As Tymeshift’s Partnerships Executive, I have the pleasure of speaking with hundreds of different types of people, spread over different companies across the globe and all in different sectors, ranging from B2B, B2C, SaaS to even the good old fashioned Brick and Mortar businesses, you name it. And the truth is, whichever line of work our customers and leads are in, many of them experience the same WFM pain points.
Knowing which WFM pain points are more common is extremely valuable to us at Tymeshift, as it for example helps us prioritize the features we choose to develop. Features like our Forecast which allows customers to view and manipulate the inbound volume and predict the staffing requirements of each channel.
But it is also important for you, whether you are a workforce manager, the Headhead of CX, or a small business owner, because all WFM pain points come in many shapes and forms and this just goes to show that you are not alone.
So sit down, relax, make yourself a cup of Matcha, and check out this list of the 10 most common WFM pain points out there.
1. Visibility: “I have no idea what my team is working on, for how long and when”
Without a solid WFM solution, many workforce managers and departmental heads feel like they only have two options: micromanage or remain in the dark completely. The truth is, time tracking and time management are a critical part of the job and data like this holds much more value than just seeing who is a top performing agent versus who is slacking off.
It allows you to for example see which agent is working on what query and determine whether they might need additional support, for example through displaying potential gaps in their day to day performance. Not to mention the ability to report on this data which can give you numerous insights and visibility so that you can make informed decisions about your team’s capacity and workload.
2. Time Consuming: “We are sick and tired of creating spreadsheets for scheduling and forecasting purposes”
Sometimes you would rather walk through fire than have to swap yet another shift on a spreadsheet. Believe me, we know.
Plus forecasting and scheduling on spreadsheets can take up a ton of time, not to mention the human error that can occur while building these manually.
Well good news: this is one WFM pain point that is easy to tackle. Tymeshift is a solution that can essentially do everything a spreadsheet can – BUT it can do it faster, easier and better. Think of all the time you could win back!
3. Keeping Up With Growth: “How many new support agents should my company hire if it is growing?”
This is what we like to call “a good problem.” It’s great that your company is growing. It’s great that you are having an increase in customers which in turn is demanding an increase in customer support agents.
So first of all, congratulations!
Now, all you have to do is start forecasting this growth so that you can make calculated staffing decisions. If you have been using Zendesk for a while, our forecasting feature allows you to use all that contact volume data stored within Zendesk. And if you are new to Zendesk, well, don’t worry: we can work with as little as 30 days of Zendesk data.
Plus, being able to see how many agents are working on each channel can help you for example, determine whether you are over or understaffed in any given moment.
(BTW, check out what makes our forecasting so accurate)
4. Lack of Efficiency: “I’m not reacting quickly enough, I’m making all my the decisions after the fact”
You know what they say, hindsight is 20/20? One of the most common WFM pain points is exactly that: a feeling that you are either not alerted fast enough when a problem occurs, or that you only find out about it at the end of the shift, day or week.
Having a visual on your teams and individual agents’ activity in real time allows you, your managers and/or admins to for example see potential gaps in schedule adherence or within the schedule itself and react accordingly.
Having the ability to manage your team in real time can make a huge difference to you, your support agents and your customers.
5. Team Management: “Managing so many support agents is getting hard to do”
Your support agents are (and always will be) people. They will need time off for personal reasons (or just to avoid exhaustion). They will call in sick. Their personal schedule might change, so they will want to trade shifts or take time off.
It’s natural and there is nothing wrong with any of that.
But, if you are the person handling all of that on a regular basis, it’s natural that you are going to struggle a bit. And as your support team grows, so does this problem.
You will need to increase the number of workforce managers or team leads so that each of them is responsible for a smaller group of support agents, or get a WFM solution like Tymeshift that will make it easier to manage situations like this.
6. Overtime: “I’m losing track of who worked overtime”
Working overtime. We all do it (or have done it) and in the support world it is also often encouraged. But how does one keep track of all those hours of overtime?
That is where Tymeshift comes in. Our WFM solution is able to log in the hours worked and display this in a table format so you can properly visualize and report on who has worked those extra hours and put in that extra effort.
7. Losing Focus: “I’m not 100% certain how accurate my SLA’s are”
Metrics have become more important than ever. Most businesses work with OKR’s and KPI’s to track individual performance to attribute bonuses and promotions. And if there is one area where metrics matter, it is in the CX and CS space.
You will want to have well established SLA’s for your support team to have clear objectives and to make sure your customers are getting the support they deserve. But establishing SLA’s is meaningless if you are not able to measure your WFM metrics, like the FRT (First Response Time) and AHT (Average Handle Time) accurately.
Once again, this is something that is quite challenging to do manually, but quite easy to do with a WFM solution like Tymeshift.
8. Multi-Locations: “My team is located in different time zones and locations”
This one has been coming up quite frequently. Perhaps because more companies are going fully remote: you might be surprised to learn that in 2022, 4.7 million people work remotely at least half the time in the United States – and 16% of American businesses are now hiring remotely.
At Tymeshift, we have teams based in North America, Portugal and Serbia – so we are no strangers to the difficulties and challenges that different time zones create.
That’s why we are happy to have created a solution that helps both agents and their managers with these unique challenges.For example, our Autoschedule allows organisations to create a schedule based on the various locations and time zones it may have. The schedule will then generate and adhere to the parameters you have set.
9. Schedule Adherence: “I spend so much time creating schedules – but how do I know if they are actually being adhered to?”
Schedule adherence is by far one of the most important WFM metrics. In our WFM metrics blogpost, you might remember we defined it like this:
Schedule adherence is the percentage of time an agent spends per scheduled activity. This metric monitors whether or not an agent is working on their assigned roles per shift. Tracking it is a great way to understand how an agent sticks to their schedule – or whether they don’t.
Basically, schedule adherence is the metric that measures whether or not your agents are sticking to the schedule.
Tymeshift does not only help you create the schedules, the solution helps you measure more accurately whether your agents are adhering to these schedules by giving you a percentage of their individual schedule adherence on that given day. Say goodbye to micro-managing and hello to data!
10. Teams Going Remote: “I have no visibility over my now remote support teams’’
Some workforce managers or team leads feel uncomfortable admitting that they need more visibility over their agents. Especially if you work in an informal environment, family business or edgy startup, you might associate knowing what your agents are doing with corporate or call-center culture.
And you definitely don’t want to be seen as a ‘Big Brother is watching you’ type of manager by running things in an oppressive manner.
At Tymeshift we see it exactly as the opposite of that. If you don’t have visibility over your agents, how do you identify and reward your stars? Who can you turn into mentors for onboarding new agents? Who could promote to be your next project manager?
Without this helpful information and visibility you might be alienating, demotivating or losing top talent.
That’s why for us, having visibility on your agent’s activity and productivity – and being able to report on this – is so important. And with so many support teams going remote – a trend we were already seeing, although the pandemic definitely sped this up, this can be even more important than it ever was.
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