Survey of WFM Professionals: Part 1 – Top Challenges for 2012

In the first quarter of 2012, we 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.

 

We’ll be tackling other results from the survey in future blogs. Stay tuned!

Nearly 400 workforce managers and workforce management team members responded to this survey. The majority of respondents included workforce management team managers, schedulers and real-time desk managers. The size of the respondents’ contact centers varied with 26 percent of respondents having more than 3000 agents within their contact center, 22 percent with 200 agents or less and 21 percent with 1501 to 3000 agents. 

 

About the author

Matt McConnell

Matt is chairman, president and CEO of Intradiem. Matt co-founded Intradiem in 1995 with a vision of helping companies increase the level of customer service they deliver by improving the performance of their agents. Today, Intradiem is a leader in its market with more than 300,000 call center agents around the world using Intradiem every day. Matt is the author of the book Customer Service at a Crossroads and holds 11 software patents. He graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in industrial and systems engineering.

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