In the first quarter of 2012, Knowlagent surveyed workforce management professionals to learn more about the goals and challenges that pertain to their role within the call center. We wanted to understand more about the group whose daily responsibility is to deal with the complex nature of the contact center to match supply (agents) with demand (calls). We heard about the issues involved with scheduling agents, ensuring they have time to complete the necessary off-phone work that helps them be better at their job and working in additional requests from multiple departments that take them off the phones.
Survey results identified the biggest challenges for workforce managers as balancing service levels with other off-phone activities (65.7 percent), enhancing forecasting and staffing processes (59.1 percent) and improving forecasting accuracy (55.1 percent).
It’s not surprising to see that balancing service levels with off-phone work is an ongoing concern as service levels must be maintained and call volume will continue to fluctuate. Given that the off-phone work is the glue that keeps agent proficient, WFM professionals don’t have the option to pick one over the other. They have to perform multiple maneuvers along the service level/off-phone work tightrope to be successful within their role.
Likewise, process and accuracy improvement for their forecasting efforts increase the efficiency of overall call center operations.
Interestingly, workforce managers identified improving agent morale/satisfaction as one of their top four challenges (45.6 percent), ahead of processes for driving profitability improvements. It would be easy to surmise that agent morale improvements can have an added impact on a number of other key call center metrics from customer satisfaction to handle time to increased sales and beyond.