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The Contact Center Workforce Manager Skills Series

Part 2: Skills for Creating Optimized Schedules

"Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers."

This quote from Stephen R. Covey, business author and successful entrepreneur, is not just for executives to internalize. It also applies to workforce managers.

Workforce managers determine how many staff are assigned to a shift and which employee takes which specific shift. Their scheduling decisions, therefore, can have a huge impact on employee satisfaction. If they schedule too few agents for a shift, agents will become overloaded and stressed. Customers will notice this immediately. They have to wait longer until they are connected to an agent and then often have to deal with a stressed agent who has no time to answer all questions in detail.

Moreover, if workforce managers take little or no consideration of agents' preferences when planning shifts, agents may be less satisfied and be less motivated to perform well and provide good customer service. So when it comes to creating shift plans, workforce managers have a big responsibility.

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The Contact Center Workforce Manager Skill Set for Forecasting

Part 1: Workload Forecasting Skills

In contact centers today, roughly 65% to 75% of the total operating cost is consumed through paying  the frontline staff. For that reason, the biggest opportunity for contact centers to manage or reduce cost is to optimize the utilization of their frontline workforce. To do this, most contact centers today have a workforce manager or an entire workforce management (WFM) department.

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The State of WFM in 2019. Where do you stand?

Workforce management in contact centers, with the aim of creating the best possible fit between the forecasted workload and the amount of employees scheduled, is constantly changing. With the advent of new support channels, the consequential shift in workload between channels, technological innovation and and a new generation at work, staffing departments need to constantly adjust to these new realities.

This constant change poses the question; where does the art of WFM stand in 2019? This question has occupied our sister company, injixo, for a while and they have undertaken thorough research to answer that exact question. With their support we are happy to be able to share some of the key findings from their research in this blog post.

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Five Essential Steps for Optimizing Your Workforce

Let's waste no time. The ultimate success and lasting sustainability of any contact center relies heavily on effective workforce planning and management.

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The Costs of Call Center Overstaffing and Understaffing

No call center is perfect when it comes to forecasting and scheduling. Even with advanced technology, statistics, and Workforce Management software there are too many uncertainties that impact the call center on an interval level. The goal of any forecaster or planner is to strive to be as accurate as possible in their forecast of requirements and scheduling their associates. Carelessness in doing so can result in heavy costs for the company. Although it may seem obvious how understaffing can negatively affect the call center, there’s a high cost in overstaffing as well.

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Steps of Workforce Management

Contact center staffing, commonly referred to as Workforce Management, is one of the most critical functions of planning and managing a call center. Since the majority of costs associated with the call center are attributable to personnel, it is imperative to get just the right number of staff in place. Overstaffing results in spending needless dollars, while understaffing results in poor service, over worked staff, and the risk of lost revenues.

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