The right WFM tools can mean the difference between a business that flourishes and one that flounders.
While it may sound like a bold claim, the truth is the benefits of workforce management are big, and they have far-reaching effects—not only inside contact centers, but throughout organizations and straight to the bottom line.
That’s because, in this economic climate of uncertainty—with mixed forecasts for what’s ahead—one reality consistently prevails: Customer experience matters. Greatly.
Every good CX leader knows that customer experience lives and dies in the customer support centers where it’s delivered every day. You know that to deliver the kind of CX required to thrive and reach critical business goals today—and tomorrow—means taking care of customers well, and doing it consistently.
In CX centers, where taking care of customers is Job 1, the implementation of a solution that goes beyond the limitations of a spreadsheet is the most effective and efficient way to improve operational performance and optimize customer experience.
What Is Workforce Management?
Workforce management, or WFM, is both an art and a science. It involves ensuring customer service centers always have the right number of agents available to handle an accurately forecasted volume of customer interactions. The ultimate goal of a workforce manager is to operate with employee schedules that meet customer demands, as well as the needs of agents, including on-site employees and a remote workforce.
Even with all its nuances, our Playox colleague Donna Lightfoot reminds us that workforce management is really quite simple, in theory. As she writes in a recent blog post, it’s all about supply meeting demand. Remember that supply and demand lesson you learned in high school?
In WFM, getting the necessary balance right comes down to asking a fundamental human resource management question: “Do you have enough supply (individual employees) to handle expected demand (incoming customer contact volume)?” And that has everything to do with an accurate forecast.
Related Article: What Is WFM (And How Does It Apply To Our Daily Lives)?
By maintaining that critical supply and demand balance, workforce management software and its key features boost operational efficiency and help you achieve the true potential of a productive workforce. That means the entire workforce, including remote workers and on-site agents.
Optimal workforce management software includes key features to efficiently automate and better manage:
- Employee scheduling
- Attendance tracking
- Time-off requests
- Time tracking
- Up-to-the-minute, real-time metrics
- Absence management
- Agent workloads
- Staffing levels
- Regulatory compliance with labor laws
- Compliance risks
How Workforce Management Software Tools Deliver Administrative And Labor Cost Savings
Workforce management software, with a suite of workforce management solutions, supports the day-to-day operations and daily tasks of your customer service team. This technology improves manual workforce management processes—like spreadsheets—and delivers direct cost savings, including administrative costs and labor costs.
The right WFM tools ensure workforce managers can control costs by not having too many or too few agents working at one time. Forecasting above or below actual staffing needs is problematic.
If customer support managers plan future staffing beyond what is necessary, it needlessly drives up labor costs—sometimes even dramatically. That’s bad news for not only your support center, but your organization’s bottom line. On the other hand, if you underestimate employee staffing needs and actual volume becomes more than agents can handle, the heavy costs likely come in the experience delivered, as well as agent satisfaction and retention.
Bad customer service experiences damage customer loyalty and increase customer churn. Those are hits that translate to real dollars for any organization.
When a call center isn’t staffed properly and the volume is beyond agent capacity, revenue and profitability are at risk for the entire business. It leads to higher administrative costs, a lack of operational compliance, and consistently poor customer service. That’s where workforce management systems become the linchpin in the overall success of a business, and its ability to thrive long-term.
Improving the operational efficiency of your customer service center is a major benefit of workforce management. Improved response times, decreased average handle times, and lower agent turnover are also expected outcomes when deploying a workforce management solution. These benefits all have measurable, positive effects on expenses, and, eventually, profitability.
The Benefits Of Effective Workforce Management Tools To Employee Experience
Even when experienced staff is scheduled and available to customers, outdated or ineffective workforce management systems can impede agent success and prevent them from delivering optimal customer experience. The most sophisticated and effective WFM—usually cloud-based solutions—provide an additional boon to customer experience by improving employee productivity and engagement with its key features.
Employee productivity and engagement are among the most important operating goals for customer service centers, and they are closely tied to employee experience. WFM helps improve employee performance and employee experience by offering flexibility in schedule preferences. Some WFM solutions include self-service options that empower agents to influence scheduling when appropriate.
The most effective WFM solutions prioritize employee self-service features for tasks such as scheduling requests, delivering what agents say they want most: flexibility, convenience, and agility. These solutions allow agents to access key workforce data, including schedules and real-time metrics, as well as the ability to conveniently take action related to their schedules within the same interfaces they use to serve customers.
When contact center leaders can leverage technology to meet agent needs, the result is a happier workforce, less churn, and better overall performance.
When Is The Right Time To Implement A WFM System?
Understanding your support center’s goals is the first step in determining when to implement the right WFM tool for your organization. As you consider solutions, think carefully about your workforce management objectives. This will help you now, as you evaluate and select options, but also later, when you measure success.
