• March 1, 2007
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Intensive Care

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Few customer care processes have a more compelling ability to alter both the level of service received and the operating expenditures contact centers are saddled with than workforce management (WFM). WFM is about more than just leveraging spreadsheets or more productized software offerings to tell contact center agents when they can break for lunch. The software can help companies boost efficiency and trim HR costs; contact centers typically spend most of their budgets on staff, so proper staffing will cut down overspending on bringing on more reps. WFM can also potentially strengthen service delivery and motivate agents. Several vendors deliver WFM offerings, including Aspect Software, Envision Telephony, GMT, IEX (a NICE Systems company), ISC Consultants, Left Bank Solutions, Pipkins, Spanlink Communications (which announced in August 2006 its acquisition of Calabrio), and Witness Systems. WFM helps ensure that contact centers remain efficiently staffed at all times, instead of having to scramble agents to meet customer demands or having agents twiddle their thumbs as a result of off-the-mark volume expectations. Accurate forecasting is crucial to WFM, as there is no control over when customers decide to call. Not developing accurate forecasting using historical information from systems like ACDs voids any chances of reaching WFM nirvana. Hospitality specialist and IEX customer Wyndham Hotel Group is serious about forecasting. Wyndham examines its forecasts in three levels: long-term, near-term, and day-of. With this approach "we don't get surprised the day of that [we] don't have enough people or [we] have too many people," says Duke Witte, director of resource planning and management at Wyndham Hotel Group.
"The better you forecast, the better you are going to staff your agents to meet that demand," says Brett Williams, a senior product manager at Aspect. Consider the following to help stabilize your WFM practices. Click here to read the article.
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