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Workforce management

Workforce Management in Call Centers — a Trend or Necessity?

9 min read

April 9, 2024

Workforce Management in Call Centers — a Trend or Necessity?

It seems impossible nowadays that customers can’t reach any company by phone or text messages. They have questions, complaints, and issues, and often, the most accessible means of communication is their smartphones. That’s why companies launch call centers and hire special personnel to address any client’s issues and/or answer any questions.

From the customer's perspective, the ideal call center looks like this:

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Each point mentioned above requires a larger number of agents and additional resources. It results in increasing financial costs. While ideal service is achievable, the realized effect often does not justify the significant personnel and infrastructure maintenance expenses.

Workforce Management helps balance service quality and expenses for its maintenance. With WFM, businesses plan work schedules and optimize contact center operations. It means that in the contact center, the optimal number of employees with necessary skills and knowledge works.

A toll-free number

Presence in messengers

24/7 availability

Live operators answering immediately

Issue solving within a minute

A WFM solution uses historical data and machine learning to predict future personnel requisition. It then creates schedules that fit the forecasted model and automatically tracks employee time and attendance.

How Does Workforce Management Work?

The main functions of workforce management include the following:

Forecasting customer interaction volume

The first and foremost WFM system feature is to predict workload within a specific time frame. The workload in a call center is nonlinear, complicating the task of generating accurate forecasts. WFM systems enable historical call center data analysis, trend identification, and forecast creation, considering confidence intervals. The importance of high forecast accuracy is constantly increasing: without it, the contact center cannot adequately plan schedules that meet business expectations and requirements.

What Forecast Approaches Do Contact Centers typically use?

The importance of high forecast accuracy is constantly increasing: without it, the contact center cannot adequately plan schedules that meet business expectations and requirements.

Creating optimized agent schedules

Advanced workforce management systems offer another critical function — resource planning. WFM systems analyze numerous shift variations to find the optimal schedule, selecting the best working scheme, start times, and optimal breaks. Handling such data and variations manually is impractical.

Assigning schedules based on agents’ preferences and business rules

When we know how many people are needed to handle each time period throughout the day, we can move on to shift scheduling. When designing shifts, attention must be paid to ergonomics for both the company and the employees.

Shift Options in Call Centers

The key is to plan convenient schedules for the contact center and its staff. Once this is achieved, we can consider ways to maximize efficiency.

Time tracking and absence management

Control is an integral part of WFM systems, as only strict adherence to work schedules by employees will allow for achieving the planned results. That’s why after generating a forecast and scheduling agents’ work, managers have to monitor that employees adhere to their daily plans.

These functions enable real-time monitoring of the call center, allowing adjustments to workload, tracking absent operators, and reshuffling employee schedules based on new conditions. WFM software can reorganize operators' breaks within the day, ensuring unforeseen changes in workload don't catch you off guard.

Managing intraday activity

Analyzing performance

The analytics feature of a workforce management system allows businesses to delve deeper into their call center operations. First, the WFM solution analyzes historical data and trends. Second, it also provides data on the following metrics:

Workforce management

These insights inform strategic decision-making and drive continuous improvement initiatives.

Agent performance

Customer interaction quality

Overall efficiency

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Implement Workforce Management for Improved Performance and Enhanced Results

Implementing WFM Software in Call Centers: Our Customer’s Success Story

Working with one of the telecommunication industry leaders on an Omnichannel Cloud Contact Center for the Supervisor's workstation, the byVoice team also developed and implemented the Workforce management feature. This functionality provides analytical data to manage employees' work schedules. It also helps monitor adherence in real time and notifies in case of schedule violations.

Let’s have a detailed look at some of the solution functions:

Work schedule

On the "Work Schedule" tab, you can:

Set start and end times

Plan workdays, vacations, training days, and administrative work

Specify the number, duration, and frequency of breaks

Monitor the current situation regarding employees and more

This function offers two options for viewing employee work reports —  schedule and detailed view.

Work schedule

Workload planning

This tab allows managers to pre-set schedule templates, quickly configure employee work schedules, and visualize them applying "correction factors".

Workload planning

Shift-swapping

Not everything goes as planned all the time. Employees may fall ill or take days off for family reasons. The "Shift-swapping" tab ensures that you promptly replace an absent employee with another agent.

Shift-swapping

Reports

With this tab, the customer monitors employees' punctuality in real time. This functionality was developed based on our customer’s requirements. If you want to create and implement a WFM tool into your cloud PBX / cloud contact center or call center, our experts will analyze your company’s business goals and needs and offer you an optimal set of features.

Reports
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Learn More About This Project and Its Results

Benefits of Workforce Management

Let's consider them from two perspectives — Cloud PBX / Cloud Contact Center providers and their customers.

