Note: Part One of this Two-Part Series covered Features #1 through #5 of the “11 Key Features You Should Look for in Any WFM Solution”. The topics covered included:
- Hosted, Premise-Based and Mobile WFM
- Performance Management
- Forecasting and Scheduling
- Intraday Management
- Real-Time Adherence
Click here to go to Part One if you haven’t already read it to learn more about these first five crucial features you need in your suite of Workforce Management tools before continuing.
Investing in the wrong Workforce Managment (WFM) tools could drastically reduce your operational efficiency and effectiveness, increase costs, lower profit margins, reduce customer satisfaction ratings and make the lives of your front-line teams and supervisors far too stressful.
6. Agent Web Access, Notifications
A modern WFM solution should streamline communication and provide automated systems and processes to make the lives for both agents and supervisors easier.
Important productivity tools you should look for and expect that will empower your agents and limit supervisor time responding to manual requests from their team members include:
- The ability for agents to view their schedules and make changes in real time.
- The capability for agents to submit change requests and trade shifts with other agents based on business rules established by their workforce manager.
- A notification system that provides agents with KPIs in real time, allowing agents to quickly change their behavior to meet their goals.
- The capability for agents and supervisors to manage vacation time and paid time off through an automated request system, based on business rules defined by current HR practices.
- Communication with other agents via a bulletin board message system.
7. Automated WFM
The modern, multi-channel contact center environment is truly too complex to adequately manage using strictly manual systems and procedures. There are far too many variables to juggle, but computers are ideal for the tasks required to collect and process performance and service statistics in real-time, forecast workloads and schedule the right amount of personnel, monitor schedule adherence, performance tracking, etc.
An automated, fully integrated workforce management solution can make the work lives of your front-line employees, supervisors and managers less stressful and free up their time and energy to focus on doing their jobs to the best of their abilities by giving them the best tools with which to work.
8. At-Home Scheduling
As the “home shoring” trend continues its rapid adoption within the contact center industry, you may want the flexibility to provide for at-home scheduling today or have the option to provide it down the road. Make sure it can be implemented within the solution you choose, preferably through your WFM vendor rather than as a third-party add-on.
At-home scheduling has been shown to reduce the costs of internal infrastructure while improving organizational morale. It’s also a way for companies to offer highly skilled associates a flexible work environment.
If you choose a solution that can handle scheduling both brick-and-mortar and at-home agents, you will have the most flexibility, whether you opt for a “hub and spoke” model with its mix of contact center agents and at-home agents, or your eventually transition to a virtual model where all your team’s agents are at-home agents.
9. Real-Time Dashboards
Providing truly exceptional customer service depends on a wide range of factors. The most important of these factors may be your ability to empower your frontline team members with necessary information and proper tools they need to do the best job possible for your customers.
The importance of real-time dashboards should not be minimized. Your frontline teams and their supervisors benefit immensely from real-time knowledge about individual and overall contact center performance displayed ticker-style.
Look for these features in WFM real-time dashboards:
- Multiple standard data views and the capability for customization to suit your organization’s specific operational needs, or individual user needs.
- The ability to connect with other external systems, like your Quality Assurance solution, so other relevant data can be integrated into custom dashboard views.
- The capability to quickly drill down into any data set with a single click to dive deeper.
- The ability to easily print drill-down reports directly from the dashboard or export them to a variety of formats.
- The ability to perform single-click custom actions, preventing the need to navigate to another screen to submit schedule changes, send user notifications and generate reports.
10. Vacation and Overtime Planners
You want a workforce management solution that includes a planner for vacations and overtime. No one wants a manual system, and not having a planning system is not a good option either.
Rolling out a vacation and overtime planning system that utilizing tools in your WFM software can make the life of your workforce manager and front-line supervisors much easier. It can also boost agent satisfaction and reduce carry-over.
The vacation and overtime planning tool in your WFM system should have the following capabilities:
- Allow you to create vacation and overtime groups based on skill set, so you always have enough coverage to handle all the various tasks and contact types for your team(s).
- Allocated slot limits for each vacation group.
- Forecast available daily overtime slots per staff group.
- Allow you to define vacation bidding rules and overtime bidding rules.
- Allow you to automate vacation and overtime bidding.
- Flexibility to allow you to manage change on both an intraday basis and throughout the entire year.
11. Shift Bidding and Self-Scheduling
Shift bidding and self-scheduling are systems in which employees take responsibility for a major portion of the scheduling process themselves. By involving employees in your scheduling process, you empower them to take control of their work lives. It can drastically improve the efficiency of your operations, reduce administrative costs, and reduce supervisory and administrative time spent on scheduling. It can also improve turnover and retention rates by boosting morale and increasing engagement within your team(s).
Your workforce management software’s shift bidding and self-scheduling functions should be able to handle a complex set of rules such as:
- Qualifications and training
- Other customizable rules to fit your business requirements
Cloud-based solutions and/or mobile apps give your associates the maximum amount of flexibility in where and when they select or revise their schedule.
ABOUT PIPKINS, INC.: Founded in 1983 and based in St. Louis, Missouri, Pipkins is a leading provider of workforce management solutions for the contact center industry. Today, Pipkins’ systems forecast, plan and schedule more than 300,000 agents in over 500 locations across all industries worldwide.
For more information, contact the Pipkins Sales Team at 314-469-6106 Option 1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.