Many contact centers have seen an increase in volume, as well as an increase in remote employees. These two factors have made an effective workforce management (WFM) strategy indispensable to any contact center. Especially since agents account for about 75% of contact center costs, the appropriate WFM solution can both reduce operating costs and increase efficiencies and productivity.

Due to the advent of cloud-based contact center technology, as well as advanced analytics, multichannel/omnichannel communications and more flexible working, cloud based WFM solutions have increased in popularity.  All these factors influence what aspects of WFM solutions are most important.

With so many agents working remotely now, flexible planning and scheduling can be very helpful. Being able to offer non-traditional shifts, such as split shifts (within a single day), micro shifts (around hour-long shifts, usually during peak hours) or even just much later or earlier shifts than usual can help both agents and management. It allows agents to work when they are most productive and allows managers to schedule more precisely according to call volume.

New WFM solutions should also be capable of handling new channels, especially regarding customer expectations for service level. Future solutions may be able to use analytics to predict which interactions and customers may need more than one channel and be able to forecast and schedule accordingly. Omnichannel forecasting and scheduling is already important, with businesses of all sizes struggling to allocate agents and effort appropriately. A flexible approach to scheduling will be useful, especially if it includes the ability to move agents between channels in real time.

Predictive analytics will also be useful to carry out “what-if” scenario planning. This will allow contact centers to model new scenarios and predict the best course of action for many different situations. This will allow your center to prepare for unusual circumstances, such as very high absence rates or call volume. It could also result in much more efficient planning and scheduling based on past data.

Lastly, you cannot forget your contact center agents. A WFM solution with a user-friendly mobile app can be incredibly valuable. Allowing agents to access their schedules, swap shifts, request vacation time and adjust break times through their phone will empower your agents and increase associate value. In addition, this will promote trust in your organization and protect performance simultaneously. Tools that allow management to send reminders about breaks and shifts can also improve adherence in real time. Empowering agents with easy access to training can also help the overall call center by allowing agents to take responsibility for their own performance and education.

Find more information in ContactBabel’s The Inner Circle Guide to Contact Centre Remote Working Solutions.