OI Blog


Peter Iansek

CEO & Co-Founder

Peter Iansek


Oct 2023
OI Blog
Oct 2023

What is Contact Center Workforce Management? Your 2023 Guide

What is Contact Center Workforce Management? Your 2023 Guide
Peter Iansek


Peter Iansek

CEO & Co-Founder

Table of Contents:

  • What is Workforce Management? == What is Workforce Management?
  • Key Elements of Contact Center Workforce Management == Key Elements of Contact Center Workforce Management
  • Contact Center Workforce Management Benefits == Contact Center Workforce Management Benefits
  • Best WFM Software for Contact Centers == Best WFM Software for Contact Centers
  • Improve Your Contact Center Workforce Management == Improve Your Contact Center Workforce Management

What is Workforce Management?

Workforce management refers to the set of activities and processes implemented by organizations to optimize and manage their workforce effectively. It involves various aspects related to workforce planning, scheduling, forecasting, and performance management. 

The primary goal of workforce management is to ensure that the right number of employees, with the necessary skills and experience, are available at the right time to meet business demands while minimizing costs and maximizing productivity. 

Call and Contact Center Workforce Management

Businesses often use call and contact center agents to be the primary points of engagement with their customers. These centers are often designed to manage a large number of inbound and outbound calls, emails, chats, and other forms of customer communication. To ensure that these centers run smoothly, call and contact center workforce management is important.

Call and contact center WFM is a process that involves the optimization of human resources in terms of capacity planning, scheduling, adherence management, and performance tracking. It’s a strategic and data-driven approach that maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of a contact center's workforce. 

By effectively managing these aspects, contact center managers can ensure optimal staffing levels, reduce wait times, enhance service quality, and improve overall customer satisfaction.

Workforce Management In BPOs

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies provide various services, such as customer support, technical assistance, back-office operations, and more, on behalf of their clients. These companies handle large volumes of customer interactions and require efficient workforce management to ensure operational effectiveness and deliver high-quality service.

Workforce management in BPOs involves strategic planning and execution to optimize the utilization of available resources. This encompasses various activities such as forecasting call volumes, scheduling agents, monitoring real-time adherence, and analyzing performance metrics.

Key Elements of Contact Center Workforce Management

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1. Forecasting

WFM forecasting is about predicting the workload that the center will face in the coming days, weeks, or months. It’s an essential component of workforce management in a contact center because it helps determine the number of agents that are needed to handle the incoming volume of contacts.

Contact centers carry out forecasting by collecting and analyzing historical data on the number of contacts that have arrived at the contact center, and the average handle time (AHT) for each contact. Once the historical data has been analyzed, the next step is to predict the future volume of contacts and AHT. 

Business intelligence can also be applied to the forecast by adding variables that aren’t necessarily historical data but may impact the volume of contacts in the future.  These variables may include marketing campaigns, corporate strategy, organizational changes, and other factors. 

2. Agent Scheduling & Assignments

After the workload is predicted through forecasting, the workforce must be organized and scheduled to meet that demand. This includes assigning agents to specific tasks, scheduling their shifts, and ensuring that they have the necessary tools and resources to perform their work effectively. 

Proper scheduling helps ensure that there are enough agents available to meet customer demand without over- or under-staffing. Optimized scheduling takes factors like agent availability, agent preferences, and skill level into account. 

Optimized scheduling helps: 

  • Maximize schedule efficiency 
  • Enable the consistent achievement of service level goals
  • Minimize employment costs 
  • Avoid agent stress and burnout

Agent scheduling and assignments are optimal when combined with agent engagement and support. When agents are engaged in decision making processes, there is a reduced risk of being detached from customers or quitting their jobs. More flexibility with their calendar through adequate time off and clear shift preferences will also keep agents motivated and productive. 

Supporting your agents involves providing access to the tools and resources that they need to attend to customers at the highest standard. By utilizing the appropriate tools, it’s possible to minimize customer waiting time and enhance workload efficiency by automating the majority of tasks.

3. Daily Workforce Management

To ensure customer satisfaction, contact centers must monitor real-time data to identify any fluctuations in call volume, abandon rates, service level, and other KPIs. Some daily management activities include: 

  • Monitoring performance metrics and creating reports 
  • Tracking agent attendance
  • Managing call routing 
  • Providing coaching and training to agents as needed

Daily management allows contact centers to react swiftly and effectively to unexpected events so that KPIs are reached. Without it, efforts spent on forecasting and scheduling may be wasted. 

The entire process is all about ensuring that the center is running smoothly and that customer service is meeting or exceeding expectations. Therefore, regular performance reviews and continuous improvement efforts are essential to maintaining a high level of service quality and productive staff.

Contact Center Workforce Management Benefits

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Improved Customer Experience

Every customer interaction is an opportunity to build a positive relationship and improve their loyalty. With workforce management, you can ensure that the right agents with the right skills are available to handle customer requests and complaints in a timely and professional manner. WFM also helps you respond more effectively to peak call volumes and seasonal variations, which ensures that every customer receives the attention they deserve.

This leads to faster complaints resolution, reduced wait times, and higher customer satisfaction rates. 

Efficient Employee Performance

Your employees are the lifeblood of your organization–and their productivity and job satisfaction are crucial to maintaining a successful contact center. WFM enables you to create clear expectations for agents and provide them with the training and resources they need. 

Agents are more empowered to focus their energies on serving customers– leading to increased motivation, higher productivity, and better output from the workforce.

Reduced Costs

WFM can help you identify areas for reduced staffing and efficiency improvement. For example, if you notice that there is a particular time of day with lower call volume, you can adjust staffing accordingly, which can lead to savings on labor costs. 

