Sabio, the specialist contact centre systems integrator, has identified what it believes are the ten key characteristics of successful Workforce Management (WFM) projects.
With a track record of over ten years’ WFM engagement with many of the UK’s largest organisations, Sabio helps customer service operations to actively reduce unproductive contact centre time through more accurate forecasting and optimised scheduling techniques.
Sabio’s top ten guiding principles for successful Workforce management projects include: extending WFM beyond the front-office, supporting forecasts with accurate shrinkage targets, introducing real-time adherence, fighting knowledge erosion and realising the benefits of automation.
“At Sabio we’re seeing solutions such as WFM playing a key role as the first stage of broader Employee Optimisation and Customer Management initiatives. We’re also finding that organisations are increasingly looking to use some of the savings released by effective WFM projects to fund added value Customer Management investment,” commented Sabio’s Head of Workforce Optimisation practice Mike Andrews.
“WFM is more than just a software tool – it’s a whole business process solution. So, whether you’re swapping out an old system or implementing Workforce Management for the first time, it’s essential that firms think carefully about the supporting business processes and methodologies that underpin a successful WFM install – before, during and after go-live,” added Mike. “That’s why it’s so important for organisations to do everything they can to support the success of their WFM projects, particularly as the results – when done right – can be so compelling.”
Sabio’s ten guiding principles for successful WFM
- Keep fighting knowledge erosion – Knowledge erosion is perhaps the biggest threat to longer term WFM success – it’s important to build regular ongoing training into your WFM support contract, with a particular focus on best practice and refresher modules that can help ensure skills remain current
- Concentrate on processes and methodology – Workforce management is a business process not a technology solution, you need to apply as much focus to your internal processes and methodologies as you do to your software features
- Don’t take WFM for granted – Ensure that you’re always monitoring data accuracy from your various sources at regular intervals, and make sure you incorporate them into your calibration process – WFM works best as an ongoing refinement process
- Remember to measure and publicise your WFM performance – It’s crucial that your WFM team becomes a focal point in your organisation and stays central to any core planning decisions being made. WFM provides a benchmark, and results are a great way of sharing success and challenges with the wider organisation
- Monitor your shrinkage – You need to look at shrinkage historically, and then make sure that you’re balancing this shrinkage correctly into your forecasts – planning to the actuals, and then managing to targets
- Understand your adherence and set realistic targets – Introduce a real time adherence approach – if applied correctly this can have a major impact on staffing efficiencies, with a significant return on the investment and resources applied
- Look beyond the inbound contact centre – Start identifying ways to deploy workforce management outside of the traditional front-office in key areas such as outbound and the back-office
- 100% forecast accuracy is an unrealistic dream for most of us – Make sure, however, that you perform within a consistent acceptable tolerance at an intraday level
- Realise the benefits of automation – Don’t ignore the potential of automated holiday and shift swap requests: these features are highly valued by agents, and free up significant amounts of administration time that can be deployed more productively
- Don’t overlook your long-term forecasts – Getting day-to-day scheduling right can take up a lot of focus, but don’t forget your long-term planning: you should then cascade these goals into your medium and shorter-term forecasts and plans to make the process more effective.
Sabio is one of the few UK organisations with the detailed knowledge of all the key Workforce Optimisation components – from an integration, implementation and business perspective. Working with Sabio, organisations such as Addison Lee, Thames Water and HomeServe have all successfully secured significant savings through their WFM deployments.
For example, London’s leading private hire firm, Addison Lee, has already unlocked savings of over £1 million. Optimising their call centre forecasting and scheduling activities and reducing overtime costs has already enabled a 30 percent overall saving on their annual staffing costs.
Another organisation – Thames Water – has transformed its front and back-office operations by deploying the latest workforce management technology. By doubling forecasting and scheduling productivity, with optimised scheduling adherence and reduced absence and shrinkage, Thames Water has secured annual savings of upwards of £250,000. Coupled with impressive customer satisfaction improvements, the Thames Water project clearly shows how effective workforce initiatives should be top of the to-do list for contact centre managers that need to be doing more with less.