In this week’s guest blog, Ben Willmott from our partners Teleopti explains how to leverage the latest workforce management (WFM) solutions and make quick-and-easy wins to maximise return on investment (ROI).
Workforce Management (WFM) solutions are a wonderful thing. They can be all things to all people, offering multi-dimensional value when it comes to driving improvements in employee engagement, customer experience and profitability.
Let’s focus on one challenge that never goes away and affects every single contact center around the world, large and small: how do you improve customer satisfaction and decrease costs at the same time?
Teleopti have developed an online Savings Calculator that uses data captured from real customers to estimate the potential savings from a given start point. When this calculator was used for Sparkly Boots Ltd, a fictitious example of a typical medium-sized contact centre, the results are startling.
With 250 agents each costing £1,950 a month, sickness rates running at 6% and an annual attrition rate of 23%, it is expected to take just eight months from initial deployment to achieve a return on the WFM technology along with several staggering improvements in time and cost savings:
- Total cost savings of £66,628 (mainly through optimized schedules and more efficient schedule adherence);
- Estimated annual time savings of 5,653 hours through better scheduling and adherence alone, nearly 500 hours every month!
- Anticipated savings of around 4% on sickness and staff attrition rates year-on-year.
So, what’s the secret behind Sparkly Boots Ltd impressive payback on their investment in WFM and how can you achieve similar successes?
3 ways to leverage your WFM and drive ROI
Like many success stories, you can’t achieve everything through technology alone. Process and technology make perfect partners and it pays to take a considered, carefully planned approach to your WFM implementation and usage. Here are three steps to get you started:
1. Bring the workforce with you on the journey
The majority of the savings and benefits that a WFM platform can deliver will be directly linked to your agents’ work life. For example, introduction of more flexible scheduling will almost certainly improve your ability to meet customer demand efficiently and minimize periods of overstaffing and understaffing but needs to be managed carefully in order to ensure agent engagement. Offering benefits such as holiday bookings and automation, preference entry and shift trading to give more control over future schedules and access through a mobile app can help to ensure that the agents are with you as you start the WFM journey rather than against you. Seeking to gain insight and communicating clearly with all stakeholders from early on in the project is key. Most Teleopti customers see a reduction in shrinkage and attrition after implementing Teleopti WFM.
2. Ensure your forecasting is as accurate as possible
Understanding your customer demand is key to meeting your service levels and keeping your customers happy. A schedule perfectly tailored to an incorrect forecast will not do the job! Make sure that external factors are considered in your long and short-term forecasts, including strategic plans and ad hoc events. Make sure that your marketing team and other departments that directly impact your contact centre volumes and handle times let you know when they undertake activities such as mailing campaigns so you can build this into your forecast plans and optimize your schedule accordingly. Keep an eye on your forecast vs. actual results from a long-term and intraday perspective to ensure that you can react to any trends that threaten to impact your schedule performance without resorting to expensive options like last minute overtime or agency staff. A balanced and consistent workload make for happy agents as well as satisfied customers.
3. Focus on the quick and easy wins that matter!
Shaving excess from the payroll is a sure-fire way of saving money, boosting efficiencies and keeping your CFO happy. This could take the form of reduced overtime, better annual leave planning removing the need to pay out for untaken leave or introducing more flexibility in the agent’s contracts.
Let’s assume that everyone in your 100-agent contact centre works a 40-hour work week. How often do you actually need all of your agents working all 40 hours every week? What if you were to set up your WFM solution to give a range of hours between 38 and 40 hours? Shaving a mere two hours a week across half of your agents quickly turns into significant payroll savings: 2 hours per week x 50% of your agents x £15/hour x 52 weeks = £78,000 of payroll savings per year. I’m sure you’ll agree this is one simple but very effective way to make incredible financial savings!
Now, look at your own contact centre – what other ways could you use to reduce costs with the same number of people? You’ll be surprised at the number of creative ideas you can come up with.
It’s time to take proactive action. Plan ahead, deploy the right technology and focus on some quick wins to drive ROI. Follow this three-pronged approach and you’ll be rewarded with engaged and positive employees who in turn will help you meet the eternal challenge of delivering customer satisfaction and profitability.
Check out the free online Savings Calculator to reveal more about the savings could achieve in your own contact centre through leveraging WFM.