By analyzing data and forecasting demand, contact center managers can determine the optimal number of agents to have on duty at any given time. This helps to strike a balance between customer needs and operational costs, resulting in a more efficient and profitable contact center.

Best WFM Software for Contact Centers

Let’s explore some of the best WFM software options for contact centers and their key features.

1. Employee Scheduling Tools

group work designation

Employee scheduling tools are designed to help businesses manage their workforce and schedule employees more efficiently. They provide various features, including shift planning, scheduling, and communication, and can be used by managers, business owners, and HR professionals.

Most employee scheduling tools allow managers to monitor shift coverage, predict staffing needs, and track employee attendance and performance. Some employee scheduling tools come with features to enable employees to view and manage their schedules, interact with colleagues and supervisors, and also request time off. 

Employee scheduling tools enable collaboration and flexibility for employees, which can lead to an improved work-life balance. 

Top Tools: 

  • Nextiva 
  • Genesys 
  • Five9
  • Talkdesk

2. Contact Center Insight & Analytics Software

Operative Intelligence provides insights into all inquiry types

Contact center insights and analytics software are tools used to collect, measure, and analyze customer data. The insights obtained from contact center analytics help businesses develop practical strategies for improving the overall customer experience, including customer retention and feedback, agent performance, and objective decision-making. 

These insights can include: 

  • Customer analytics: Identifies and retains the most profitable customers across various business and social platforms and suggests proactive ways to engage with them. Key metrics used in customer analytics include; Sentiment analysis, Customer Effort Score, Customer Retention, and Net Promoter Score (NPS).
  • Agent analytics: Monitors and evaluates agent performance to enhance their productivity and effectiveness. Enables managers to track the center's performance through dashboards, identify areas that require improvement, and make data-driven decisions. Key metrics include First Contact Resolution (FCR), Average Handling Time (AHT), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), After Call Work (ACW), and Average Talk Time (ATT).
  • Speech analytics: Utilizes artificial intelligence to comprehend, interpret, and analyze human speech. Contact centers employ speech analytics for functions such as speech recognition, speech-to-text translations, and sentiment analysis. Key metrics include agent effectiveness, customer effort and agent effort, and quality assurance.
  • Employee engagement analytics: Combines employee engagement data with other HR and non-HR data sources to identify, monitor and report factors that impact retention and job satisfaction. Allows organizations to identify recurring patterns in their workforce, pinpoint underlying causes, and develop solutions. Key metrics include employee engagement, job satisfaction, retention rates, and attrition rates.
  • Predictive analytics: Utilizes data mining and mathematical modeling techniques to detect data patterns and anticipate future events, particularly customer behavior. It enables identifying potential issues and recommending solutions by analyzing past customer behavior. Managers can use these predictions to determine staffing needs. Key metrics include conversion rates, churn rates, employee and customer engagement, and workforce requirements.
  • Text analytics: Extracts useful information from natural language text data from various sources like emails, phone transcripts, customer reviews, surveys, and other documents. Enables contact centers to identify patterns and trends, understand the proportion of customer issues, and make necessary improvements to products, services, and customer support based on feedback. Key metrics include sentiment analysis, customer satisfaction (CSAT), agent effectiveness, and interaction cost. 

Top Tools: 

The best software for contact center insights and analytics is Operative Intelligence. Operative Intelligence is an advanced analytics platform designed for enterprise call and contact centers. The platform automatically transforms an organization's existing contact center data into practical insights using AI technology. 

Operative Intelligence's AI capabilities can help businesses identify and analyze: 

  • The underlying reasons why customers contact support at scale
  • Volume, workload, cost, sentiment, satisfaction, and resolution of all inquiry drivers 
  • Underlying causes of consumer complaints and their financial costs to the business
  • Best opportunities for contact center automation
  • Expected ROI for each automation opportunity
  • Causes of  increased handle time and how to fix it 
  • Factors driving negative customer sentiment and satisfaction
  • Agent effectiveness by analyzing resolution and satisfaction rates for all queries. 

Operative Intelligence gives you a complete view of your customer journey and contact center performance. And the platform doesn’t require any additional resources or training to implement, making it a fast and efficient solution. With a quick implementation timeline of just two weeks, teams can start leveraging valuable business insights in no time.

3. Reporting Tools


Reporting tools are essential for tracking and documenting important data to improve operational efficiencies, and enhance customer experiences. These tools allow contact center managers to access real-time and historical data, analyze trends and patterns, and generate reports that can help them make informed decisions.

One of the most valuable features of reporting tools in contact center WFM is the ability to monitor agent performance, and compliance. For example, managers can use these tools to analyze call volume trends, identify peak times for incoming calls, and determine which channels customers prefer to use when contacting the contact center. With this information, managers can adjust staffing levels and optimize workflows.

Top Tools: 

  • Operative intelligence 
  • Talkdesk
  • Five9 
  • Genesys 
  • Amazon Connect

Improve Your Contact Center Workforce Management

Great contact center workforce workforce management practices in place, you can improve the overall customer experience, enhance your employees' performance, and reduce operational costs. 

Operative Intelligence automatically transforms your organization's existing call center data into actionable insights in just two weeks without requiring huge teams of data analysts or thousands of dollars of investments–giving you time to focus on delivering the best possible service to your customers. 

Advanced analytics enables contact center leaders to engage in data-based conversations with leadership, resulting in better products, services, and increased customer satisfaction.

Don't wait to give your customers the best. 

Book your free demo with Operative Intelligence.

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