When you are working in your workforce management (WFM) tool, have you ever said to yourself: “If only it could do (blank)” or “Why can’t it do (blank)?” or “I need it to do (blank)”?
You sit there stuck, knowing full well that there isn’t time to submit an enhancement request to your WFM vendor and for the vendor to complete that request before your analysis is due. Similarly, if you are an outsourcer, there is no time to waste. The majority of what you do is time sensitive. It needs to be done now. You can’t wait for an enhancement request. You need a solution with the flexibility to handle those unique scenarios and one-off situations that arise from time to time and do so on the fly.
If your workforce management solution has the capability to allow users to add or adjust parameters referred to by some WFM providers as “Policies”, you can make a wide range of minor tweaks and major adjustments to any part of your workforce management process without the involvement of your vendor’s support team, giving you the flexible, agile toolkit you need to keep your multi-channel contact center humming along at peak efficiency. Without it, your WFM tool has you handcuffed, greatly limiting what you can do.
The settings within your WFM tool’s “Policies” section can allow you to add customized scripts when generating a forecast or schedule. These custom scripts help ensure that your organization’s special needs are taken into account by the WFM system. When “Policies” are combined with the forecast algorithm and schedule rules, your organization’s requirements for
forecasts and scheduling are factored into your adjusted forecasts and schedules. This gives you the power to define and configure “Policies” that can be used under special circumstances when you are generating forecasts, schedules, rosters and exception requests, and do so with ease.
The added flexibility provided by adjusting the “Policies” within your workforce management software can be particularly useful for a wide range of tasks, including but not limited to the following:
- Forecasting (long-term, short-term and intraday)
- Enhanced scheduling when planning for holidays and special events
- Vacation planning
- Prioritization of exceptions
- Generating staffing requirements
- Schedule swaps or trades
- Short-term exception initiatives
- Scheduling multi-skilled agents with aggregate queue sensitivity
- Re-optimization policies for individual staff members
The key benefit of the customizations possible with “Policies” when forecasting is the ability to handle a vast array of “what if” scenarios that can crop up routinely in the day-to-day operation of any business or organization. At any time, you may need to re-evaluate variable skill combinations or re-assign one or more hybrid agents to maintain or raise client service levels in order to achieve your profit goal. If necessary, you can quickly and easily create an endless number of variations that can be accessed in a simple drop-down menu without reconfiguring the software. Plus, these drop-downs can be saved and further modified over time to improve them as you learn from repeat occurrences or experience other similar events.
The end result: you have the ability to find the solutions you need for the unique situations that come your way and do so within the time allotted. No unnecessary delays. No other workloads need to be neglected. No other users need to be inconvenienced.
Making changes on the fly is no longer a huge problem. Re-optimization on an intraday or intra-week basis can be made much simpler for the decision maker. Even complex exception prioritization, which become prevalent during peak periods for seasonal operations, are vastly simplified. With so many options and the ability to quickly run so many scenarios, you or your analysts can more easily balance time-off planning, while still meeting client service levels, all based on priority level.
Weekly exceptions and possible conflicts can be quickly addressed based on their importance over partial or full day periods. There’s no need to clear, remove and re-run schedules. No manual manipulation of schedules is needed. All that is required is to simply select a department-organized policy that would take a non-work event, such as a vacation exception, over the planned work exception, such as an all-day training session.
In addition, “Policies” are equally valuable to WFM professionals when addressing special one-off RFP scenarios, as well as long-term staff planning where employee retention, client satisfaction ratings and profitability goals must all be achieved.
ABOUT PIPKINS, INC.: Founded in 1983 and based in St. Louis, Missouri, Pipkins is a leading provider of WFM 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, visit www.pipkins.com.