Call Centre Workforce Management: WFM Explained

Allocating and managing resources effectively within a call centre creates a solid foundation for productivity. Here’s how workforce management can assist with your business’ goals…

Hitting productivity goals without overwhelming customer support agents in your call centre can sometimes be tricky. However, thanks to workforce management (WFM), it’s easier than ever to predict workloads and build schedules accordingly. Whether you struggle to know how many agents to schedule or want more organisation, this customer service technology provides a useful tool for many businesses and their unique objectives.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about workforce management and all the ways it can benefit your call centre, from employees down to your customer base.

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What is workforce management? 

Put simply – workforce management software is responsible for the management and allocation of resources and agents. Focusing on agent availability, forecast call volume, and revenue targets, WFM ensures that you have the correct number of agents with the right skill sets available when needed.

Although managers play a vital role in organising resources within the business already, this technology can make customer service managers much more successful in their roles and improve overall productivity.

What is workforce management in a call centre?

Anyone that’s ever stepped foot into a call centre will know that some days are busy and others are quiet. For retailers or e-commerce customer service agents, they’ll know to expect a very different scene on Black Friday than on a random Wednesday. Peak days and times require very different levels of resource allocation than normal.

Workforce management software assists call centres with understanding when these peak times will be and allows for pre-planning and organisation to help deal with it effectively and efficiently.

Not only this, but it can also assist with business forecasting, particularly for demand. Forecasting is one of the most important aspects of workforce management, since this allows businesses to get to grips with what their demand might look like over time.

Taking forecast call volume, targets, and availability into account, your workforce management software can easily predict when you’ll need to schedule more agents to take a higher volume of calls on certain days or specific times.

How does workforce management software operate?

Predicts agent workloads

Knowing what the workload of your team might look like over the next few days and even the upcoming weeks can be incredibly valuable. Workforce management software considers everything from upcoming promotions to past data on peak times to provide an accurate prediction of the projected workload. Because of this, your agents will know exactly what to expect and are less likely to be overloaded unexpectedly.

Respond to issues in real time

Unplanned changes can arise, even when they’re least expected. With the help of workforce management software, unexpected issues that could impact your team’s workload, such as product recalls or severe weather, can be identified and managed with ease. For example, if a product is recalled, the management software will identify that this can affect the workload, and the forecast will automatically adjust accordingly.

This can save your team a lot of time since they can dive straight into fixing the problem rather than puzzling over the issue itself.

Build schedules around customer demand

It’s simple really – when customer demand peaks, you’ll know to schedule more agents, and when it dips, customer support can be handled with reduced staff. Scheduling is often a balancing game, and it becomes much easier to strike the right balance with this software.

Benefits of WFM in a call centre

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Business forecasting 

Many WFM technologies allow business and demand forecasting for up to a year. As a result, your business can save time and money because you’ll have a better understanding of the resources required over time, which can impact business decisions like recruitment and the frequency of shift patterns.

Automated tracking

Workforce management can automatically track tickets, chats and calls, making it indispensable in call and contact centres. This removes a large chunk of paperwork that was once completed manually, providing your business with a cost and time-effective solution.

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Simple approvals 

Many WFM applications offer apps allowing managers and staff to easily book and approve time off in advance. Not only does this help organise staff schedules around absences, but it also means that your agents can request and be approved for time off with ease, without going back and forth with a manager.

View schedules in a single-view platform 

On a similar note, WFM software also allows everyone to view schedules easily in a single view platform. This allows you to not only plan shifts effectively but also organise ticketing, calls and breaks much more easily.

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Creates intraday scheduling 

Before it was possible to automate scheduling, it was an incredibly time-consuming process to shift staffing allocations based on changing needs. However, thanks to intraday scheduling capabilities, WFM allows businesses to identify shift-changing opportunities based on real-time staff analysis. What’s more, these can be offered to the right people, avoiding overtime, and targeting the agents most likely to accept the changes.

Simple reporting 

Optimised reporting allows managers to easily track a multitude of metrics, including productivity, efficiency, ticket status and average handling time. This means that you can gain a deeper understanding of how well your call or contact centre is performing and can clearly see if any changes are required.

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