No matter the size of your contact center, your team is focused on making sure you have the right number of agents to process the transactions within the targeted grade of service while controlling the cost of providing that service. In smaller centers, proper staffing can be an even more acute challenge and a priority as being short-staffed by even a single agent has exponential implications to service level delivery.
Traditionally, smaller centers have had limited choices when looking for a solution that could help them with the core workforce management challenges:
- Accurately forecasting their demand
- Optimizing agents’ schedules
- Managing exceptions and the intraday reporting
- Measuring agent schedule adherence
- Empowering agents
WFM vendors tend to look upmarket when developing their systems, and as their technology matures, their systems naturally become more and more complex, requiring more and more training. That usually translates into “hard to use,” increased on-boarding expenses, and features that a 50-agent contact center may not leverage.
For decades we have seen organizations, regardless of their size, struggle with adoption of these platforms due to these reasons. Not uncommonly, these initial WFM software investments turn into shelfware.
The alternatives to the top-heavy, expensive, complicated legacy platforms are off-the-shelf software tools that are not integrated into the telephony infrastructure, have limited features and require intensive manual effort to enable the center to achieve any sense of optimization. Due to the overwhelming expense associated with legacy WFM technologies, many centers limp along, sometimes getting well into hundreds of agents without investing in fully automated WFM technology.
They cobble together a mishmash of limited tools and processes that they hope will better enable them to achieve the fundamental objectives of leveraging their resources while controlling the cost of providing those resources. Ultimately, though, this configuration fails. Center leadership recognizes and accepts the tremendous cost of inefficiency, the lack of visibility, and thus, accountability into key metrics. Meanwhile, they may have invested many thousands of dollars in non-integrated partial toolkits and in-house development projects. More importantly, thousands of dollars in opportunity costs have been bleeding out of their center from lost wages, low agent productivity, abandoned calls, inconsistent service levels and maybe even higher agent turnover. Like we said, contact center leaders have had limited choices.
WFM Adoption Is an Evolution
WFM is an operating culture and philosophy, not just software. Centers that adopt automated integrated WFM technology for the very first time are looking for the basics: forecasting and scheduling. Once they capture those benefits—and that takes time to staff, adopt and realize—they start to look for the next areas of available opportunity. But it is without question, a process.
Historically, the industry has not recognized this evolution and the available products reflected that failure. There was one product for the SMB space and another product for the enterprise. When those centers were ready to take the next step, they walked away from platform 1 and all of their data and training; then did a forklift upgrade to platform 2 to capture the next wrung of opportunity on their WFM evolutionary ladder. Frustrating, expensive, time-consuming.
Better Tools Are Here
Today, contact centers have a more logical way forward. A center can adopt a single platform in essential WFM mode, then gain on-demand access to more advanced, enterprise-class features and automation as their culture matures and they are seeking greater areas of efficiency and opportunity. They can keep their investment, maintain all their data, their expertise and simply enhance those skills with minimal training.
The future is bright for WFM adopters. New WFM technologies are offering less expensive, long-term solutions for the evolving contact center.