A substantial proportion of the costs of operating a call center are associated with call center agents. These costs not only comprise their salaries, but also the equipment they use and the call center software that drives that equipment. Given that fact, it makes sense that optimizing your company’s workforce with workforce management (WFM) represents a smart strategy. Specifically, embracing the flexibility that increasingly defines the 21st century workforce and empowering your call center agents to control more of their own workplace situation allows them to perform at a higher level, and often translates to a healthier bottom line for your company.

Workforce Management Defined

Workforce management is defined by a set of procedures that are utilized to optimize the efficiency and overall performance of a company’s workforce. In relationship to a call center, WFM strategies relate to the volume and quality of transactions between call center agents and customers or clients. The information gathered through WFM analysis is used for a number of purposes: budgeting for needed personnel and equipment, along with staff scheduling and vacation allocation. Call center-related WFM strategies are also instrumental in tracking employee attendance and time spent on specific tasks, compliance with company policies and gauging overall employee performance.

Embrace Workplace Flexibility

The days when everyone showed up to work at the same time, worked a uniform number of hours and clocked out at the stroke of 5 o’clock are long gone. Today’s workforce not only works staggered hours, but is also often scattered across the country, or even around the globe. WFM also means embracing workplace flexibility. Feedback powered by artificial intelligence, collaborative interactions to improve workplace morale and experimentation with strategies such as a four-day workweek can make it possible for your company and your employees to do more with less, without feeling exploited or overburdened.

Empower Call Center Agents

Proper implementation of call center software coupled with policies that empower call center agents is an especially effective implementation of WFM. For instance, in a hybrid call center, AI can be used to determine the most efficient means of dealing with non-call-related activities, such as data entry that demands an excessive amount of a call agent’s time. Automated WFM procedures can also identify shortfalls in the capabilities of agents in your company’s call centers, along with likely in-house candidates for upskill training.

Likewise, allowing call center employees with the latitude to swap shifts, apply for vacation time and make other schedule adjustments eases the burden of assigning these tasks to a single office manager or human relations officer. As a bonus, employees who are allowed this type of latitude tend to be happier in their jobs — which translates to less turnover.

Workforce Management and Workforce Optimization

Workforce management has come a long way from the days when the emphasis was strictly on enforcement of attendance and workplace policy. Compliance still plays a significant role in WFM; however, today’s model is more collaborative rather than on imposing discipline or punishment. Call center software plays a pivotal role in allowing your company to navigate an increasingly flexible workplace environment. Likewise, WFM procedures, enhanced by AI-driven software, empowers your employees to work more efficiently, often resulting in higher morale, reduced turnover, increased customer satisfaction and an overall healthier bottom line for your company — a win-win for all parties.