When it comes to service-oriented businesses, the labor force is the core of the company. Whether the employees are human or robotic, workforce optimization helps teams to work smarter instead of harder. How so? As the name suggests, contact center workforce optimization involves using managerial practices to ensure maximum productivity meets maximum efficiency. Naturally, this is just a general idea of how call center workforce optimization works. Read on for details.
How To Implement Workforce Optimization
Even the best concepts fail if they are not properly applied. Here are just a few ways you can implement best practices for WFO at your organization.
Focus on the Customers
When handling WFO tasks, it is easy to lose focus on what is important. Yes, your starting point is your labor force, because they play an integral role in the success of your business. However, the focus is still your customers. When looking for ways to improve the workforce, use surveys or other forms of customer feedback to better understand what customers want and how you can best fulfill these wishes.
Automate the Process
Technology is one of the best ways to ensure objectivity and accuracy when tackling WFO. Companies may consider employing the use of WFO software suites to analyze current workforce performance and find areas that require improvement. Some important patterns to watch out for in a call center include the following:
• Inefficiencies or inadequacies with scheduling
• Long wait times for callers
• Queries requiring several transfers to other departments to be resolved
• Average time spent assisting callers
By relying on data analytics, you will have objective information to present to employees about their performance — for better or worse. Use this information not just to reprimand workers who fall short of goals, but also to congratulate those who go above and beyond what is expected.
The reward does not always have to be monetary. An extra day off, a gift card or even recognition in the office can go a long way toward motivating employees to be more productive. By speaking with employees, you are also in a better position to discuss and implement effective solutions to correct any patterns in the data analytics that give you cause for concern.
Training and Coaching
Rather than wait until analytics show something is wrong to focus on workforce optimization, be proactive. Investing time in training and coaching employees help to keep them working at their best. Remember to create interesting training material that workers can engage with, or they may simply go through the motions and then return to work with few changes — if any — to their productivity levels.
The Benefits for Call Centers
When implementing new policies at the call center, you should also continue to monitor progress to ensure you receive your return on investment. If the first attempt fails, revisit your original policies and craft new solutions. Once you find solutions that work, here are some of the benefits you can expect from effective workforce management.
Improved Decision Making
When employees are well-trained and empowered, they are in a better place to make good decisions that benefit customers and the business. For instance, a customer may call to say they can no longer afford their subscription service.
A worker who is not empowered would perhaps try to discourage that customer by mentioning all the key benefits they would give up, or perhaps try to get a supervisor involved. They may even simply assist the customer with canceling their service.
Thanks to workforce optimization, an empowered employee may ask the customer if a 20% discount would make the plan more affordable. They may even suggest a temporary pause rather than a cancelation. Chances are that the customer might take the offer.
The thought of allowing employees to hand out 20% discounts and pause accounts may make you start to think about your bottom line. However, there are efficiencies that save you money. Forbes notes that one benefit of business intelligence tech is that they assist with letting you know peak hours and slow hours of business, so you can schedule employees accordingly. This prevents your business from losing customers to long wait times during peak hours and paying call agents for twiddling their thumbs during slow periods.
Another way workforce optimization reduces cost is by removing or improving steps in the product cycle that tack on unnecessary time. This helps to reduce wait time for callers and reduce time spent on specific tasks for employees, thus increasing productivity.
Would you like to see these WFO benefits realized in your own call center? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can make that desire a reality.