The agents that fill the seats at your contact center are the lifeblood of your operation. Without them, your company could not function.
However, just because they are vitally important does not mean you should let your agents dictate every aspect of their workdays. Rather, top-performing call center agents are those who receive proper direction, instruction, and correction when necessary. All of this comes from proper workforce management.
Here, we’ll show you what great workforce management looks like, what it can do for your center, and how to get it if you feel like it is something your facility lacks. By the time you finish reading this, you’ll be ready to properly manage your staff - and be ready to guide your employees to greatness!
First: What is Workforce Management and Why Is It Important?
When most people hear the term “workforce management”, they think of scheduling. However, good workforce management is so much more than just knowing who to schedule at what time to keep things running smoothly.
Taken together, workforce management is every process your center uses to increase efficiency and enhance productivity. While that probably sounds vague, it’s because almost anything can be part of your workforce management approach as long as it is helping your agents do their jobs more effectively. No two teams are alike and neither are any two managers, so the practices and techniques that work for each individual and group will differ widely.
We’ve already addressed that your call center agents are the backbone of your center. Because of that, whatever you use to manage your workforce is important because it is the blueprint to your company’s unique brand of success.
What Can Good Workforce Management Do for You?
There are numerous benefits to a solid management plan for your workforce. Just a few reasons to invest time and focus into this aspect of leadership include:
- Maintaining lower operational costs
- Reduce agent turnover
- Streamline operations
- Increase employee satisfaction
- Decrease consumer churn
- Improve customer experience
With so many advantages, it’s easy to see why managers spend so much time and energy creating and perfecting their workforce management strategies.
Creating a Management Plan Driven by Data
The best plans are always those that are backed up by hard and fast facts. When you can rely on real information, you can better plan for the unknowable future. This is why so many management teams love to call forecasting into play when it comes to creating their workforce management strategies.
To ensure that you’re appropriating the right amount of manpower to the right tasks, you will first need to observe trends in your contact center’s workload over time. This doesn’t have to mean months of sitting idly by and waiting. As many as a few hours can give you a starting point. Days or weeks are an even better picture, and historical data from longer periods will help round out the image you’re creating of how much work agents typically handle, how, and when.
Take note of specific details and metrics, such as:
- Number of calls per hour during specific windows
- Average handling time
- Average agent talk time
- First call resolution or closed deals
These statistics will help you understand how your agents are already working and what kind of customer interaction you can expect at various times, so you can plan for greater success for them in the future. This type of planning - also known as forecasting - is one of the key components in creating the best possible plan for managing your workforce in the days ahead.
Scheduling isn’t Everything - But It is Still a Thing
While scheduling isn’t the only key factor in workforce management, it is still a major component. After all, getting your agents into the seats and onto the phone lines is the biggest part of making sure that they are serving customers or connecting with clients.
Worried that your current scheduling method needs work? Use the forecasting discussed previously to give it an overhaul. By observing the data that is already readily available to your management team members, plans can be made to staff appropriately based on the average number of calls coming in during certain periods, the typical agent engagement rate, and how well previous arrangements have worked. All of this historical data can make scheduling easier - and life a little less stressful for managers.
Give Your Agents a Little More of What They Want
Another aspect of top-quality workforce management is finding a balance between granting the wishes of agents and meeting the needs of the contact center as a whole. While your agents may want more time off, your center needs to be staffed. Your agents want more freedom and control over their work lives, but you need to ensure that goals are met.
Meet in the middle when possible. Offer work-from-home opportunities. Give agents opportunities to make their own schedules as a reward for great performance and attendance. It will give them more reason to out-perform both their peers and previous versions of themselves.
Bringing It All Together with Technology
Want to ensure that your workforce management plans are working? Time to go back to the observation deck.
Not only should you be observing the overall efficiency and productivity of your workforce as a whole, but you should also be using software that allows you to observe the individual performance and schedule adherence of each agent. Why? Because when agents know they are responsible for their performance and attendance, they are more likely to show up, be on time, and put in a great day’s work. They are also more likely to strive for above-average performance than simply try to meet baseline goals. Isn’t that something you want for your facility?
For more information on the tools and technology you need to succeed in creating and deploying your workforce management plans, talk to the experts at ChaseData. We have everything you need, from planning tools to monitoring software and more. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can assist you in meeting your goals and managing your workforce.