Call Accounting Featured Article

Workforce Optimization Keeps a Lid on Call Center Labor Costs

April 03, 2017

Contact centers, while a necessity for any business, are expensive to run, primarily because of labor costs. While self-service technologies have progressed in recent years and customers are willing to use them for simple inquiries, they still want a human being if they reach a snag. Any contact center looking to stick to a budget, therefore, should look to keeping labor costs low. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean understaffing the contact center, which can lead directly to customer dissatisfaction and churn (not to mention burned out agents with high turnover rates).

Workforce optimization is the best solution to realize cost savings in the contact center, according to a recent blog post by call accounting solutions provider ISI (News - Alert) Telemanagement Solutions Inc., particularly if it’s delivered via the cloud.

“Whether you have a 20-agent call center, or thousands of agents in a multi-site complex, workforce optimization provides a solution that custom fits your needs,” according to the company. “Coupling the most advanced technology with the easiest user interface, workforce optimization delivers ­flexible software that maximizes productivity, while lowering administrative costs. Users gain a Web-based solution accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection.”

The ability to schedule the right number of people at the right time and optimize their performance for an improved customer experience is the best way to avoid expensive overstaffing as well as customer relationship-killing understaffing and monitor quality at the same time. Workforce management and scheduling are important elements of workforce optimization, but there’s more to it than that. Call and desktop recording allows companies to attain a complete understanding of communications while keeping track of quality metrics and agent performance (and thanks to the cloud, managers can monitor quality from anywhere via mobile devices).

Analytics are also a critical element of today’s workforce optimization solutions, and many software offerings come with analytics built in. This feature helps contact centers turn unstructured, unsearchable voice communications into structured, searchable data. Managers can use these tools to ­find recordings based upon call data such as ACD queue, hold times, and related calls; post-contact survey results that help monitor quality; desktop data ­fields such as customer or patient identifi­ers; and even critical statements that indicate dissatisfied customers or missing compliance disclosures if the workforce optimization solution includes speech analytics.

Using the data gathered and analyzed by a workforce optimization solution, managers can monitor, coach, train, create easy performance reviews and improve contact center operations based on the actionable data gathered. Many modern WFO solutions include “gamification” features that make it easier (and more fun) for agents to take a stake in their own performance (by raising their performance level to earn points, badges or compete with co-workers).

In an environment that is continually seeking to keep a lid on labor costs, workforce optimization is one of the best methods a contact center can use to ensure that efforts aren’t wasted or duplicated, workers are performing to their potential and customer satisfaction isn’t taking a hit. 

Edited by Alicia Young