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Workforce Management Solutions Face Growing Opportunity

 
October 16, 2008



Workforce management is one area within the contact center industry that often promises great results but can fail to deliver upon implementation. This gap between perceived expectations and reality is not created as a result of inferior products, but rather a lack of understanding within the contact center as how to fit the workforce management solution to the specific needs of the center.

 
The market for workforce management solutions is expected to reach more than $522 million by 2010, according to predictions by Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert). Research conducted by Workforce Planning Professionals has identified that 90 percent of call centers have a workforce management system in place, yet an ICMI survey found that such systems in the multi-channel environment were more challenging than in a traditional call center. 

What this research tells us is that the majority of contact centers have identified workforce management as an important tool for the optimal performance of the call center, yet certain challenges have not been overcome.

As more contact centers transition to multi-channel interaction centers, it is critical that these contact center managers understand the challenges within the center that workforce management systems are designed to overcome.

Many of these contact centers have also made the move toward profit centers, implementing sales processes into the current customer service environment. In doing so, this creates additional challenges for the contact center and its agents.

For those working in the retail industry, the greatest obstacle to ultimate performance is meeting customer expectations for service delivery during peak volume times – such as the holiday season.

Workbrain Corporation surveyed the retail division and found that workforce management is a key element of improving customer service and increasing sales. As the former often impacts the latter, the correlation between the two can greatly impact the ability to increase workforce management solution implementations into retail environments.

Of those surveyed, 71.4 percent agreed or strongly agreed that a total workforce management solution would positively influence their customer service levels during the holiday season. Another 48.6 percent reported that improved sales figures proved to be the top benefit of a total workforce management solution.

DMG Consulting has reported that its research findings support an industry move from traditional customer service operations to multi-channel profit centers. As more contact centers move toward a sales focus, the demand for solutions that can help drive efficiency in performance will grow. For those marketing workforce management solutions, the opportunity is now.

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 Michelle Robart