So, is now the time to up-level to meet your needs? Generally, if you’re struggling to improve and optimize any of the following in your contact center, it’s a good time to begin evaluating options for a robust WFM solution:
- Scheduling accuracy
- Forecasting capabilities
- Demand forecasting
- Real-time visibility
- Attendance tracking
- Absence management
- Resource management
- Employee engagement
- Agent performance
- Agent satisfaction
- Staff churn
- Cost control
Look for workforce management tools designed to make the most impact in as short a period of time as possible. Evaluate systems with AI-driven workforce forecasting, built-in scheduling optimization, monitoring, and additional key features such as intraday management reports, workforce adjustments, and on-the-fly optimization.
If deploying WFM feels like a daunting endeavor, consider adding modules one-by-one. This will help ensure you meet your goals by allowing for sufficient agent training and adoption of all key features.
How To Select The Right WFM Tools
The global Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) industry, which includes workforce management software, is expected to reach $19.8 billion by 2031, according to a report published by Allied Market Research (AMR). So, you will have plenty of vendor options for performance mangement.
Thoroughly researching your options is a critical part of the process. Start with customer reviews. Then, revisit your goals. What are your biggest hurdles to optimization? Inaccurate forecasting? Managing resources? Controlling costs? Find out what each vendor offers to address your challenges.
Use your research and evaluation process to become well educated on the next-generation features now available to increase productivity and efficiencies, many of which may be entirely new to you. Artificial intelligence, for example, has made giant leaps that enhance workforce management features.
Real-World Examples Of WFM Success With Playvox
Angi, a comprehensive home services platform with a network of over 200,000 pros, faced a multitude of challenges before integrating Playvox into its operations. With over 800 agents globally and reliance on Business Process Optimization Companies (BPOs), Angi struggled with a lack of insight into agent productivity and accountability. This resulted in soaring staffing costs, inconsistent customer experiences, and missed SLAs.
By implementing Playvox Workforce Management, Angi:
- Saved $213,120 in the first four months
- Boosted agent occupancy rates from 43% to 80%
- Doubled touches-per-hour from 2.5 to 5.5
- Improved SLA compliance from 70% to 90%
- Increased the percentage of agents handling a minimum of five tickets per hour from 20% to 60%
- Reduced costs by 30% per full-time employee with automated demand forecasting
With Playvox WFM, Angi now:
- Leverages real-time visibility into agent productivity metrics
- Holds BPOs accountable through robust reporting capabilities
- Optimizes resource allocation through accurate forecasting
- Seamlessly integrates with other productivity applications for additional insights
With all these benefits, Angi has realized a whopping $1M+ in cost savings. According to Angi’s Senior Director of CX Strategy and Operations Rob Lajeunesse, “Playvox has been integral in driving accountability with our BPOs and is operationally critical to running our agent operations.”
Afterpay, a financial technology company, chose Playvox WFM to optimize forecasting and staffing after its active user base doubled to 11 million, and it reached 40,000 retail partnerships, creating major support challenges. To maintain service-level goals, Afterpay needed visibility into agent performance and improved reporting.
Playvox helped Afterpay increase its customer support center productivity by nearly 30% while simultaneously improving its QA and CSAT scores.
Playvox’s workforce engagement management software leads the industry because of results like these. In fact, TrustRadius (the most trusted review site for business technology) recently recognized Playvox with its Top Rated Award for customer satisfaction ratings and an overall score of 9.1 out of 10.
How Playvox Can Help Level-up Your Performance With The Right WFM Tools
With the right WFM tools, you can:
- Predict future needs to optimize operations
- Schedule staff to meet current and future needs while improving customer and employee experience
- Operate more efficiently and decrease labor and operational costs
For your overall organization, that drives profit, customer loyalty, and employee happiness. Don’t let spreadsheets and manual internal processes hold you back. Start your search to find the best WFM solution for your customer support center.
It’s essential to choose wisely, so do the necessary research on all your options. You may find that complementary technologies, like quality management software, will deliver an even bigger win when combined with WFM. It may make sense to make the full investment now to realize the greatest return long-term.
Playvox WFM is a cloud-native solution built to manage across digital channels, with robust features for:
- AI-powered forecasting
- Smart, efficient, and flexible scheduling
- Real-time workforce monitoring
- Intraday management reporting
- Performance management
You can further optimize efficiency and experience when you combine Playvox WFM software with our quality management solution. Consider Playvox’s powerful combination as you research the best option to quickly meet your goals.
See A Demo Of The WFM Features That Matter Most to Your Contact Center
Schedule a customized demo today to discover how the advanced features of Playvox’s contact center workforce management software can help guide you to meet your goals, even surpass your expectations.