Illustration by Eric Jackson

First of all, I just have to say, the Omni hotel is amazing. What better way to wrap up a fantastic day than with a $13 glass of moonshine in the bar downstairs?

One of the hot topics in the “Ask The Workforce Wizard” session was, “What do I do when the business has lost its faith in the WFM team?” The panel had a lot of great suggestions:

  • Find a very vocal key business partner to help regain the trust.
  • Become more transparent in the processes so that everyone starts seeing them as “our” processes.
  • Honesty is the best policy: Own the mistake.
  • Go back and evaluate the WFM processes and ask if they still make sense in today’s environment.

I liked this tip: For new-agent WFM training, lightly introduce it during the on-boarding process. Then follow up with new agents after they’ve been on the floor 90 days for the full WFM training, because when agents are first starting on the phones, their priorities are not always on us.

The most interesting question I heard someone ask was: “Is there any reason to track a SUPERVISOR’s adherence?” That required some follow-up. Ultimately, the question wasn’t whether to track adherence when a supervisor goes to break/lunch, but should it apply to holding their coaching sessions and one-on-ones on time? Even so, the expert panel unanimously agreed to a NO on this.

Another one I liked was: “Are there any best practices for global WFM integrations?” Answer: Don’t call it “offshoring.” Call it what it is—India, Costa Rica, Asia, etc.—and be sure to learn the local labor laws, too.

I shared a coffee break with Rich at Aspect who told me they are in the process of rolling out their new multichannel blended chat solutions. They have two Ph.D. mathematicians working on a special algorithm based on simulators, not just Erlang. That will definitely be something to watch for.

WorkFlex Solutions’
Preview of WorkFlex Solutions’ new mobile app.

I also saw a preview of WorkFlex Solutions’ new mobile app that lets agents instantly request and change their schedules, as long as the change helps to optimize staffing levels, which is a great idea.

Here are some great take-always from “If You’re Not Planning, You’re Planning To Fail,” courtesy of my conference-buddy, Mary Weiss.

Attrition: Are you updating it once a year? It tends to have seasonality, and you might improve your staffing model if you map it out more often.

Discretion: Sometimes the finance department has an issue including cost-per-call or salary numbers in a long-term forecast; check with them first.

Communication: The key to getting information about unknown upcoming events.

Audience: Make sure that they are getting something out of your plans before sharing WFM reports, why things are included, and just as important, what should be excluded.

Post-mortem: Use the long-term plan to determine what issues happened retroactively (i.e., didn’t follow the hiring plan, WFM was not used appropriately, etc.) to get to the root cause. Many things can happen to your plan: Forecast accuracy could be off or attrition could be higher/lower than expected.

During morning announcements we learned that Penny Reynolds has written a new book—and in a total Oprah-move, everyone at the conference is getting a free copy! But the best part of the day was Greg Bennick, who presented his entire keynote while juggling… except for that time he was on the unicycle making balloon animals.

On to Day 2!