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The Benefits of Workforce Optimization in the Call Center

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What is Workforce Optimization?

Workforce Optimization, often referred to as WFO, is a powerful suite of products for managing the call and contact center workforce to deliver outstanding customer satisfaction while simultaneously lowering operating costs. These core WFO applications are generally considered to be:

  • Workforce Management (WFM) – which forecasts customer contact volumes and creates agent schedules to meet that need.
  • Quality Management (QM) – which evaluates agent performance against standards by scoring captured interactions and help agents to achieve their goals.
  • Interaction Analytics – which uses AI technology to analyze captured customer interactions to surface valuable insights.
  • Performance Management – which uses metrics and KPIs to monitor performance and provide timely feedback, so agents know how they are doing in real time.

In 2016 Gartner introduced a related concept called Workforce Engagement Management, also known as WEM. This also includes the core WFO applications with additional applications designed to increase agent engagement. WEM is growing in popularity, yet it is often used interchangeably with WFO. Since workforce optimization is a subset of workforce engagement management, we will continue to focus specifically on WFO for the rest of this article.

Workforce optimization delivers substantial benefits to the call center as a business, both strategically and operationally:

WFO Strategy and Benefits:

  • Improve service quality and consistency by pinpointing where agents do well or need help.
  • Reduce customer effort by identifying operational processes or agent behaviors that cause excessive effort.
  • Eliminating repeat engagement by detecting when and why customers contact the center more than once to resolve issues.

Operational Benefits:

  • Lower operating costs by identifying and eliminating unproductive agent behaviors.
  • Reduced process lag by discovering inefficient processes or ones that may be unnecessary.
  • Boost revenue by isolating instances where agent actions result in lost revenue opportunities.

In addition to these overall business benefits, there are specific benefits to agents and supervisors.

Benefits for Agents:

  • Reduced stress – when staffing plans don’t align well with actual engagement volumes, staffing plans can be created to closely align with expected volumes, which can then monitor results during the day to ensure more accurate forecasted volumes. This results in smoother daily operations and lower stress levels.
  • Balanced performance evaluation – WFO also provides an effective evaluation method to select agent interactions and accurately reflect performance. This ensures that evaluators are uniform with their assessments and boosts agent confidence.
  • Increased engagement – key customer information is easily accessible for agents to have the capability to manage their workload, which allows them to feel more engaged and empowered with their work.

Benefits for Supervisors:

  • Increased team visibility – supervisors can monitor team performance and facilitate communications to their team in real-time. This allows supervisors to be in constant touch with their team’s performance and reach out if help is needed.
  • Improved coaching effectiveness – building on increased team visibility, supervisors are given detailed insight into individual and team performance. This lets them understand exactly where individuals do well and need improvement, which improves the opportunity for more targeted, effective coaching.

About the Author

For more than 18 years, Brian Spraetz has been helping customer service operations perform at peak levels and deliver loyalty-winning experiences. In addition to his positions in product marketing, Brian has had roles in product development and product management. With expertise spanning the full range of customer engagement solutions, Brian provides unique perspectives and valuable insights on effectively combining technology and processes to gain operational and competitive advantages.

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