Marketing initiatives
  • Acquisitions

Also, there are many different situations where scenario planning is invaluable, including: How many new people you will need to hire? What skills they should have? And what shift patterns they should be working?

16. WFM Should Allow for Extra Coaching Flexibility

Workforce managers would prefer to have all agent activity scheduled, as it is common to take on a command and control approach.

However, coaching for me is something where a WFM process should allow for flexibility.

Coaching conducted ‘in the moment’, as near to an example event as possible, is far more powerful than later down the road.

Therefore, a WFM policy that allows for this activity to occur impromptu and in real time can really add value into the coaching arena.

17. Analyse Variations in Wrap Time

Average Handling Time (AHT) is often inflated by unusually long periods of wrap time. This is the time after each call when an advisor completes all of their after-call work (ACW).

The general principle in contact centres is to keep wrap time to a minimum. This does not, however, mean you should hurry agents into taking the next contact, otherwise vital wrap and notes might not be conducted correctly.

To ensure ACW is kept to a minimum, the first step is to understand what activity the agents are undertaking and how long they should actually be spending in ACW as best practice. A time and motion study against your best performers will give you this measuring stick.

Once you have a view of best practice, you can start to identify agents who are outliers – those that are quicker could be equally as harmful as those that spending a lot of time. The aim is to close the gap in outliers to be closer to the average.

For more on this topic, read our article: What Is After-Call Work (ACW) and How Can It Be Improved?

18. Recognize How Intranets and Social Technology Can Enhance WFM Processes

Intranets and social technology are often regarded as the responsibility of internal communications, marketing, or even the IT department.

There are, however, some great advantages for the WFM team in using this technology to complement the WFM process and services. These include:

  • Cut down on administration – Save valuable WFM time and resource with the support of digital tools, workflows and processes.
  • Support employees with a centralized digital workplace for WFM topics – Make visible to employees the WFM tools and information they need to perform their roles effectively and efficiently, with minimal effort on their or the WFM team’s part.
  • Build an internal brand employees can identify with and love – While millions of dollars are spent annually on building and promoting external company brands, few WFM teams invest the same effort or resource into internal branding efforts.

19. Your WFM Targets Should Be Linked to Your Brand Promise

In the movie version of Moneyball, Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane sums up Bill James’ philosophy quite simply by telling a player: “I pay you to get on first, not get thrown out at second.”

For Billy Beane, getting safely on first base is the fundamental first step in creating runs that add up to wins. Taking a gamble to steal second might run contrary to that established formula for winning games.

Apply that same thinking to your formula. If a great customer experience builds brand loyalty and that loyalty in turn drives revenue, maybe your focus is on Average Speed of Answer or Abandon Rate and less on Average Handle Time for complex service scenarios.

Remember, good service level measurements will always tie back to specific service goals that match your brand promise.

20. Build the Right Parameters for Your Game

In sport, it’s the score at the end of the game that counts, right? But does a win at all costs really delight fans in the long run? What does a win look like for you?

If you are setting a monthly service level target and setting a “win at all costs” mentality, it is very likely the WFM team is doing everything in their power to make sure the operation is exactly on the target at midnight on the 30th day.

But how does this feel from the customer perspective?

If you are aiming for monthly service levels, can you accept that there will be intervals and possibly even days when you won’t make the grade?

If you are aiming for monthly service levels, can you accept that there will be intervals and possibly even days when you won’t make the grade?

Chasing a target without sight of the experience that leads to that win can result in more harm than good.

21. Appreciate the Art of “Making a Read”

We often hear the phrase “the numbers don’t lie”. But what you don’t hear quite so often is that the numbers don’t always tell the whole story.

The biggest thing in WFM is being able to make “reads”. Making a “read” is essentially deciding what can we use, what can’t we use, and what can we use at a different time.

The reads we make build new footprints into future planning. All data is relevant, we just need to use it strategically.

22. Understand the Full Value of Agent-Level Micro-Analysis

Most WFM processes, especially long-range ones, but also at mid-range to real time, do not utilize agent-level micro-optimization enough.

Instead, they predominately focus on macro-level actions, such as ensuring the business has enough resource to meet demand.

Agent-level micro-analysis, such as identifying agents that are particularly apt at a particular customer process or channel and utilizing them during peak demand period, can increase productivity where it is most optimal.

23. Don’t Roll Out a “WFM Change Programme”: There Are Better Ways to Improve!

Rolling out a “WFM change programme” in an organization indicates that either the WFM team or the process has been doing something wrong.

Great engagement should not be about change but instead about unleashing the greatness that already exists – a true transformation, bringing life and energy back to the organic state for WFM and operational culture.

A photo of a breaking chain

Great engagement should not be about change, but instead about unleashing the greatness that already exists.

