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How Does Workforce Management Support Digital Channels?

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In the beginning, there was the telephone. Customers used it to speak to companies about questions or complaints or to place an order. To better serve those customers, call centers installed workforce management (WFM) software to track service levels and agent performance. 

And then everything changed. Customers now have multiple options for communication – web, chat, email, and social media. Does workforce management still have a role to play in an era when non-voice channels may eventually surpass phone calls?

The answer is yes. Because whether there is one channel or five, customer service will continue to be determined by two criteria: information and process. Workforce management plays a key role in both of these functions, and can help call centers move the customer forward regardless of how they choose to communicate. 

Information

The data gathered by a WFM solution encompasses everything from historic call volume, which can impact forecasts and schedules, and KPI measurements that let you know how efficiently agents are responding to each customer contact. As call centers become contact centers, WFM can provide information on the frequency with which customers call a company after trying email or webchat, which can help measure the effectiveness of these other channels. It can also let managers know how often agents are able to ‘close the deal’ with these channel-surfing customers. 

Also, since call volume is likely to drop as more customers pursue self-service options and other channels, WFM can help call centers properly re-allocate available resources so service levels can be maintained, possibly with fewer scheduled agents. 

Process

Whatever processes are in place at a call center, they rely on agents having the right tools to do their jobs. WFM provides agents with the information they need, when they need it, to deliver service that results in satisfied customers. 

In addition, the call recording component of WFM offers a means to review agent performance, and is a valuable tool in agent training.

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