Workforce Management Trust
Illustration by John O'Shea

If you feel like your WFM system just doesn’t give you the right net staffing, here is the approach I take to fixing it. (Note: The names and exactly how you find them will vary, but hopefully the concepts work.)

First, you have to determine what is wrong. Are your requirements too high, your on-phone staff wrong? Is your actual volume missing calls or your handle time not calculating correctly? In my experience it is either one, two or even more of these four issues.

Next, go through the system configuration of the offending metric. Is there a goofy “Max Occupancy” somewhere? Did you miss adding a skill or do you have the wrong switch type configured? Very often, a WFM system is set up to not simulate what really happens from a routing perspective. For simplicity sake, groups of agents or calls are combined when they should be or broken out when there is no real reason to do so. AHT components are missing and phone staff metrics from the switch are messed up.

Now look at your switch. Do you do goofy routing things, like rollovers or voicemail? Do your groupings and skill assignments match WFM? Do you change things constantly throughout the day?

Next, really learn how shrinkage works in the system. And make sure you use it as designed. If you try to fake it or fool it, you are probably causing an issue somewhere.

Finally, check yourself. Are your forecasts bad, have you never cleaned your data, or do you just not want to believe what your net staffing says, even though it is true?

I’ve seen all of these (and more) since I’ve been looking at WFM systems. So it really is likely to be a bunch of things. Just fix them one at a time and validate with switch data when you can.

And keep in mind, it’s likely not a system failure—you just need to turn all the screws the right way.

Getting WFM systems to properly calculate requirements is one of the most frustrating and fulfilling things that I do. If you’re stuck, shoot me a comment or an email and I’ll see if I can help.

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