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The evolution of workforce management (WFM)

Two employees review a workforce org chart on a shared computer screen.

TTEC Digital's Senior Director of Innovation Architects, Robert Wakefield-Carl, shares his thoughts on new developments in workforce management tools and how companies can capitalize on these technologies to revolutionize the workplace.

The workforce management (WFM) industry has evolved rapidly in recent years, with the most significant changes affecting ease of use and automation. Gone are the days of weeks-long training and manual calculations. Now, analysts and supervisors can complete complex calculations and generate optimized schedules with just a few clicks.

What started with a focus on productivity and measurement, WFM has expanded to include more topics such as employee engagement and satisfaction. The newest development is the move toward a true, automated enterprise product for WFM that covers all facets of the agent experience. The entire product is now truly workforce engagement management (WEM).

This shift away from manual methods has given rise to several features that make WFM beneficial to employees and employers alike. Let’s explore four of the top features and how they can elevate your employee experience.

On artificial intelligence (AI)

Today, AI can take in so much more information than could ever be included in Erlang C calculations (the manual method of measuring and predicting telephony loads that were based on a set of assumptions — including, potentially, wrong assumptions that could cause the equations to fail). Data points like average speed of answer, average handle time, abandonment rates, and others can easily be collected and analyzed to determine eerily accurate volume forecasts. When you combine this information with a variety of “What If?” scenarios, you can create precise schedules weeks ahead of time that minimize headcount (and labor costs) and maximize efficiency while keeping up with seasonal fluctuations.

On real-time insights

One of the biggest differences between the WFM tools of yesterday and today is the level of input needed for useful insights. More than ever, the system works for you — rather than the other way around. Today’s systems will alert you if something is going not as planned as it’s happening, including high interaction volume, high handle times, and missed service level goals. This expanded functionality allows companies to be more proactive because they can see in real time the degree to which negative events impact their contact center operations.

On speech analytics

Many features, like speech analytics, are in the infancy stages of development and implementation. But the potential is huge. Imagine a speech analytics engine that watches for certain keywords, phrases, or sentiments from customers. It could be used to determine what type of issues an agent consistently does well on — and what issues an agent may need further training on. It might even be used to determine what times of day an agent received better customer scores — allowing you to adjust schedules to directly optimize results. There is a bright future for speech analytics in WFM, and most of it is unwritten so far.

On Agent Assist

Agent Assist is a tool that provides agents with information and guidance from your knowledge management system as they’re working with customers. By putting the instructions at their fingertips, Agent Assist allows agents to give their full attention to their voice or chat conversation — a difference that customers feel and appreciate. The process also ensures the pre-approved processes are cost-effective, consistent, and carried out error-free across your scores of agents.

With an enhanced ability to do more with less, now is the time to think about how WFM — and WEM — fit into your business model. Brushing up on workforce scheduling techniques and employee engagement strategy could be the difference in staying ahead of the curve or being left behind.

Optimize for the Future with TTEC Digital

With more than 40 years of contact center experience, TTEC Digital can help you make sense of these WFM developments and design a forward-thinking ecosystem that works in concert to boost your customer experience, your agent experience, and your bottom line.

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Robert Wakefield-Carl

About the Author

Robert Wakefield-Carl

Senior Director, Innovation Architects
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