An organization's contact center can make or break its customer relationships. However, the COVID-19 pandemic increased call volumes and staffing shortages in many contact centers, which hurt their customer service.
Contact centers have always experienced high turnover rates, but the "great resignation" worsened that problem. With many agents leaving their jobs, contact center leaders may want to implement workforce optimization (WFO) tools to improve employee engagement and performance.
What is workforce optimization software?
WFO software tools improve contact center productivity with call volume forecasting features and the ability to record and monitor agent interactions. Additionally, these tools can track agent performance and offer real-time AI-powered coaching.
WFO tools differ from purely customer experience management or omnichannel tools because they focus on performance management. However, they can integrate with customer experience management suites and other software packages.
The following eight WFO software companies stand out as leading products based on top professional and user reviews.
Top 8 workforce optimization tools
Contact center leaders should know their WFO software options and understand each platform's standout features and drawbacks.
1. Nice CXone
Nice CXone offers WFO features like forecasting and scheduling, text and audio recording for omnichannel interactions and performance management tools like persona-based coaching. The coaching features can guide agents in real time to improve customer interactions. The platform also offers robotic process automation tools that can automate tasks and alleviate agents' workloads.
Nice CXone's standout features include its high level of customization and its ability to integrate with other tools to form a contact center suite. However, users may struggle to set up supervisor dashboards and perform troubleshooting tasks.
Pricing for Nice CXone's WFO plan is available upon request.
Genesys Cloud CX and Genesys Multicloud CX offer workforce engagement management features that include tools to improve CX and engage employees. Each version provides a central platform for training, CX and recognition; forecasting and scheduling; and quality assurance and monitoring. Gamification features, such as scorecards and leaderboards, help to ensure agent engagement.
Users cite Genesys' single system for all customer interactions as a standout feature, and its UI and built-in mean opinion scores that assure voice quality as other important additions. However, some have experienced unresponsive support and have noted they must publish schedules to view service-level forecasts.
Pricing starts at $75 per user, per month for its Cloud CX 1 plan.
As part of Calabrio's suite of contact center management tools, Calabrio Workforce Management (WFM) includes forecasting, scheduling and automation features. It also lets employees trade shifts, offers dashboards for viewing custom metrics and uses gamification to engage employees.
The most talked about features include its ability to create schedules and track employee attendance; its intuitive UI; and its responsive and knowledgeable support team. However, deployment and initial configuration can present challenges, and the platform lacks helpful product documentation.
Pricing for Calabrio's workforce management services and its CXone workforce performance suite is available upon request.
Verint's workforce optimization suite includes forecasting and scheduling features, real-time agent coaching, quality assurance capabilities, compliance tools and knowledge management features. Contact centers that purchase Verint's workforce management platform get a mobile app that lets agents manage their schedules, swap shifts and request time off using their mobile devices.
This platform's strengths lie in its real-time coaching, speech analytics, forecasting functionality, simple UI and customizability. However, implementation teams may struggle to integrate the software's different microservices, and KPIs lack customizability.
Pricing for Verint's workforce optimization services is available upon request and may require contacting a Verint partner.
Playvox's Workforce Engagement Management platform offers the standard workforce optimization tools: scheduling features, shift-swap capabilities and dashboards to view KPIs and generate reports. It uses AI to automate schedules and lets users compare agents' goals to their performance. Gamification features reward agents with badges and gift cards, and the platform integrates with third-party tools, such as RingCentral and Zendesk.
Key features of Playvox include its simple implementation process, cross-channel agent performance tracking and straightforward UX. However, users may struggle to upload quizzes and courses and need to integrate the platform with external unified communications software, such as Slack, to display notifications in a centralized location.
Pricing for Playvox Workforce Engagement Management is based on monthly subscriptions and is available upon request.
Talkdesk's Workforce Engagement Management platform uses AI to build schedules and coach agents. The coaching features offer agents contextual recommendations and the next best actions as they interact with customers. Contact center supervisors can record agent interactions and access a dashboard to view their performance. Talkdesk lets agents submit frequently answered questions to a knowledge management system to ensure consistent service across interactions.
This platform's key features include call recording, automated coaching and smooth integration with platforms such as Salesforce. However, it lacks certain report types, such as the number of calls agents intentionally disconnect.
Pricing for Talkdesk's CX Cloud Essentials plan starts at $75 per user, per month.
7. Nextiva Contact Center
Nextiva Contact Center can help organizations of any size automate schedules based on skill, channel and demand. It also offers quality monitoring and coaching tools, and users can integrate it with external software, such as Zoho, Salesforce, HubSpot and Zendesk.
Nextiva's standout features include its simple UI and responsive and knowledgeable support team. Agents can track the time they spend away from their desks to identify any activities that negatively affect their productivity levels. However, implementation requires a lot of effort upfront, and the platform lacks customization flexibility.
Pricing for the Essential plan starts at $18.95 per user, per month.
Five9 is a full-service, cloud-based contact center software suite. Its workforce optimization features include forecasting and scheduling and analytics that can detect trends, improve the quality monitoring process and share operational metrics for performance management purposes.
Many users said Five9 has a simple UI fit for SMBs and a responsive support team. Users can review performance insights right out of the box and easily integrate the platform with Salesforce. However, process automation can pose challenges, and users may struggle to use the reporting features.
Pricing starts at $149 per month for the Core plan.