6 Signs It’s Time to Replace Spreadsheet Schedules with a Workforce Management Tool

Let’s face it. Spreadsheets were made to manage numbers, not to manage people. For scheduling and managing the complexities of a high-demand agent workforce, spreadsheets do not cut it. In fact, they can be a detriment to the effective operations of your contact center.

If you’re struggling with forecasting, scheduling, and monitoring your workforce in real-time, your contact center is not alone. Playvox Workforce Management has helped countless contact centers around the world modernize their workstreams, eliminate staffing headaches, and optimize workforces. And spreadsheets simply can’t accomplish all of that.

How can you tell when it’s time to sunset the spreadsheets for an innovative, cloud-based workforce management solution? Let’s dive in. 

Six signs your contact center should replace spreadsheets with a workforce management solution:

1. Difficulty with Schedule Adherence 

One big downfall of spreadsheets for WFM? It’s impossible to keep up with all of the manual updates. There is no easy way to keep track of agents adhering to schedules. Schedule adherence is defined as the amount of time an agent works that coincides with the time they are scheduled to work, including call time, after-contact work, and activities like meetings and training.

Adherence is a big part of call center performance, because low adherence rates may lead to poor customer service. For an exceptional customer experience, your contact center needs agents ready to serve customers. Spreadsheets just can’t track how your agents are adhering to their schedule like a workforce management tool can.

2. Poor Line of Sight to Operations

With spreadsheet schedules, you have no easy way to stay on top of what is happening within your campaigns and across communication channels. A limited view means limited opportunities to anticipate (and get ahead of!) organization-wide challenges. 

Managing specific service level agreements within your operation is nearly impossible using spreadsheets as you do not have visibility to how fluctuations in contact volumes are impacting your ability to meet these obligations. Using a workforce management system allows you to set these variables and have the intelligence of the system balance the needs of your requirements. 

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3. You’re Overstaffed

If you’re encountering problems with contact center staffing, that’s a sign your call center can benefit from a workforce management solution. Overstaffing occurs as a result of an inability to manage changes in demand. To compensate, you may staff up to ensure you have enough contact center agents . . . even when you don’t need them! 

Overstaffing hurts your ROI, and spreadsheets don’t have the functionality to account for staffing overages. Does your organization need to do more with less and embrace lean operations? Investing in workforce management tools can make a big impact on the bottom line.

Related Article: WFM from A to Z: Must-Know Contact Center Terms

4. Difficulty Handling Concurrent Interactions

Omnichannel customer experiences are the norm in today’s contact centers. But spreadsheets aren’t equipped to schedule agents based on how many concurrent chats they can handle. The result? Inaccurate forecasting. 

Playvox Workforce Management has the ability to account for concurrent interactions across multiple channels, unlike spreadsheets and most other products on the market. Forecasting contact volumes becomes simple with a WFM tool. 

5. Difficulty Scheduling Across Multiple Locations

If you’re struggling to consolidate schedules in a centralized location, a workforce management solution may be your answer. Spreadsheets limit an organization’s ability to schedule across multiple contact center locations, and don’t empower contact centers to scale.

Spreadsheets also can’t stand up to the challenges of scheduling a hybrid contact center workforce. But workforce management tools, in contrast, have the functionality to coordinate complex schedules across a wide variety of locations. 

Centralizing your contact center’s scheduling not only allows you to gain efficiencies on how to create the best staffing plans, but it also enables you to see how each location can assist with handling interactions from other areas during peak times.

Related Article: 12 Signs Your Contact Center Needs a WEM Solution

6. Shift Swaps Get Messy

When agents want to swap a shift or take a day off, do you struggle to identify who is available to cover and manually handle the changes? Then it’s time to shift out of spreadsheets and into a workforce management solution. 

The right workforce management tool allows you to decide if certain schedule impacts or changes should be approved automatically, while also giving you a clear view into adherence issues. That allows you to act on what’s really important and automate the rest.

In terms of staffing, a workforce management solution enables you to create a schedule that meets fluctuations in demand and identify new shift opportunities. These could include staggered start times, shorter shifts that cover specific timeframes, and best windows for breaks and agent training.

Having one place to review your contact center’s scheduling plans and drilling into specific locations or teams can provide you with the insight you need to enhance your scheduling practices. Workforce management software enables you to schedule the right agents with the right skills at the right times for each of your locations. 

Let’s see a spreadsheet do all of that.

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Bonus Tool

Use this decision framework from DMG Consulting to determine if it’s time to purchase a workforce management tool for your call center or upgrade what you already have.

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