Workforce management (WFM) is a huge deal, but it’s not your fault if you’ve never heard about it. There are a lot of reasons people don’t talk about WFM, not the least of which is it’s a topic that continually evolves as our workforces do. It’s a tough thing to get a clear picture of, so it often gets skipped.
I want to bring WFM out of the shadows because I think it’s something we should all embrace. If you’ve ever owned a company, managed a team, or worked with a group, you’ve probably encountered a WFM issue in some form.
WFM is having the right people in the right channel at the right time so they can take care of your customers and hit your service level targets and future goals.
One more time for the people in the back:
Workforce Management is having the right people in the right channel at the right time so they can take care of your customers and hit your service level targets and future goals.
What issues does WFM tackle?
WFM makes a massive difference for anyone working in CX. I’ve listed a few of the most frustrating tasks that people often try to address manually when they could just be using WFM solutions.
If you’ve ever felt frustrated with any of these, it’s possible you need WFM:
- Spreadsheets — Everyone who has scheduled (or attempted to schedule) a team using a spreadsheet knows it’s a nightmare.
- Real-time monitoring — What’s everyone doing? Do they need help? Lack of visibility means issues can persist unaddressed for way too long. Similarly, when someone is rocking their job, it can be tough to know until you look back months later.
- Schedule adherence — Wondering if your team is on track and doing what you need them to do? How do you know if agents are sticking to their schedule?
- Measure breaks & lunch — Everyone deserves a break, but those looong lunches can eat away at productivity.
- Track unproductive times — Even if someone’s at their desk, it’s great to know if they’re spending their time wisely.
- Shift trades — Agents trading shifts via chat or email can be chaos. These informal agreements can turn into significant communications breakdowns and even missed shifts.
- Time off — Just try and coordinate the holidays using spreadsheets and emails. I dare you.
Basically, WFM swoops in to act as a bridge between the transparency managers need and the tools that can help empower agents.
It’s your right-hand man.
Managing your workforce takes one hell of a strategic approach. That’s why WFM is so great. It helps you build solutions that are logical, clear, and trustworthy, so everyone is on the same page.
Let me give you an example, say your company has planned a huge launch for June that will come with tons of new sales, CX questions, and could boost the chat/phone/email traffic by a factor of three. How will you know the number of agents you need? Well, you could just triple the number of agents, but that’s hardly efficient.
Instead, with WFM, you can look at past trends (was June typically a higher-volume month anyway?), current scheduling, and approach it logically. You can also take a look at your star performers by checking their stats and get them to mentor new hires.
Instead of throwing money at the problem and hoping it all works out, WFM gives you a well-thought-out approach your company’s leadership will appreciate.
It’s not all sunshine and roses.
Alright, I’ve got to be honest, WFM isn’t perfect. But what is? Still, let me address some questions you might have about it because I owe you a crystal-clear view of this since I’m such a strong advocate.
- How do I keep it from feeling like “Big Brother”? This question makes a lot of sense because real-time monitoring and tracking can feel somewhat invasive. It’s essential to build trust within your team. Don’t hover and micromanage because people will look for ways to circumvent the tracking then. Use it as a gentle coaching method, a way to cheer people on, and help your team see the value in it (making their jobs easier and flow more seamlessly).
- Why would I need this for my tiny team? You want to be a bigger team someday, right? Putting all of this into practice now means you’ll have everything ready to support growth. As your team scales, your WFM strategy will support it and create an environment that allows you to adapt to rapid change.
- What if my workforce doesn’t adopt the new tech? This is a huge worry, and I get it. My advice would be to recruit champions from your agent pool. Ask some of your highest performers to try out the WFM solution you choose and give you feedback. Once you’ve got a good flow going, ask them to help you train the other agents and share the benefits. It’ll take patience, but the first time someone trades a shift without an endless email chain, that lightbulb will go off.
Get into WFM
Questions? I’m happy to answer them. I could talk about WFM all day. But I hope this post successfully shared a bit of my enthusiasm with you because WFM is honestly so useful. Most importantly, I hope you and your CX team find some WFM solutions that make your jobs easier, because especially now, we could all really use that.
We’re Tymeshift, an effortless WFM solution made exclusively for Zendesk to make workforce managers’ lives easier. Our workforce management tools include shift scheduling, forecasting and analytics. A perfectly intuitive Zendesk integration makes your CX agents’ lives easier. Learn all there is about us and our product on tymeshift.com