Workforce Management in Call Centers: 5 Best Practices

August 22, 2022

Workforce Management in Call Centers: 5 Best Practices

The goal of any customer service environment is to cut the customer wait time. Also, improve efficiencies so that the company can operate most cost-effectively.

In a call center, this goal is achieved through workforce management. It includes:

  • Forecasting call volume,
  • Scheduling employees, and
  • Exploring data to pinpoint performance trends.

Call Center Workforce Management: What is It?

Call Center Workforce Management (CCWM) is a surveillance process. It helps organisations efficiently manage their activities. CCWM can help to improve productivity, communication, customer service quality, and employee satisfaction. It also allows for optimal use of resources by implementing standardised processes. 

CCWM can be implemented in various ways, including:

  • Organisation-wide initiatives, or
  • Targeted management programs for specific areas such as recruitment or training.

CCWM modules may include strategies such as goal setting and performance appraisal systems. It provides an effective solution to improving the call center experience.

What are Workforce Management Platforms?

Workforce management platforms are software applications that help companies track and manage data. This can include everything from salary information to performance reviews. WMPs also provide tools for scheduling, communication, and HR functions.

Call centers are notorious for being high-stress environments. The employees often report feelings of anxiety and stress. The workforce management platforms need to have a design that is specific to the business where it is being used. This is necessary to get the tracking of employee performance right.

Some of the critical things you'll need to consider when choosing a platform include:

  • The level of functionality offered
  • The level of customisation that's possible
  • The price point
  • The accessibility and ease of use
  • The support available

You should rate the best workforce management platforms with:

  • Human resources (HR),
  • Employee tracking, and
  • Call center automation software.

Choosing the type of platform best suited for your specific needs is essential. 

5 Best Practices for Workforce Management in Call Centers

Best Practices for Workforce anagement in Call Centres

A sound workforce management system keeps employees productive and aligned with the company's business goals. Check out this list of 5 best practices to help you achieve this.

1. Predictive Forecasting

Predictive Forecasting is a key capability a sound workforce management system should have. It optimises agent performance and cuts queueing. 

Predictive forecasting can help call centers predict how many agents they will need during heavy call inflow periods. It also helps divide the necessary resources accordingly.

Suppose a call center doesn't have enough agents during heavy call inflow. In that case, it may lead to long waiting queues and an unsatisfactory customer experience. By using predictive forecasting, the call center can prepare for this situation. This will reduce waiting times and improve customer satisfaction. It is because they won't be left frustrated with long wait times or no service.

2. Agent Assignment and Scheduling

Scheduling call center activities is one of the most crucial tasks under workforce management. Managing the workforce effectively and optimising customer service is a must. It's essential to expect the staffing requirements and create agent schedules accordingly.

The WFM team should first predict how many agents will be needed at any given time. Then assign agent shifts accordingly. They should also consider the time and day of the week and the company's budget constraints.

Doing this can ensure that all agents are available when needed. Also, understand whether there is enough coverage for peak hours or not. Sometimes, the WFM team uses a call center scheduling tool to make things more accessible.

3. Internal Control

Call center employees face increased pressure to meet customer demands. It can lead to misunderstandings and delays in service. Keeping real-time call data is essential to ensure everything goes as planned. 

The WFM team must keep a close eye on real-time call data to prevent this from happening. This will provide agents with the ability to respond to the customers' queries effectively. By doing this, no crucial calls get missed.

Additionally, the WFM team should make use of intraday reporting tools. It helps them to track customer satisfaction levels and other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This will allow them to pinpoint areas where they need to focus their efforts to improve customer experience.

4. Performance Maintenance

Call centers are one of the world's most demanding and challenging workplaces. The agents who work in these environments are constantly under pressure. They tend to provide excellent customer service while meeting strict deadlines.

A call center must have a robust performance management system to manage this demanding environment. This system should be explicitly designed to track agent performance and help them improve over time. 

The primary goal of performance control is to track agent performance and help them improve over time. To do this, it must first be specified what type of performance is being observed. Three types of performance need to be monitored: operational, functional, and results-based. 

Operational performance concerns how well the call center functions. It involves scheduling appointments to provide quality service. 

Functional performance deals with how well individual agents perform within their specific roles. Such as answering calls correctly or resolving customer issues. 

The results-based performance focuses on how the call center performs relative to its goals. For example, meeting certain sales or revenue targets. 

A WFM analyst keeps a close eye on measures to gain a clear understanding of agent performance:

  • First Call Resolution (FCR)
  • Occupancy Rate 
  • Average Handle Time (AHT)
  • Schedule Adherence

Once it's been determined which type of performance is being monitored, the next step is to set measurable goals for each area. These goals should be challenging but practical.

5. Cost-Savings

The aim of workforce management is always to save money in some way or the other. This is why you need to know how many agents you'll need every time.

The most common way that call centers manage their workforce is by using time sheets. Timesheets identify the hours worked by each agent and track their productivity over time. This information can then determine how many agents are needed at any given time and whether they're effective in doing their job.

Another cost-effective method of workforce management is overtime compensation. Overtime compensation compensates employees for working more than the usual hours during a given week. This ensures that there's always someone on hand who can cover an unexpected shift without costing the company extra money. 

To ensure your call center remains profitable, focus on other costs associated with workforce management. It helps make intelligent decisions about how to use your resources best.

Takeaway

Workforce management in call centers can be improved by following these five best practices:

  • Forecasting demand,
  • Scheduling employees,
  • Tracking performance
  • Analysing data, and
  • Minimising cost.

By implementing these practices, you can respond to any situation faster and serve your customer demands better. This will give you a good shot to turn your business both profitable and competitive.

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