What Is Workforce Optimization (WFO)?

Workforce optimization, WFO, is a contact center business strategy and solution with the goal of optimizing employee performance to increase customer satisfaction, while decreasing operational costs. Although it has been a term used in the industry for quite some time, it has continued to evolve with rising customer expectations. This strategy also helps organizations in various ways depending on their goals. However, there are common key components that make up this type of a solution including quality management and call recording, workforce management, interaction analytics, and performance management.

Quality Management

Quality management is often considered one of, if not, the main core component of a workforce optimization solution. It is essential for contact centers to have the highest level of customer satisfaction and agent performance by providing agents with actionable feedback. This also ensures compliance requirements are met and are reviewed by an evaluator. These evaluation forms scored by them are based on specific behaviors, like an agent abiding to a compliance script at the beginning of a call. These evaluation scores make it easy to identify agent performance and serve as opportunities for agent coaching. Some solutions also offer automations, which reduces variability between different evaluators. These best-of-breed WFO solutions offer call center supervisors or managers virtual QM capabilities to assess the quality of their customer interactions in hybrid or remote work environments.

Workforce Management

The role of workforce management within a WFO solution continues to be extremely important. It helps to create exceptional customer experiences by providing consistent, high quality customer service. This is done by creating staffing plans for the right agent, with the right skillset, to be available in the right channel at the right time. It also provides interval-by-interval forecasts to determine how many agents are needed at a given time.

This component also helps to track agent schedule adherence. These solutions can not only compare interval results versus what was forecasted, but automatically create adjusted schedules, if there is a large gap.

Other solutions could also offer embedded functionality within an agent or supervisor's desktop environment. For supervisors, this embedded WFM functionality can gather CRM digital channel volume and handle times. This helps to create a more optimized staffing plan across all channels including voice and digital channels.

Interaction Analytics

Customers have the option to contact customer service from many channels. From a chatbot on a website, email, and a voice call, customers can reach a contact center in more ways than ever before. The challenge for contact center organizations is finding a way to aggregate all those customer interactions. With so many channels, there are many ways to lose valuable customer insights and data on how agents perform in those conversations.

This is where the need for a workforce optimization solution with interaction analytics comes in, which enables contact centers to capture all interactions with voice calls and, in some solutions, in digital channels. By doing so, this can help contact centers understand what their customers are saying and how their agents are responding. Fully indexed interactions are searchable, making it easy to identify common trends. If customers frequently call in with questions about their warranty, it allows you to dive into those conversations and use this data to better train agents on how to understand and respond to customers.

Performance Management

Workforce optimization solutions can offer performance management that provide contact centers the ability to maximize agent contributions to success. This creates a culture of transparency and high performance, while also providing supervisors detailed KPIs and metrics. Best-of-breed WFO solutions with performance management include real-time performance visibility, continuous historical trends and correlations, and automatic notifications when KPIs or SLAs change or drift.

Finally, some solutions combine performance management and gamification to increase agent productivity. Gamification uses challenges and games to create healthy competition. With rewards and payouts, it motivates agents while also instilling a culture of high performance and transparency. It is also known to help reinforce training and reduce agent attrition.

For more information about workforce optimization, check out Five9's WFO datasheet!

About The Author

Natalie Mackay specializes in product marketing, with a background in SaaS tech sales. She has experience in go-to-market product launches, content creation, demand generation, and sales enablement. Natalie focuses on solving real-world customer challenges by bringing valuable solutions to market with straight-forward product messaging and positioning.