Whitepaper: The state of workforce management
A contact centre research executive summary.
ICMI last studied contact centre workforce management (WFM) trends and benchmarks in 2012. In the five years since that study, the channels utilised by contact centres evolved, the places in which contacts are handled diversified, and the approaches necessary for effectively forecasting and planning changed. As the authority on contact centre excellence, ICMI sought to understand better the WFM techniques, technologies, and best practices utilised in today's contact centre environments. A new study, conducted in Q1 2017 and underwritten by NICE, enabled us to take an updated look at modern WFM practices, challenges, and future plans.
In the contact centre world, if it's not right the first time, there isn't a chance to go back and do it all over again. This isn't to say that service recovery isn't effective, but it's certainly not guaranteed to work, and it absolutely requires us to exert more effort and energy than we would if we got it right from the beginning. At the most fundamental level for the contact centre, this means having the right number of properly skilled people and supporting resources in the right place, at the right time, to handle an accurately forecasted workload at service level and with quality. It's the WFM process that sets the foundations for whether or not a contact centre gets it right the first time. Workforce management is absolutely critical to an organisation's success.
This study revealed there is positive movement within WFM, with organisations recognising the need for new technologies, evolved processes, and improved outcomes. It also uncovered that workforce management remains an incredibly manual, time-consuming task that is inconsistently applied across channel types. This lackadaisical approach to planning is incredibly concerning at a time when contacts are moving from the phone to new channels at exponentially increasing rates. If organisations truly want to achieve strong financial performance, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement, it will be mission-critical to apply WFM best practices across their operations, embrace and adopt enabling technologies, and seek automation where possible.