one size fits all

Workforce Optimization - Get it Tailored

This article originally appeared in the December 2014 issue of Contact Center Pipeline.

The use of workforce optimization tools has exploded as organizations race to deliver the ultimate customer experience. However, as the demand for these tools has grown, so has the number of solutions available in the market. This has resulted in some confusion and a few bad investments as organizations seek to integrate the technology without a complete understanding of the best fit for their unique set of factors.

Before thinking about how to approach WFO within your organization, it’s important to step back and gain an understanding of what workforce optimization really is. When asked what they considered WFO to be, as part of a 2014 research study conducted by ICMI, 73.2% of survey respondents said workforce management (WFM), 60.5% performance management and 53.0% quality management*. So, while most contact center leaders recognize these components of a WFO solution, they are by no means the only pieces.

WFO is a suite of solutions used to measure, analyze and disseminate key customer interaction details into usable and actionable intelligence. Comprehensive WFO solutions also typically include coaching management, training, analytics, voice of the customer and interaction audio/screen recording. With all of these components working together, WFO can provide unparalleled visibility into performance, operations and customer intelligence.

Because WFO solutions each have their own feature sets and components, the challenge becomes finding the right solution for your contact center. Some solutions are geared toward enterprise contact centers, while others are more suitable for the small to mid-sized centers.

To maximize the benefit that you receive from WFO, begin by thinking about the maturity of your contact center. By understanding your operation’s strengths and weaknesses, you will be better prepared to determine which processes and tools are necessary versus which are nice to have. This will allow you to focus on those that will have the most impact on the efficiency, effectiveness and cost of your contact center.

Small to mid-sized contact centers looking to invest in WFO often face three common challenges: staff who must wear multiple hats, rapid growth and limited budget. All three of these add up to inefficiencies that impact the level of service to the customer. Because of these factors, these centers should consider certain features to be “must haves”. In addition to basic call recording with mechanisms for enhancing efficiency, integrated quality management helps managers who frequently multi-task. Features to look for include easy form building and the ability to share reports. Workforce management helps deal with rapid growth by offering forecasting and scheduling, as well as time-off management. Agent performance can be improved through the use of basic scorecards for managing KPIs and a basic coaching model for tracking purposes.

To combat budgetary roadblocks, small to mid-sized organizations should consider modular solutions which reduce the entry cost barriers by starting with basic functionality and adding more as the center grows.  Cloud solutions have the added benefit of being highly scalable.

Enterprise centers are positioned to take advantage of the more sophisticated WFO features which may be nonessential for smaller centers. Interaction recording is enhanced with the addition of screen recording. Quality management for the enterprise audience should include advanced features such as calibration, flagging interactions, and integrated analytics. Enterprise WFM allows for the incorporation of shift bidding and swapping, as well as long-term strategic planning. Advanced scorecards that correspond with actual goals and eLearning that delivers targeted training based on skill deficiencies are just a few of the advanced performance management components available at the enterprise level.

Regardless of the size or maturity of the contact center, the true benefit of WFO is realized through the automation achieved when all of these elements work together to link agent performance with operational data. However, finding the solution that is right-sized for your contact center is paramount to success. WFO is not an off-the-rack, one-size-fits-all solution! Get yours tailored.

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* Source: ICMI, What’s in Your WFO? Workforce Optimization for Today’s Contact Center (2014)