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The Need to Modernize Workforce Optimization

May 24, 2017

Earlier this week, the International Customer Management Institute released the 2017 version of their report “The State of Workforce Management,” in conjunction with NICE. The study highlighted the growing gap between the potential uses of workforce optimization and ways in which it is actually being deployed. The study made it clear that, while there are many ways that workforce optimization tools can be deployed to help resolve inefficiencies in contact centers, the fact of the matter is that many businesses are failing to use them correctly. Businesses should use this study as a wake-up call to examine their own workforce management techniques and improve upon them.

Despite the wealth of next generation workforce management solutions that exist, many contact centers are still stuck in the past. The report indicated that 28 percent of contact centers still rely on Excel or some other spreadsheet program as the source of their workforce optimization. These programs are still largely run by humans, and leave huge margins for error when it comes to deploying the workforce in the most efficient way possible.

The issues that arise from this loom the largest when contact centers are trying to find ways to manage their agents. Some 71 percent of those surveyed said they manage agent schedules manually. This can lead to huge problems for contact centers, as they could easily find themselves overstaffed in a period of down time, or left without a lifeboat when calls start picking up.

Even 10 years ago, managers could simply shrug their shoulders at this information and admit there was nothing they could do. Workforce optimization software is available that allows managers to not only make their workforce as efficient as possible in the moment, but also use data to forecast the future. They can predict when business will either be busy or slow, and manage staff proactively rather than reactively. The problem is that these solutions exist and not enough businesses are taking advantage of them. Businesses should use this report as an opportunity to examine their own workforce optimization habits.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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