It is an opportunity to release processes and attitudes that no longer serve, and it is also a time for the collective (all parties who are involved in WFM and not just the WFM team) to work together in support of a common goal and purpose to improve upon the foundation already in place.

24. Talk to the Team Before Every Schedule Run

A useful governance exercise is to gather key team members involved in WFM, such as team leaders, quality analysts, coaches, etc.

Prior to every schedule run – be it weekly, monthly or whenever – discuss expectations, forecasts, expected service levels, over- and understaffing, as well as any other activities and plans that they would like to include.

By doing this, we can ensure that the whole team has a full understanding of key WFM processes and why we are doing what we are doing.

25. Scheduling Should Be Matching Certain Lifestyles

Before you release a schedule, ask the key question: would I, or someone I know, actually like to work that schedule?

If not, the search for perfection, in terms of schedule fit against forecast demand, is just increasing sickness and attrition.

For many contact centres, creating schedules can be like playing Tetris, in terms of fitting people into the key gaps of demand. But this thinking is quickly becoming outdated.

Doug discusses the pros and cons of lifestyle scheduling in the following podcast, in which we also cover many more key areas of contact centre WFM. 

The Contact Centre Podcast – Episode 22:

Resource Planning Advice To Boost Efficiency And Engagement

For more information on this podcast visit Podcast – Resource Planning Advice to Boost Efficiency and Engagement

26. Ensure Your Part-Time Strategy Is Based on ROI

Ensure you design your part-time strategy based on a return on investment (ROI).

Employing part-time shift workers can provide an additional workforce pool to recruit from, while also providing beneficial schedule inflex reduction.

Employing a part-time workforce also comes with additional costs compared with a full-time employee.

However, employing a part-time workforce also comes with additional costs compared with a full-time employee.

For example, part-time staff still need the same amount of shrinkage in hours, but this comes at a greater cost in percentage terms, as they take longer to train and you will still need the same amount of management cover per part-time heads.

27. Assess How the Customer Landscape Is Changing

To truly deliver great WFM, understanding how the customer landscape is changing and influencing behaviour is important.

Having a better grasp of the WHY helps immensely with connecting movements in demand and productivity.

While this is easier said than done, to disregard how and why customer factors are changing is likely to put an organization into a very reactive stance.

For example, changing demographics and their influence on channel choice, language use preference, and patience levels are more deeply rooted in external factors, driven by technology changes outside of a single internal factor.

28. Ask the Recruitment Team to Set the Right Expectations

I’ve learned that it makes sense to educate the recruitment team to ensure you don’t end up with a group of newbies who have totally wrong expectations of the shifts they will be working and the agent practices that are vital to WFM.

Setting the right expectations is key in lowering new employee attrition and, by failing to do so, we as an organization will appear dishonest.

Instead, we want to create great relationships with the contact centre team, so those agent practices that are fundamental to WFM are well performed.

29. Uncover the Root Cause Before Looking to Improve Metric Scores

Knowing the drivers in your business and understanding what metrics may be suffering and what can help you start uncovering root cause issues is vital.

Trying to improve a metric score without understanding the real issue may be tempting, but it will not benefit your contact centre in the long run.

Trying to improve a metric score without understanding the real issue may be tempting, but it will not benefit your contact centre in the long run.

The key is to investigate the issue and understand the why. Once this is done, you will have data-driven insights and tangible information to take forward.

In order to understand the drivers, work collaboratively with operational colleagues and departments who play a role in your customer life journey.

30. Regularly Review Time to Competency

Regularly reviewing “time to competency” for your agents (a metric that any good WFM process should be tracking as part of the capacity planning process), and what steps can be taken to streamline it, should be a mainstay.

Yet it is often the forgotten metric, with huge untapped productivity benefits sitting there waiting to be realized.

Even better, splitting training into smaller chunks, with time out on the floor applying the knowledge in between courses, not only gets agents to a version of productive quicker, but also help to embed learning… win win.

To find out how best to define productivity in the contact centre, read our article: How to Calculate Productivity in the Contact Centre

31. Re-Optimize Your Forecasts and Review Your Schedules

An often overlooked but still powerful WFM practice is to re-optimize.

Often schedule plans are put in place well in advance but then not touched holistically again.

Periodically reforecasting and then reviewing the schedule in order to re-allocate agent activities, breaks and so on, will often eliminate or reduce the cost of overtime by making better use of the agents you currently have.

32. Note Down Your Demand Drivers

It is important to make notes of your drivers of demand (or, conversely, drivers of reduced demand) that are out of the ordinary.

The weather or a website failure driving demand into the contact centre are common drivers.

For example, the weather or a website failure driving demand into the contact centre are common drivers.

Additionally, most WFM tools allow you to keep a call demand profile ready, based on previous events. This means you can use the same or similar data when a previous issue recurs, allowing you to adapt your forecasts accordingly and quickly in the moment.

