What is workforce management software?
You might be surprised to learn that many call centers are still loyal to manually-created spreadsheets to organize their schedules and workloads. Or, you might be one of them. Workforce management software replaces these time-consuming tasks and analyses, automating the processes that keep the call center in motion.
Workforce management software is a collection of tools designed to maximize productivity through features like forecasting, employee scheduling, and attendance tracking. It essentially connects and optimizes the core processes of your workplace to ensure that your employees are in the right place at the right time. It’s also an invaluable tool for employers who manage hourly employees, and the complexities of evolving schedules and offered services. This is why call centers, in particular, benefit from WFM software.
What does workforce management software do?
WFM software uses real-time data, forecasting, and more to optimize employee schedules, increase efficiency, and lower costs. Introductory-level software can include features like employee time and attendance tracking or basic employee scheduling, however, more comprehensive solutions can offer labor forecasting, advanced scheduling, and real-time employee management.
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Features of WFM software
There are a number of core features that allow workforce management software to give any workplace’s operations a boost. These features are especially important in a call center, where aligning shifts to predicted call volume is critical for efficiency, yet is a challenge to accomplish manually. The core features of call center WFM software include:
- Forecasting: Understanding staffing needs is key to creating a cost-effective schedule. WFM software looks at historical trends and incorporates one-off adjustments in order to provide an accurate and actionable forecast of upcoming ticket volume.
- Scheduling: Even with an insanely accurate forecast in hand, creating the optimal schedule to achieve service level goals is no small feat. WFM software takes away the stress (and potential scheduler bias) of balancing agent availability, time-off requests, and scheduling preferences across your contact center.
- Intraday schedule management: Expect the unexpected and pivot with the grace of a ballerina with WFM software’s intraday schedule management features. So what if a surprise blizzard causes a surge in calls and requires more agents than you scheduled? Your software has already pulled the trigger on Plan B by calling in replacements without even digging into anyone’s overtime. Intraday schedule management allows you to make well-informed adjustments to ensure even more accurate coverage for the day and moving forward.
- Reporting and analytics: With the rapid pace of a call center, there are plenty of metrics to track, from wait times to calls answered, schedule adherence, and much more. The reporting capabilities of WFM software help to optimize scheduling within your center, while real-time metrics provide the context you need to effectively manage your team’s performance.
- Time-off management: Your team works hard and deserves to play hard as well. Managing time-off requests might not seem like a daunting task, however, when you consider the size of a growing center and the different types of time-off that you need to manage, it gets pretty intense, pretty fast. Leveraging a tool that allows you to adjust and manage schedules on the fly ensures that you are prepared when those inevitable emergencies happen.
Why you should use WFM software
Have you ever heard of the expression, “work smarter, not harder”? While we fully embrace hard work, we only support it when it’s necessary to achieve your goals. Call center WFM software is a smart solution that will make your life easier and free up more of your time for important tasks like managing.
WFM solutions use data and sophisticated algorithms to automate — and simplify — the processes that used to take up all your time, like forecasting call volume and scheduling.
Automating processes, like scheduling and timesheets, reduce user error and saves you a lot of headaches down the road. When all the complicated behind-the-scenes processes are streamlined and made transparent for all teams, you can boost productivity and improve morale.
What are the benefits of workforce management software?
WFM software works to recognize and streamline the operations of an entire contact center while nurturing an environment where employees are engaged. In case you’re still not convinced, let’s walk through some more tangible benefits of using WFM software.
Improve customer experience
When your call center is appropriately staffed, wait times are shorter and your team members are more focused on meeting customer needs. This results in an overall improvement to the customer experience provided, which can be especially tricky to achieve during unexpected fluctuations. With WFM software’s intraday schedule management tools, you’re always covered.
Boost employee satisfaction
Satisfied employees and happier customers go hand-in-hand. Yet agent attrition is higher in call centers than in other industries: Turnover rates are as high as 30-45%. Meanwhile, a high attrition rate is not only a flashing neon sign that your employees are dissatisfied; it’s costly, too. Hiring just one new employee can cost around $4,000 on top of their regular salary, and let’s not forget the productivity loss during training periods.
The bottom line: Employee satisfaction is essential to the success of your call center. Your support professionals value flexibility, so offering some control over their schedules (and increased transparency when you can’t) will improve morale. Plus, keeping the call center adequately staffed makes sure no one is consistently over-or under-worked, which allows for less stress and more satisfaction on the job.
Increase cost savings
Utilizing WFM software ensures your center is never overstaffed or understaffed at any given moment. Honing in staffing and scheduling to meet demand without exceeding it requires a level of precision that only automation can achieve.
Put another way: WFM software can actually be less expensive than the salary of hiring one more agent, especially in larger call centers.
Accurate forecasting and scheduling
Forecasting and scheduling are the foundation of workforce management. Accurate forecasts of call volumes and other ticket demands allow for efficient scheduling. WFM software forecasting can be accurate within 10% of call volume, plus it enables you to create schedules in minutes and quickly identify and fix any upcoming coverage issues.
Transparency into important KPIs
Real-time data and customized reporting can expose inefficiencies so they can be addressed. But this isn’t Big Brother: It’s an opportunity to help employees and teammates when they need it and celebrate their improvements and successes along the way. Plus, transparency across teams keeps everyone in the loop, creating a greater sense of togetherness and teamwork.
How to choose the right software for your business
With so many options out there, it can feel daunting to select the best WFM tool for your company. But there’s no need to fear (obviously, ours is the best, so you don’t have to shop around 😉).
In all seriousness, here’s our advice for figuring out the best tool for your needs. If it doesn’t lead you to us, we’re cool with it, no hard feelings:
- Evaluate your current processes. Is scheduling becoming a nightmare? Or maybe it’s HR management? Complete a self-assessment of your current processes to identify inefficiencies that could be addressed with WFM software.
- Make a list of requirements. After understanding your pain points, consider the features of a WFM software that would complement the way your team works. Keep this list of requirements handy when evaluating providers.
- Decide what kind of tool you need. For example, are you looking for a basic tool or a more advanced solution that offers robust analytics? Depending on the size of your call center, your growth targets, etc. this will help you pinpoint what kind of tool is best suited for your contact center.
Call center workforce management software for more efficiency
Assembled is an all-in-one scheduling, forecasting, and reporting platform that helps improve performance. By providing teams with deeper accuracy in staffing, more ease and control in schedule creation, and better visibility into data, the tool can make the case for resourcing.
Our cloud-based software offers real-time analytics and powerful reporting that allows you to track response times, service levels, and compare actual activity to schedules. And it integrates seamlessly with your existing customer service platforms, like Zendesk, Salesforce, and more.
We’re ready to help you optimize efficiency and boost employee engagement with our advanced WFM solution. Contact us today to schedule a demo!