What is Workforce Management?

A contact center's primary priority is providing customer service, but second is managing the human assets delivering that service. Although the use of self-service channels has increased, agent-assisted channels continue to yield the highest satisfaction levels. This means that contact centers continue to be people-intensive operations. Not only do agents need to be hired, trained and supervised, they also need to be scheduled according to a forecast of how many total agents the center needs. This is where workforce management comes in. Two of the main functions of workforce management are forecasting and scheduling. A third is intraday management.

Staffing forecasts leverage historical contact volumes to determine anticipated channel volume. In addition to volume, workforce management analysts factor in variables such as average handle time, shrinkage, and turnover. Schedules then match agents to the forecasted needs. The scheduling process factors in some of these same variables, as well as agent availability, agent skillsets, expected schedule adherence, and more.

Once the initial forecasts and schedules are completed, they get revised frequently. Workforce management isn't a one-time project - forecasts and schedules are constantly tweaked in response to changes in variables, such as lower than expected volume, higher handle times, or other unplanned occurrences. This is frequently done in real time as part of the intraday management process. The goal of workforce management is to make sure the right number of appropriately skilled agents are in the right place at the right time, while minimizing costly overstaffing. Achieving this requires careful oversight and frequent adjustments.

Forecasting, scheduling and intraday management were once manually-intensive activities performed by spreadsheet wizards. But sophisticated workforce management technology has automated these tasks, making them more efficient, accurate, and flexible. With these tools, the workforce management team can create the most intelligent forecasts with the click of a button, and then easily run what-if analyses and make intraday schedule adjustments. These tasks, some of which used to take hours, can now be done in minutes.

How NICE is Redefining Customer Experience

NICE CXone is the industry’s only interaction-centric platform where channels, data, applications, and knowledge converge to improve customer experience at scale.

It is the leading, most complete and unified CX Platform on the market, used by thousands of organizations of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help you holistically run your call (or contact) center operations.

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