Four Arguments Against Workforce Management – And Why They Are Wrong
We’ve always considered the superiority of workforce management over spreadsheets to be a no-brainer. The efficiency and accuracy WFM brings to everyday contact center practices have made a remarkable difference in the quality of forecasting, scheduling and staffing of personnel. We’ve never encountered any contact center manager who expressed disappointment about making this investment.
That’s why we were intrigued by a recent article listing the “pros and cons” of a workforce management solution. Usually any “cons” in pieces like this relate to price and security – neither of which apply anymore, especially now that so many WFM systems are deployed via the cloud. But to our surprise they offered four different objections.
Let’s take a look at them, and where they miss the mark.
- It creates false expectations.
The reasoning here is that WFM should raise service levels, but if a contact center fails to reach those levels, the business can simply blame WFM. While it’s always convenient to have a scapegoat, that doesn’t work here. What WFM delivers is the data and the roadmap for efficient forecasting, scheduling and staffing. But someone still has to put that plan into action, and react to intra-day changes identified by a WFM solution.
- The financial benefits are overstated
“Beware of vendors trying to sell the financial benefits of workforce management software too aggressively,” the article cautions. But we don’t expect our clients to simply take our word for it when we describe the cost savings that results from WFM. We’re happy to direct them to current customers who have experienced those savings first-hand. One credit union saved $25,000 by eliminating the guesswork from scheduling with Monet WFM.
- It will not compensate for a staffing shortfall
Imagine this scenario: A manager runs the numbers for his or her contact center and finds that 50 agents are needed to staff a shift to assure great customer service, but only 40 agents are on the payroll. Can WFM solve that problem? While every situation is different, we’ve had several clients tell us that WFM helps them to achieve a more optimal allocation of resources, so perhaps it can. There may indeed be times when hiring more agents is inevitable; but some of our clients have actually reduced their number of agents while maintaining or improving service levels.
- It forces customers into channels they don’t want
We don’t get this one at all. The purpose of WFM is to optimize service on all available channels, not to move a customer from online chat into a phone conversation (unless the customer makes that request). Forecasts and schedules created by WFM result in sufficient staffing on all channels.
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