The contact center workforce management (WFM) market is awakening. The recession-driven need to accelerate improvements in contact center efficiency made 2009 a relatively good year for this well-established technology sector, which often goes hand-in-hand with speech analytics. Contact center leaders have had a love/hate relationship with WFM solutions for years. WFM vendors have been hearing complaints from contact center customers for years, but have done little to address their concerns. Enterprises want to enhance their WFM practices, but they need help from vendors to effect change. The market needs better forecasting tools and applications that are easier to implement and use.
DONNA FLUSS THE BUSINESS CASE It’s Time to Do WFM Right Vendors and customers need to work together to make the right improvements he contact center workforce management (WFM) Despite these known challenges, there is proven value in T market is awakening. The recession-driven need to using a WFM solution. Any single-site contact center with accelerate improvements in contact center efficiency made more than 100 agents would benefit from WFM, as would 2009 a relatively good year for this well-established technol- any complex multichannel/multisite environment with ogy sector, which often goes hand-in-hand with speech ana- more than 50 agents. The importance and benefits of lytics. When a call goes to an agent, speech analytics tells using WFM increase with agent head count and site com- why the caller transferred out of the IVR, and managers plexity. Even if WFM forecasts are not optimal, it would be can use that to increase the performance of the IVR and far more challenging for contact centers to forecast their implement staffing changes via the WFM solution. transaction volumes and create and assign schedules with- Contact center leaders have had a love/hate relationship out an automated solution. with WFM solutions for years. Managers buy into the During the past few years, WFM vendors have introduced need for WFM, which is why 84.4 percent of participants in innovations, such as agent self-service modules, to improve a recent DMG benchmarking study indicated WFM was supervisor efficiency and empower agents with more control mission-critical. However, more than 25 percent of enter- over their own schedules. While self-service modules do not prises have chosen not to purchase a fix the underlying problems in WFM solu- third-party/packaged contact center WFM WFM solutions tions, they have proved highly effective in solution because of cost, complexity, often are moving in the reducing the management burden and suboptimal accuracy, and challenges right direction, but increasing agent satisfaction and reten- involved in applying recommendations. the market still has a tion. This also contributes to an improved WFM vendors have been hearing com- few major obstacles customer experience—since happy agents plaints from contact center customers for to overcome. communicate their enthusiasm to cus- years, but have done little to address their tomers—and re
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