How you can benefit from WFM

How your customers can benefit from WFM

Enhanced value proposition

Integrating WFM into Cloud PBX/Contact Center services gives your customers advanced capabilities to optimize their workforce and improve operational efficiency.

Competitive advantage

This tool, included in a Cloud PBX/Contact Center system, distinguishes companies from their competitors and attracts businesses seeking comprehensive and efficient communication solutions.

Increased customer satisfaction

Due to better service quality and responsiveness provided by WFM tools, your customers can deliver improved communication experiences and client support.

Revenue growth

Cloud PBX/Contact Center providers can drive revenue growth, as satisfied customers will likely expand their usage or recommend the service to others as WFM systems help them operate more efficiently.

Retention and loyalty

Implementing WFM helps Cloud PBX/Contact Center providers build stronger customer relationships by meeting their evolving needs and ensuring consistent service delivery, fostering customer retention and loyalty.

Cost control

By integrating WFM with Cloud PBX/Contact Center services, your customers can effectively manage expenses by optimizing human resource allocation according to demand, minimizing unnecessary spending on staffing or downtime.

Productivity enhancement

WFM tools analyze workforce performance, find operational bottlenecks, and enhance productivity.

Intelligent scheduling

Contact centers can generate optimized schedules tailored to their unique requirements through WFM capabilities based on employee availability, skill sets, and projected call volumes.

Real-time adaptability

WFM enables your customers to promptly adjust staffing levels and schedules in response to changing demand or unforeseen circumstances, ensuring optimal resource allocation and seamless real-time service delivery.

Compliance and adherence

Due to monitoring and managing employee working hours and breaks, a WFM tool ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and internal policies.

How you can benefit from WFM

Enhanced value proposition

Integrating WFM into Cloud PBX/Contact Center services gives your customers advanced capabilities to optimize their workforce and improve operational efficiency.

Competitive advantage

This tool, included in a Cloud PBX/Contact Center system, distinguishes companies from their competitors and attracts businesses seeking comprehensive and efficient communication solutions.

Increased customer satisfaction

Due to a WFM feature, your customers can offer better service quality and responsiveness, resulting in their customers' satisfaction as businesses deliver improved communication experiences and support.

Revenue growth

By enabling businesses to operate more efficiently and effectively through WFM, Cloud PBX/Contact Center providers can drive revenue growth, as satisfied customers will likely expand their usage or recommend the service to others.

Retention and loyalty

Implementing WFM helps Cloud PBX/Contact Center providers build stronger customer relationships by meeting their evolving needs and ensuring consistent service delivery, fostering customer retention and loyalty.

As shown above, most call centers use Excel spreadsheets for their workforce management, utilizing an Erlang formula to determine the number of staff needed to meet a given service level for a set number of calls. That is a reasonable approach, but there is one tricky thing: the Erlang algorithm was invented over 100 years ago.

A New Age, an Old Approaches

What does it mean for contact centers? There are major shortcomings, for example:

Limited to assumed steady call rate

Zero-abandonment rate assumption

Excludes blocking consideration

Single-skilled agent focus

Contact priority not factored

Single-channel interaction focus

Overstaffing occurrence

Can a WFM tool address these challenges? Yes, but for this purpose, it must include some key functions.

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Transform Your Business with Streamlined Operations and Increased Productivity

How to Choose the Best Contact Center WFM Software

Here are eight key features your workload distribution system should possess:

Labor forecasting predicts future staffing needs based on historical data, trends, and anticipated demand and allows managers to allocate resources to meet workload requirements efficiently.

Scheduling generates optimized employee schedules considering factors like availability, skills, and workload demand to ensure adequate coverage while minimizing overstaffing or understaffing situations.

Intraday management helps managers adjust agents' schedules in real time.

Performance tracking monitors the following metrics: call handling times, service levels, customer satisfaction, etc.

Integration ensures smooth data flow and comprehensive workforce management through WFM integration with other systems and tools.

Reporting and analytics provide detailed insights and customizable reports on workforce performance, scheduling efficiency, and workload trends, facilitating informed decision-making and continuous process improvement.

Scenario planning and What-If analysis enable the simulation of various scenarios and hypothetical situations to assess their potential impact on workforce operations, aiding in strategic planning and risk mitigation.

Mobile access allows managers and employees to access WFM functionalities anywhere and anytime.

Streamline Your Call Center with byVoice

Workforce Management is a comprehensive solution to the complexities faced by call centers, encompassing various aspects such as forecasting, scheduling, performance tracking, and real-time adaptability.

With innovative technologies, byVoice helps organizations optimize workforce management, streamline processes, and enhance efficiency. Contact us to develop and implement this tool in your processes.

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Article Author

Alex Gurianov

CTO, System Architect

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