Workforce Management Innovation: What Every Contact Centre Needs to Know


A light bulb is held by a hand and is surrounded by cogs

Patrick Russell of Talkdesk discusses the four areas of workforce management (WFM) that are being evolved through continuous innovation.

Managing a large labour force of any kind brings a slew of challenges. One of those challenges in the contact centre is how to manage and maintain schedules to ensure all demand is handled efficiently for the customer and the business.

WFM is one of the key components in meeting these objectives. But not all WFM solutions are created equal and many of them rely on technology that is outdated and proven to be inaccurate and inefficient.

So Where Should You Begin?

If you have an exciting WFO software product, first ask yourself if it was designed with the current (and future) type of contact centre worker in mind.

The generation of contact centre agents that was working in the ’90s has very different needs and expectations than contact centre workers born in the ’90s (or later). If you have a legacy solution, fear not! Fresh innovation is at hand.

Regardless of what your current WFM solution (or lack thereof) might be, a good starting point is to identify and fully understand your business needs and then begin the search for potential solutions.

Here are a few tips on areas you should investigate in any potential WFM product.

1. Accurate Forecasting

Most WFM solutions use antiquated algorithms and models to create the forecast. These outdated systems can still work in certain environments; however, they are subject to significant error for contact centres with fewer than a few thousand agents.

Now, some of you may be reading this and thinking: “Well, we only have 20 agents, so we don’t need to forecast.” This is not true at all. Forecasting is appropriate in any business, and the right WFM technology can still deliver efficiency improvements that save money or aid in ensuring all service level objectives are achieved.

The advanced WFM tools leverage multiple forecasting algorithms with the goal of delivering the most accurate forecasts in the industry. The right solution will flex and support you as your operation grows, and evolve as your business needs and priorities change.

Additionally, if a WFM solution doesn’t automatically provide its forecast accuracy score, you should be suspicious. How can you really trust your forecast if the tool isn’t providing you with the necessary access to highlight this most critical measure?

2. AI-Infused Everything

Workforce management can be a complex piece of software. If a solution doesn’t have any level of intelligence, you’ll be in for a lot of manual administrative responsibilities.

A modern WFM product should be able to learn and understand the relevant patterns of volume and labour details so that it can improve on its own over time.

Additionally, a truly advanced WFM solution should be augmenting human efforts with intelligent suggestions that are presented automatically and based on the defined performance metrics.

For example, if Service Level is trending better or worse than expected, your WFM tool should recognise this and suggest the best action to correct the trend.

Once you trust these suggestions, you should be able to set certain parameters for some, if not all, of these suggested actions to be on auto-pilot and self-manage.

Published On: 21st Mar 2019 - Last modified: 26th Mar 2019
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