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Workforce Management Not Reaching its Potential in the Contact Center

 
February 04, 2008



Workforce management is one of the best tools that the contact center can use to properly manage its volume, employees and production. The challenge for those organizations that develop and market workforce management solutions, this software is also often the most underused application in the contact center.


According to the Workforce Management Practices Study, endorsed by the Society of Workforce Planning Professionals (News - Alert) (SWPP), the penetration of licensed workforce management software to support the scheduling function is at a high of 88 percent.

Another 52 percent do not use licensed workforce management software to support performance reporting and 25 percent do not use licensed workforce management software to support forecasting.

Accessibility metrics were given greater emphasis by respondents than efficiency and workforce management effectiveness metrics. Using the performance metrics provided, the research team was unable to create an effective balances scorecard for 34 percent of the respondents.

When considering scheduling, 62 percent of respondents post new schedules at least every month, while the remaining 38 percent post new schedules as necessary.

The study also found that there is significant opportunity for improvements in both the workforce management process (as 37 percent were not satisfied) and with workforce management software (with 41 percent not satisfied) exists.

In another study, SWPP found that 90 percent of call centers have a workforce management system in place. The favorite features cited by these centers include intraday forecasting and performance capabilities, as well as real-time adherence modules and ease of use/maintenance/administration.

Despite this large number of users, these call centers still fail to maximize the total benefits of these systems. Most call centers instead use specific applications within the systems, instead of fully integrating the system throughout the call center. One of the challenges for these centers could be the progression from traditional call centers to multichannel contact centers.

ICMI also studied workforce management within the call center and found that 66.6 percent of respondents indicated that workforce management in the multichannel environment was more challenging than in the traditional call center. Another 44.1 percent found it to be somewhat more challenging and 22.5 percent found it much more challenging.

Interestingly, Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) anticipates that the workforce management market will more than double by 2010. As call centers are increasingly becoming multichannel contact centers, vendors will need to figure out a way to ease the full integration of the systems into the centers. Unless this is effectively accomplished, Frost & Sullivan may have to adjust their forecast.

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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.

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