workforce management

Workforce Management Automation & Your Contact Centre

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Contact centres that are stuck in archaic organizational practices may not be reaping the benefits that a streamlined, automated system can provide.

We take for granted many things in the contact centre infrastructure. Being put on hold, interacting with agents on the phone and basic organizational structure all seem like reasonable practices, but the truth is that sticking to these outdated structures may be limiting the success of your organization.

As with the other technological advances in the contact centre industry, innovations in WFM are offering greater capabilities to keep pace with the demands of complex multi-channel operations.

It can be tricky to measure the success of these practices, as by their nature, they can be intangible and create an impact that is typically only measurable over time. But even though their impact is not immediately apparent, dedicated workforce management systems are an essential part of achieving the best return on your investments.

Multi-Channel Support

Basic spreadsheet tracking has become outdated, giving way to more advanced metric tracking systems that are able to display and analyze patterns while working across multiple channels. This is a critical function of new management systems, as traditional communication channels are slowly losing ground with a multitude of others springing up.

Instead of sticking only to telephone outreach, new channels of communication are being integrated into WFM systems, including faxes, e-mails and outbound calls. Social media and other Internet platforms are on the rise as well. In a 2014 study, Pew Research indicated that 52 percent of online adults use at least two social media platforms, a far cry from the early days of contact centre infrastructure when a landline phone was the only method of connection.

Clearly, contact centres looking to stay ahead of the curve need to be implementing practices based around a variety of different outreach channels.

The Human Touch

The lack of automation in current infrastructure may be because the benefits of a streamlined WFM system aren’t well understood. Customer service depends on a human connection, and over reliance on automated systems may seem counterintuitive for centres trying to customize their customer experience.

The human element is essential to good customer service, but not all metrics measured by WFM systems involve robotic statistics and data. These systems can also help streamline the productivity of a centre by measuring several human-based analytics that can affect efficiency:

  • Shrinkage – metric related to staffing that varies based on absent employees, illness or tardiness that requires overstaffing to accommodate
  • Adherence – the accountability of agents to perform a given task in a set amount of time
  • Conformance – related to adherence, the productivity of an agent is measured by comparing the amount of time taken to complete a task against the amount of time they are allotted
  • Customer satisfaction – the percentage of customers who report positive experiences with the contact centre and metrics concerning who would consider doing business with them further

These are called Key Performance Indicators (KPI), and are used to measure the influence and success of the business operations they are attached to. Here, measuring the impact of employee productivity and customer satisfaction can give an idea of how effectively workers are integrating with the company’s goals.

While customer service support is generally improved when human interactions are prioritized, there are several other measurable metrics that can demonstrate the impact that optimized WFM can have on the success of an operation.

Indicators of Success

In a 2012 survey of 5,000 data centers regarding KPI’s, the biggest priority for measuring analytics concerned eliminating redundancies and increasing overall centre capabilities. These goals are critical for contact centres trying to get a leg up on the competition and staying at the head of their industry.

  • Service level – one of the most commonly used metrics of success, measures the percentage of callers that receive service in a set amount of time
  • Forecast accuracy – the ability of teams to synthesize data to predict times of heavy demand and what resources will be required
  • Schedule accuracy/efficiency – reliability of the team to create effective schedules based on the forecast
  • Average handle time – metric used to measure the length of time a customer is kept on the phone, from beginning to end

These metrics come from measurable data taken from contact centre operations. By using these analytics, contact centres can see where their weak points are and where they can leverage their resources to the best benefit.

Workforce management is a key tool in this situation, as many analytics can be optimized with automation. By using streamlined systems that increase employee effectiveness, decrease redundancy and keep track of successful practices, contact centres can find new levels of efficiency that keep them on top of their game. To learn more about the benefits of automated management systems, check out our free white paper!

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