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Improve Contact Center Efficiency with Workforce Management

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Discuss the importance of workforce management.
  • Explain the importance of skills-based routing technology.
  • Explain how data can help you optimize contact center capacity.

The Importance of Workforce Management

Today’s contact center is often distributed across large geographic areas and comprises remote and local agents. This situation often creates scheduling challenges for managers. What happens if all of your remote agents take a lunch break at the same time as the agents in the contact center? How should you keep track of vacation times for agents at busy times? In this unit, we discuss the benefits of workforce management (WFM) in maximizing efficiency and predicting customer demands on your contact center. Workforce management tools automate scheduling across time zones and allow contact center managers to ensure that staffing levels are consistent and hold times remain as short as possible. Workforce management helps you maximize productivity for your agents and meet service level agreements (SLAs) for your customers. 

Predict Customer Demand

Using guesswork to predict customer demand can leave your contact center understaffed, and that’s never a good thing. You can use tracking statistics with historical data to help determine your staffing needs. Using tracking statistics, you can review the number of calls received on a particular day, the average customer wait time, the number of abandoned calls, and a variety of other customer and agent information to help you staff up appropriately.

For example, if the tracking data shows that your contact center received twice as many calls every Wednesday for the last 9 months compared to Tuesday or Thursday, you can use this historical data to schedule extra agents on Wednesdays. Tracking data also helps you fine-tune the number of agents needed if calls increase or decrease throughout the day. 

Occasionally, there may be things happening in the near future that historical data can’t predict. Complement tracking statistics with some research of your own before making final decisions. An understanding of the way activities across the company can affect the number of customers reaching out and overall customer experience can help you plan. When there’s an issue with a product release, for instance, contact centers need to be ready for a surge in calls. Even something that seems small—like a minor product flaw—can create unexpected spikes in demand. Communicating with other departments prepares you for any possible impacts on the contact center.

Understand Skills-Based Routing

If you feel confident that your contact center is staffed with highly skilled agents, now can be a great time to deepen the customer experience by matching customers to the right agents. You can do this using skills-based routing. Skills-based routing is a technology that routes customers to agents based on predefined agent skills, rather than just assigning calls to the next available agent. For example, if a customer needs help with a specific application, skills-based routing sends that customer to an agent with expertise in that specific application.

Skills-based routing is applied across all channels of a contact center, including voice, email, chat, and social media. Skills-based routing means an agent is more likely to quickly troubleshoot and resolve the issue the first time a customer reaches out.

Conclusion

You’ve learned how to use skills-based routing to improve customer satisfaction and optimize your agent capacity using contact center data and input from the rest of your organization. These are all important steps, but there’s still more to consider when you’re fine-tuning contact center operations. In the next unit, we discuss the different types of agents, the danger of applying the wrong metrics, and how work climates affect collaboration in the contact center.