33. Question Your Demand Drivers

There are two important questions to ask for all demand drivers:

  • How accurately can we predict their impact (if at all)?
  • How far ahead can we determine this (if at all)?

Once you have answered both of those questions, develop a resourcing strategy and a set of flexible option to meet predicted volatility. This might include tactical real-time response to those what-if scenarios. (More on these scenarios in point 15.)

34. Consider the Potential Consequences Before Hiring Students

Hiring students to cover the more unsociable shifts can be a great scheduling solution. However, it is often problematic hiring students if the onboarding training courses are lengthy, because they tend to churn quicker than other employee types.

If you can train them very quickly, it’s a good idea. If you take a month to train them up, but they leave three months later, it isn’t very cost-effective.

In addition, be prepared to provide the flexibility they need to meet their course commitment on class attendance, exam study and exams.

35. Ask for Input Into Contact Centre Routing Configurations

Most switches have intricate routing capabilities and these can often be viewed as a cure-all remedy.

However, no matter what routing configuration is chosen, ensuring the correct resource is in place is essential. This is why I would always recommend that the WFM team should have a strong hand in routing configurations.

At the very least, the WFM team should be responsible for measuring whether this works optimally with the current resource set-up, if not accountable fully for the design in the first place.

To discover some inventive call routing ideas, read our article: The Top 10 Call Routing Strategies

36. Ensure Timely and Accurate Updates From Your WFM Process

Robust reporting processes, together with clear roles and responsibilities, are key to service delivery.

Ensure processes are in place to enable absences and other variations to be input into the WFM as soon as they are known and their impact on service evaluated immediately.

Crucially, make sure an informed person, preferably real-time management, has the authority to effect changes to protect service wherever possible.

37. Be Wary of “Chasing Green”

Beware of weekly (or monthly for that matter) SLA targets as they can generate what I like to call “chasing green” behaviour.

Contact centres often report their SLA on a weekly basis with achievement over the week being the objective. This is particularly true of 80/20 or similar percentage calls answered (PCA) targets.

Simply reporting on a weekly figure can hide a multitude of sins, typically significant under-performance on some days (Mondays?) with significant over-performance on other days to make up the figures.

Not only are customers receiving a poor service on the bad days, it is costing you more in agent resource to make up for the original poor performance.

38. Unlock Efficiencies in Other Parts of the Business

WFM is well known for helping organizations to forecast, schedule and monitor contact centre adherence.

Now, however, it can also offer support if your business model is more complex than simply taking inbound contacts, with WFM assisting in unlocking efficiencies in less traditional areas.

For example, WFM now allows users to focus on back-office functions that aren’t telephone-dependent, enabling the capture of data from disparate and often manual sources into a single system for simple access and analysis.

Using this approach, an organization can streamline the forecasting, scheduling and process analysis tasks across the entire operation.

39. Don’t Give Up on Your Outbound Operation

Outbound has rightly got a bad name over the years. But done well and for the right reasons, it is still a very effective tool, both to improve customer satisfaction and to increase productivity.

Proactively reaching out to an existing customer… to save them needing to make the effort themselves, can be a great tool.

For example, proactively reaching out to an existing customer, who has given permission, to save them needing to make the effort themselves, can be a great tool.

So, through the creation of blended environments, where employees are skilled across both inbound and outbound, we can develop a WFM model to maximize the value of both.

This WFM model would work by having your outbound activity conducted during periods where there is an excess in resource to meet inbound demand.

40. Work on Your People Skills

A key job interview tip I always hand out to WFM professionals is ensure your people skills shine through.

By nature, WFM professionals tend to be analytical and introvert, and during an interview, this personality can become dominant, leaving little room to demonstrate the interpersonal skills that you are also able to offer.

To be truly world class in the WFM profession, an empathetic set of people skills is essential. While we deal in numbers, it is people we plan for.

So, make sure to tell the interviewer specifically what skills you have. This could be strong negotiation skills, building and gaining trust or communicating with a variety of different people at all levels.

For more interview tips, read our article: Interview Dos and Don’ts

41. Treat a Change in Your WFM System as an Opportunity

Changing your WFM system is an opportunity to analyse your processes to determine if they were put in place solely to appease your current, flawed WFM system.

Be sure not to replicate unnecessary practices in your new system and to challenge yourself to identify ineffective processes that can be changed prior to automating them.

For more information about WFM software, read our article: What to Look for in WFM Software

42. Think About Deploying an App for Agent Scheduling

Something as simple as deploying an agent mobile app can allow the contact centre team to view their shifts, book holiday and make shift-swaps away from the office.

Having a system like this in place can make a big difference to agents, especially if you’re making use of flexible and dynamic shift patterns, which can be difficult for an agent to remember.

