Modern contact centers utilize enormous amounts of data. All interactions including the voice channel are scrutinized for sentiment and quality allowing 100% of all customer interactions to be analyzed, used in decision making, and in training new agents.
The use of workforce management (WFM) can go beyond planning shifts and managing the availability of agents. Modern WFM practices can monitor the contact center in real-time and can highlight potential problems to the business as an issue is developing.
With access to all the technology, tools, and data flows in the contact center, there are several areas where WFM can help:
Be one of the first to Locate problems in different areas of the business
See changes in customer behavior in real-time
Monitor channel preferences and changes in customer behavior and demographics
Support internal departments such as IT or marketing that can impact average handle time and/or changes in customer contacts and overall demand
By using best-in-class WFM practices you can move beyond just planning for the contact center and can monitor and influence the entire customer journey - every touchpoint with the customer.
Often the issue is awareness. The marketing team may plan campaigns in their own silo without informing customer service when a promotion is about to be launched. Your WFM department helps other departments function in a more coordinated way so all business units can benefit and help each other achieve their business goals.
Marketing is a good example of how improved coordination using WFM can truly help a business perform better. Knowledge of customer demand curves can feed into decisions on when to run promotions - so the contact center is always ready for a boost in customer engagement at a time preferable to both the staffing curve and customer demand. This directly impacts the efficiency of the marketing spend and how outcomes can be improved (WFM has all of the data to see impact that marketing has on the volumes) - all the departments win when they enhance coordination.
WFM can also dramatically improve the employee experience and employee satisfaction, especially when the agents on the front-line are included in developing the processes that influence their overall satisfaction. For example, creating and managing different types of shift patterns and schedules, approving time off, schedule swaps and so on impact employee happiness.
Managing these employee processes where the employees are more like customers, rather than subordinates, gives more control to the individual and increases employee/customer satisfaction.
Great coordination between your internal teams helps to improve business decisions. If you are projecting into the future to plan present-day decisions, then it helps to have really detailed insight into customer purchases, preferences, and behavior.
On the flip side, poorly run WFM departments can have severe consequences. It can increase your cost to service and have many leads to downstream impacts, such as a poor customer experience, a reduction in sales and marketing effectiveness, decreased employee satisfaction and increased employee attrition.
It doesn’t need to be like this! The true benefits of best-in-class WFM practices can be achieved by any organization that takes the time to consider just how extremely valuable building partnerships across disparate business units can be.
For more information on SKWeston & Co and our contact center consulting and other professional services - including WFM design - please follow our company page on LinkedIn or visit our website. You can reach me directly here.