If you have ever been into retail, you will know how busy the holiday season gets. The customers flooding in for last-minute shopping, with long queues at the billing counters and a sense of urgency in the air.
The holiday rush is not just a surge in sales but also a test of the team’s ability to handle high demand and offer a positive customer experience amidst the chaos.
Similarly, a call center usually has peak times on weekends. If you don’t manage your staff efficiently during rush hours, you will fail to cater to your customers. This will lead to customers getting frustrated, lower CSAT scores, and overburdened agents.
The average call abandonment rate is around 5% to 8%. But if your graphs are near 10%, it’s alarming. This means that your resources are either short-staffed or mismanaged to handle the calls.
Call center Workforce management helps manage staff, forecast staffing needs, track and analyze analytics, and deliver exceptional customer service.
Read on to find out how you can optimize your call center workforce to align with your needs.
Table of contents
What is Workforce Management in a Call Center?
Workforce management is the process of managing agents to meet rising demands and maintain operational efficiency.
As a manager, you need to be able to:
- Accurately predict peak times
- Assign the right agents at the right times based on their skill level
- Monitor call outputs, agent productivity, and other variables
- Analyze operational data and report
- Curate strategies to meet customer demands and avoid staff burnout
Traditionally, managers use spreadsheets, calendars, and simple documents to manage the workforce. But these are not synchronized with one another and are too hectic to ensure a smooth WFM.
This calls for advanced software solutions and tools that compile everything in one place, simplifying WFM for you. From scheduling to forecasting, data analytics, and attendance tracking, you can have a comprehensive tool that suits all your needs.
Why is Workforce Management in Call Centers Important?
Call center workforce management ensures that your team and customers have what they need. An effective WFM is one that balances both the requirements of your customers and staff, enabling you to offer quality customer service and avoid staff burnout.
Here are some prominent reasons why you need workforce management in your call center.
- Maintaining service levels – This ensures that you have the right staff at the right times according to demand levels.
- Optimizing employee performance – It helps you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your employees. Therefore, it allows you to allocate them smartly. Plus, when you know the weak points, you can modify the training module for improvement.
- Optimizing labor costs – A great WFM strategy prevents both over and understaffing helping you save costs on hiring more people or wasted hours due to overstaffing.
- Boost customer experience – Having the right number of agents with suitable skills on the shifts helps you quickly and accurately close customer tickets, improving the FCR and CSAT rates.
5 Fundamentals of Call Center Workforce Management
There are four principal elements of workforce management in a call center that ensure a successful WFM. These fundamental pillars help you incorporate an ideal WFM that meets your requirements and goals.
You must take into account all these elements while creating an effective WFM in your contact center.
1. Demand Forecasting
To meet peak time demands and standard customer service, you must schedule your agents smartly. But how will you prepare beforehand without knowing the potential surge hours?
This is where demand forecasting comes into play. Demand forecasting refers to the process of predicting customer calls or tickets in the upcoming days, weeks, or months.
It is done by analyzing historical trends of customer interactions over calls, email, and chat. This data analysis uncovers the hidden pattern that gives you your call center’s potential peak hours or days.
Further demand forecasting also depends on factors like:
- Product launch
- Seasonal sales
- Product upgrades
For example, your contact center will have more tickets on the days after a new product launches. So, you should prepare yourself in advance for such cases.
2. Employee Scheduling
Once you have your demand forecast report in hand, you can start scheduling your agents accordingly.
Forecast data will help you decide when and where you need more or less staff. This will prevent you from understaffing and overstaffing.
3. Assigning Agents
Once you know when and where you need your staff, you should start assigning your agents.
You should plan your staff based on their skill levels to fill the lowest to highest shifts. To assess their skills, you should consider their call-handling ability, length of service, customer feedback, and overall performance.
This ensures that when the demand is high, you are well-equipped with expert agents who are proficient in handling customers in the best possible way in a demanding work environment.
4. Real-time Team Management
As a manager, you should be able to see the real-time status of your employees. Workforce management software enables you to check your employee’s status throughout the day. This way, you can assess their performance and plan training strategies for improvement.
Real-time team management comes in handy when you have an unexpected rise in customer demands. It allows you to immediately assign agents to meet the demands.
5. Data Analytics
Reporting and data analytics play an important role in ensuring successful workforce management in call centers.
With the right WFM software, you get advanced data analytics features. These features help you process your call center data into reports that give you valuable insights and track key metrics.
Thanks to the WFM reports, you can accurately predict peak hours, assess your staff performance, allocate agents, meet customer demands, and eventually boost the overall call center FCR and CSAT scores.
How can Knowmax Help?
This single source of truth assists agents with the right knowledge to quickly find the right solutions to customer queries. Therefore, it enables agents to deliver consistent, mistake-proof customer service even during rush hours.
Knowmax ensures successful workforce management in call centers with its feature-rich knowledge base solution that equips agents to meet customer expectations in challenging work environments.