43. Target Certain Demographics for Certain Shift Patterns

Working parents can often be a great resource for covering evening shifts.

Of course, this is a sweeping statement and will not suit every family need, but there are many working parents looking for an evening’s work so that they can be at home with their children during the daytime.

A photo of binoculars

There are many working parents looking for an evening’s work so that they can be at home with their children during the daytime.

Also, they are often open to split shifts, which allow them to pick their children up from school.

The point is whilst some shifts will be unpopular to the masses, this does not mean that they are totally undesirable for all.

44. Be Realistic With Your Shrinkage Assumption

Ensuring the plan represents a realistic shrinkage assumption is a vital part of workforce management.

Yet too many times have I seen static assumptions that don’t reflect the reality of what is actually happening in the contact centre.

So, if you are not already doing this I would really encourage you to run regular variance reporting, and if your shrinkage assumption does not match what’s actually going on, find out why.

45. Promote the Callback Application to Customers

While the idea of not waiting in queue should be appealing to a customer, they did not call with the idea that it would be great to listen to your hold music. They called to speak to someone immediately.

If you want customers to take up the option of dropping the call and waiting to be called back, you are going to need to promote it.

Depending on the urgency of the customer’s call, uptake is best when you give an indication of:

  1. How long they are likely to wait in queue if they don’t take the option
  2. How long it will be before they get a callback

46. Be Wary of the Difficulty of Omnichannel Planning

Adding channels is often seen as the answer, but WFM for multiple channels, let alone omnichannel, is extremely difficult to get right.

In fact, this often results in incremental demand being generated through customers channel hopping, as they seek reassurance, or even sitting in two queues at once to see which gets answered first.

You need to identify and prioritize areas of high customer effort and create a path to guide customers through the optimal channels.

To me, the most important customer experience measure (your sanitary factor in fact) is customer effort. This is why you need to identify and prioritize areas of high customer effort and create a path to guide customers through the optimal channels.

My belief is that many workforce management teams are very connected in this space and have a big part to play in measuring and joining the dots.

47. Trust Your Employees to Work From Home

If you can’t trust your employees to work flexibly, why hire them in the first place?

According to Millennial Mindset, 91% of millennials are saying flexible working is important, and 92% state they want the option to work from home.

If you are not incorporating virtual work and working from home options into your employee strategy you will be missing out for sure.

48. Know the First Rule of Forecasting

The first rule of forecasting is that all forecasting is wrong. The extent to which the forecast is wrong depends on the skill and art of the forecaster.

Yet while this mantra is very true, the aim, of course, is to always maximize accuracy, where time expended makes it worthwhile.

Here are a few pointers that will help with this:

  • Improve the quality of your data – Put time and focus into gathering, refining and analysing data. Clean the data to remove outliers and ensure it does not lead your forecast to misleading conclusions.
  • Forecast more often – The more frequently you forecast, the more you narrow down your forecasting horizon.
  • Train and/or recruit “Super Forecasters” – The talent to forecast can be taught, nurtured or recruited.
  • Use the right software – Invest in specialized software to ease and improve the forecasting process beyond the Excel spreadsheet.

49. Ensure That Advisors Know About the “Power of One” Rule

Particularly in a big contact centre, it is understandable for an advisor to think that it doesn’t matter if they spend an extra five minutes at lunch, but this mentality is dangerous.

Due to the fragile nature of contact centre schedules, just one person out of place can have a big impact on your SLAs and overall performance.

So, we need to teach advisors about the “power of one” to guard against the cumulative effects of this mentality.

Watch this video to find out more about the power of one:

My personal favourite way of showing people the power of one is using balloons or tennis balls, and asking them to keep them in the air whilst you take one advisor away. This is much more engaging than the standard lecture!

For more on this fundamental WFM principle, read our article: The Power of One

50. Share Best Practices With Other WFM Professionals

Network and share best practice with other WFM professionals. Just the simple act of sharing and discussing your knowledge or your current challenge can help generate ideas and clarity of thought.

So often we are all dealing with the same challenges, so having a strong network to bounce ideas off is hugely beneficial.

A tumbnail photo of Doug Casterton

Doug Casterton

In addition to social media, there is a huge amount of content out there, online chat forums and in person user forums/seminars, site visits – allowing WFM professionals to meet and network with others.

In the pressurized and busy world of WFM it is very easy to slip into an inward-facing mindset, but like all things in life, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Thanks to Doug Casterton for sharing these tips with us. For more helpful advice from Doug, be sure to give him a follow on LinkedIn.

There is more helpful advice on contact centre WFM, in each of our following articles:

Author: Robyn Coppell

Published On: 8th Jan 2020 - Last modified: 11th Nov 2022
Read more about - Workforce Planning, , , , , , , ,

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