Choosing the Right Workforce Optimization Platform for Your Business

Workforce Optimization solutions, when well implemented, support agent efficiency, productivity, and your bottom line. Choosing the right platform for your business can be complex. And understanding the questions to ask along the way, an even more involved process. We’ll dive in below to some of the key benefits of WFO as well as areas to consider when seeking a platform.

What is Workforce Optimization (WFO)? 

Workforce Optimization is a business strategy that assists in promoting operational efficiency within the contact center. WFO can involve various aspects, including workforce management, quality management, and various analytics. The areas employed vary from company to company, often depending on vertical and overall business objectives. 

WFO often involves one or more of these four areas:  

  1. Quality Management
    This involves your call recordings and your evaluation forms. It can be coupled with speech and desktop analytics to provide insight into the conversations and behaviors of your agents.
  2. Performance Management  This is the KPI metrics in reporting, which is often the focus of most contact centers.
  3. Workforce Management  WFM entails forecasting your calls and your agents and scheduling and tracking your agents. Done well, this leads to an efficiently run contact center where you can know what your agents are doing day-to-day.
  4. Optimization for the Call CenterCall centers use WFO to improve workforce management and agent performance.

Workforce optimization can also focus on broader areas such as learning management, knowledge management, and process automation. 

6 Key benefits of having the right WFO platform 

As you identify and choose a WFO platform, it’s helpful to understand the full extent of how workforce optimization strategies can benefit your business both today and in the future. Here are six ways the right platform could help. 

  1. Correct staffing/understaffing
    One of the things that WFO will do for nearly any business almost immediately is to help correct its staffing needs. Your staffing (understaffed or overstaffed) issues will directly impact the other problems you face in the contact center.
  2. Real-time monitoring of agent activity and productivity 
    In today’s work-from-home model, this technology is even more critical. Where you could previously walk over to a desk or cubicle, you now need tools to manage the team’s performance remotely.
  3. Manage shifts and time-off requests
    In-house, this was often done as a manual task (in Excel) by many contact centers. With a remote or blended team, you need a streamlined process to manage shift changes and time-off requests. A WFO platform allows you to automate this around your business constraints while giving agents some ownership of their time off and shift trades.
  4. Monitor call quality and agent performance
    WFO with speech and desktop analytics can support analysis, evaluations, and predictive performance scoring more than simply listening to calls. You can determine the areas where agents excel and praise them accordingly and where they may fall short of providing a stellar customer experience.
  5. Uncover keywords customers are using 
    Uncover keywords your customers use – whether in calls, reviews, or surveys – and make changes to improve customer service. For example, what if you realize that you receive a larger-than-average call volume on a specific issue, like late shipment? You can then send out a proactive notification to customers to offload some of that call volume.
  6. Provide KPI measurements and reporting
    Every WFO solution will provide you with a variety of key performance metrics, which can usually be fine-tuned to provide success metrics most important to your business.

How to find the right WFO platform for your contact center 

Now that you understand how a platform can support your contact center, here’s the detailed process on how you can go about selecting a WFO platform that’s right for your business. This process begins with an assessment of your contact center. 

Determine what problems you are trying to solve and why

Knowing what problems you’re trying to solve and why will help you determine exactly what you need to do.  

Perform an honest assessment of your contact center 

Look at how your customers rate what you do. Identify what you do well and what needs improvement. Involve all stakeholders, especially those close to the customers, like your agents, because a happy agent equals happy customers. Know what your key stakeholders think, as they will be the ones to approve the project and budget.  

Assess how the changes would impact customer experience  

Following an internal assessment of your contact center, review how the proposed changes will impact your customer experience. 

Once you’ve completed an internal audit of your challenges, needs, and what you do well, it’s time to answer a few questions determining how effective the proposed solution will be for your company. Any partner supporting you in the process of finding a WFO platform for your business should ask these questions.  

The six essential questions you should answer when assessing workforce optimization strategies and platforms 

Answering these questions beforehand helps you prepare for any discussion with a consultant or vendor. They are a natural progression from your internal assessment.  

  • What type of ACD do you currently have, and are you looking for a new one? Different WFO platforms pair nicely with other automated call distribution systems. Not all platforms have an integration path, so knowing your current ACD and intentions allows for pairing you with the right solution.
  • What types of interactions/skills do you currently use, and will this be changing? For example, do you support inbound and outbound calls, email, chat, or SMS? Identifying the channels you support and if you intend to expand in the future will help future-proof the solution that gets recommended. So, you get the right fit for now and the future.
  • How many of each interaction do you take on a typical day? WFO consultants need to understand what a typical day looks like for you now and the complexity of your contact center.
  • Do agents handle multiple interaction types? If so, what does that look like?

This will help better determine factors such as sizing and other features that you may need.

  • How many agents do you currently have, and what is your expected growth rate of agents and interactions?

Identifying your growth rate allows for the implementation of a system aligned with your growth plan.

  • How many physical sites do you have?

In addition to this question would also be a caveat on whether you have remote workers.

How to evaluate WFO options

Finally, let’s look at how to evaluate WFO solutions to identify the right one for your business. Your workforce optimization model depends on the value and impact of the assessment criteria outlined below. 

Viability. Does the WFO system integrate with your ACD platform, and if it does not, what are the implications (cost, time requirements, and otherwise) of that?

Ease of use. What skills are needed for your analysts and contact center staff, and will the complexity lead to a higher learning curve than you’d like?

Needs. What needs will the WFO model solve, and how? Will it support your business goals?

Cost. It’s more than user fees. Will you need additional equipment, integrations, cost of training, etc.?

All these factors make up the whole picture for your bottom line.

Implementation. What’s the turnaround and training time needed to implement the system, and what does that mean for your business?


Ready to upgrade your WFO platform for your business? 

If you would like to learn more about this selection process or work with us to get it done smoothly, then contact us, and we’ll be happy to walk you through the process of finding the right WFO platform for your business.  

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