Today’s consumers are more demanding than ever; exposed to an array of options and providers for all facets of their daily lives, and with switching providers becoming easier, keeping your customers happy is a major priority for any business.

Within this fast-paced environment, a key component of client satisfaction is an effective contact centre. However, how can businesses ensure that they have the correct number of agents available to manage all multichannel traffic, both inbound and outbound?

Enter workforce management (WFM), which centres on having the right number of skilled people, supporting resources in the right place at the right time, to meet the desired service levels and accurately forecasted workload.
“Forecasting is the key element in WFM; the more accurate the forecast the better the planning and decision making will be in the business,” says Cecilia Jofré, business development and account management executive of South African owned integrated solutions specialist, Intuate Group.

“Accurate forecasting also greatly assists in contact centre recruitment: if the business knows the future work load it will be easy to identify the staffing requirements.”

An effective workforce management tool will remove the conjecture in contact centre planning as it balances the demands of planned business activities (such as outbound multichannel interactions, albeit calls or e-mails and so on) with the client’s service level expectations with inbound interactions.

“When contacting a business, clients have a limited initial engagement time within which the organisation must ensure that the interaction is handled effectively to meet that expectation. This will set the tone for the remainder of the communication, so it is critical that this expectation is met as quickly as possible; an adequately skilled agent must be available to handle the interaction and to elicit the desired outcome, be that a sale, a query resolution, or a promise to pay,” continues Jofré.

Workforce management tools also help contact centre managers to understand and appropriately manage those “what if” scenarios, such as a sudden influx of calls or an unexpected large absence in the team, as well as managing daily issues such as holiday leave requests.

The Noble ShiftTrack Workforce Management software provides a platform for optimising resource performance by helping contact centres to forecast and plan more accurately and schedule staff more effectively. ShiftTrack generates accurate forecasts by using historical information, thus predicting future activity volumes and determining the number of staff required to meet these volumes.

ShiftTrack offers both short and long term forecasting tools, multi-media forecasting, and campaign modelling. Forecasting for special event days (such as public holidays, sales campaigns and seasonal trends) and shrinkage (including sickness, training and annual leave) can also be incorporated into the staff forecast, along with “what if” scenarios.

With the ShiftTrack WFM tool staff and resources can be scheduled across one or multiple sites with fixed, flexible, or rotational schedules being automatically generated, based upon the organisation’s requirements and staff availability, across the entire value chain for exceptional efficiencies. By producing schedules that match the predicted forecast, over and under staffing is minimised and efficiencies are realised. Intra-day management allows for real time adjustments for unforeseen eventualities. The tool also determines the optimum mix of shift lengths and start times, and allows for the scheduling of meetings and training sessions.

“ShiftTrack contains a range of sophisticated but easy to use tools that generate and manage staff schedules to suit both the overall business requirements and the culture of any organisation. This easy-to-use, functionally rich workforce management solution can be deployed in contact centres of all sizes, and can be integrated into other platforms as needed,” concludes Jofré.

Intuate Group is a preferred local partner of Noble Systems Corporation.