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Tips for Building a Business Case for Workforce Management

 
December 28, 2011



Meeting staffing goals within the call center is nothing short of a challenge. Not only do you need to be sure you have the right agents with the right skills scheduled at the right time, you also have to account for breaks, coaching and anticipated call volumes. Without a robust workforce management solution in place, this challenge could drive your costs too high.


This Monet Software blog highlighted the fact that the overwhelming majority of consistent call center expenses are related to staffing – as much as 70 percent. As critical as it is to have the right people in place at the right time, it’s easy for costs to get out of hand as you’re simply trying to meet demand. A workforce management solution, however, provides you with the necessary scheduling tools, as well as complete visibility to minimize costs.

Your primary goal with any workforce management solution is to keep from over-staffing your call center, which results in needless spending for staff you don’t need, and under-staffing the call center, which leads to lower service levels, staff turnover increases and an impact on the bottom line. Before stressing about either scenario or jumping into the first workforce management solution you find, consider these two key questions:

  • Can my call center really afford to continue to rely on spreadsheets for forecasting and scheduling?
  • Does workforce management software really provide measurable improvements that can generate the savings I need that will exceed the cost of the solution?

To gain the right answers to your questions and identify the right workforce management solution, consider the three things that must change in order to justify the investment in a workforce management platform.

First, you need to be able to realize more efficient scheduling and agent usage. The savings possible include a reduction in overall staff hours and the elimination of required overtime. Call centers using robust workforce management solutions can easily identify over-staffing and can generate a 2 percent reduction for overall staff hours, with an average potential savings of up to 10 percent.

Second, your workforce management solution should be able to automate your scheduling tasks. Manual scheduling activities take way too much time away from the supervisor or manager, time that could be spent coaching. When a workforce management solution is put in place, at least 25 percent of the time that is currently devoted to manual input can be saved and used for training and coaching.

Finally, your call center should experience improved schedule adherence. Without clear scheduling in place, a number of work hours are wasted due to an abundance of non-productive interruptions. With a workforce management solution, you’ll have access to historical and real-time information on adherence and exceptions to gain better management and control of your staff activities, thereby reducing shrinkage.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Chris DiMarco

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