E-Handbook: Contact center workforce management keeps pace with consumers Article 1 of 4

Agent-customer experience strengthened by workforce management

Customer service is a people business. When a customer interacts with a company at the point of contact, a friendly, knowledgeable, nimble and technically trained workforce can make all the difference between a good and bad customer experience -- between brand loyalty and disloyalty.

Many technologies are available to improve and exploit customer interactions with the contact center as well as assist agents and expedite conversations. They include tools for call routing, interactive voice response, voice of the customer, predictive dialing and CRM. Sympatico with these workforce assistance tools is contact center workforce management. WFM software can forecast the volume of customer interactions, build agent schedules across channels, allocate contact center resources, measure agent performance and help transform a cost center into a profit center as contact centers increasingly implement AI and automation and migrate operations to the cloud.

By 2023, at least 95% of new WFM applications will be based on cloud deployment models, Gartner reported. The research firm also predicted that, by 2025, 40% of large businesses with hourly paid workers and labor on demand will use automation for workforce scheduling decisions, and 75% will have invested in WFM to support digital workplace experiences. All of which coincides with a global WFM market forecast to grow more than 10% annually and top $10 billion in 2024, according to consultancy Market Research Future.

Businesses will have to make these investments just to keep pace with increasingly technically savvy customers. IDC sees 65% of consumers using voice, images and augmented reality to interact with companies over their mobile devices by 2023.

This handbook examines the evolving contact center and the changing needs of its workforce. First, we look at some of the workforce challenges facing contact centers and the tools and techniques, including contact center workforce management analytics, to overcome those hurdles and improve the agent experience. Next, customer experience is the prime mover in companies beefing up their contact center with technologies that increase the presence of their agents on multiple channels. Finally, read about the pros and cons of contact center call routing methods.