In the era of demographic shifts and knowledge dominated economy a skilled, focused workforce is a critical business differentiator. However, for most organizations keeping the workforce aligned to business goals is a significant challenge. As they need to not only attract and retain talent, but also fully optimize this talent.
The bottom line of every organization is to enhance their profit margins and customer experience. This can be attained by optimizing manpower utilization and exploring the opportunities of workforce management. While companies clearly comprehend that their workforce is critical, they often don’t have the information/resources needed to make strategic decisions about how to make the best use of their talent.
Paul Najdzin, sales engineer, Pipkins, Inc. was quoted, ”Workforce Management is the science of optimizing contact center resources, both technological and human, to effectively service incoming contacts. This includes the forecasting of calls, emails, chat, back-office work etc., generating optimal headcount requirements, scheduling the agent resources, reporting and tracking effectiveness and managing intra-day and future planning.”
The cycle embraces planning, execution, and analysis required to deliver the right number of agents, each moment of every day, to handle customer contact demand.
WFM software is a tool designed to assure that the call volumes are met by optimum number and type of agents that are available throughout the working hours. This provides the highest level of customer care possible.
The white paper titled 'Getting the Right People in the Right Place at the Right Time for a Better Customer Experience' by ICMI states, “What we found troubling about the results in our 2010 WFM research is that many contact centers do not forecast their entire workload at the interval level. Contact centers can actually hurt service level performance by getting agents to adhere to schedules that are not a good fit to requirements.”
Currently, most BPO outfits work with an inhouse workforce management team. However, there is an increasing trend of companies moving towards outsourcing this activity to specialized vendors who have the proven techniques, skills and ability to bring about the desired improvements.
Workforce management system is an utmost requisite for every call center. Recent ICMI research shows a marked increase in contact centers investments in workforce management personnel and systems over the past two years.
There are multiple factors that drive an organization to outsource Workforce Management.
Krishna Baidya, Industry Manager, FROST & SULLIVAN articulated, “One of the key drivers for workforce management outsourcing is to gain access to suitable employees and workforce management capabilities aligned with need of the hour or long-term organizational objective without the cost associated with otherwise associated process such as hiring, training, support internal staff and more so for technology implementation and maintenance.”
Varying levels of scheduling, time and attendance are provided by vendors. Either themselves or through third-party vendors they also offer copious choices for data collection, employee self-service, reporting, analytics and other niche workforce management functionality. WFM service providers are acknowledged for advanced capabilities across all core application areas, user interaction methods, and other factors that contribute to quicker deployment and user adoption.
Speaking about the drivers behind outsourcing WFM Ravi Vij, Director, Quality and WFM/MIS, Tech Mahindra said, “Primarily, the reasons being lack of core competency in Workforce Management practice, burden to procure a workforce management tool, challenges in administering and maintaining the tool etc. Also, with the growth of business and addition in manpower, there will be a need for an additional investment to procure licenses to operate the tool whereas in an outsourced model, the entire burden of investment might rest with the vendor depending on the pricing model agreed between the two parties.”