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"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" -  But can it be applied to Workforce Management?

Matt Hughes 21-Nov-2018 13:35:40
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An Insightful Event courtesy of the UK Contact Centre Forum (UKCCF)

 

Leonardo da Vinci is often referred to as a genius and reputed to have wisely stated that, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”  And yet 500 years later, with a wealth of technological advancements and experience, the modern-day telephony sector is still more complex than users would like. You don’t have to take my word for it...

 

 Click here to read the full article...

 

Next Generation of Cloud WFM for Contact Centres

Matt Hughes 18-Oct-2018 07:00:20
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U-WFM is pleased to announce the availability of its next generation cloud workforce management software for all Contact Centres.

 

Bringing Competitive Advantage for all Contact Centres

U-WFM believes there is an easier way to deploy Workforce Management and make it accessible, affordable and available to all contact centres, regardless of size.  Designed as an easy-to-use, cloud-based platform, U-WFM provides the proven benefits of automated forecasting and scheduling for the entire contact centre workforce. 

 

The Next Generation of Easy to Use Workforce Management in the Cloud

U-WFM offers their Workforce Management platform as a 100% cloud, OPEX based solution with zero capital outlay and technology hassle. This allows customers to immediately become more effective, efficient and economic on a pay-as-you-go basis, but still benefit from a premium Workforce Management solution. 

As one of the first cloud providers of WFM solutions, U-WFM’s flexible service models allow customers to unlock a real competitive edge by having access to the latest Workforce Management software and experts, straight to the heart of their operations. This has enabled many centres to deliver the optimal service and customer experience which previously they would have been unlikely to budget for or achieve.  U-WFM delivers the solution directly to where it is needed, expects only to be paid for what customers use, and when they use it.

 

The U-WFM Difference

  • Uniquely, there are no exclusions to the capabilities of the U-WFM solution, with customers gaining full access to the complete U-WFM cloud suite. U-WFM’s mantra being that all customers benefit, all of the time. 
  • Unlike competitors, in the standard “most popular” option U-WFM delivers in-person training and a welcome workshop at no additional cost. The focus being on customers’ success.
  • U-WFM offers 3 customer packages, all customisable, but offered at the same single transparent price for full access to the system and its features.   

Click here to read full press release...

 

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What is WFM?

Christine Chapman 30-Apr-2018 13:01:36
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Definition

WFM stands for Workforce Management, but what does that mean? In a nutshell, it’s the job of getting the right agents, with the right skill in the right place at the right time. Workforce Optimisation is another term, which just takes the planning of your resources (staff) to another level, but in essence it is all Resource Planning.

 

Overview

If you are asking the question, then you are probably working in a call centre that hasn’t invested six figure sums in purchasing software to forecast how many calls are going to arrive each 15-minute interval of every day, automatically schedule flexible shifts for agents to work to meet demand, and track what those agents are doing during their shift. That said, you are probably doing all these tasks in some shape or form, but perhaps it is time for you to take a breath and think about how you approach the job of Resource Planning, and whether, before long, you may benefit from acquiring a cloud-based solution to make the job easier, such as U-WFM.

Continual process of Workforce Management

What is WFM

The WFM function can initially be divided into 3 functions:

  • Forecasting
  • Scheduling
  • Real-Time

It is the glue that binds together the 3 main perspectives of call centre management:

  • the customer
  • the staff
  • the bottom line

Good resource planning will ensure that there are enough agents on the phone to deliver a good customer experience. This in turn balances the workload of the agents, so they should neither be too quiet or too busy. The result being an efficient operation, with costs managed effectively, good customer retention/satisfaction and a happy workforce.

It is often said that WFM is both an art and a science, mathematics and algorithms play a major part in a sophisticated forecasting model, but without the common sense and business knowledge of someone who understands your company and how it operates, this will fall short of the accuracy you need to run an efficient call centre. The human element is as important as fancy footwork in Excel or WFM software, and that is where the art comes into it.

Click here to read full article...

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WFM Recommended Process

Tim Wharfe 18-Apr-2018 18:37:29
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Introduction

When the dust settles after the implementation of a new Workforce Management system, one of the most common queries is not actually about the software at all. It is about the how and when of going from nothing to a finalised schedule.

This blog will be going through a recommended process that WFM Administrators and Resource Planners can follow in order to give everyone, business and agents the best from your hard work.

 

Process Cycle

There is a well defined basic process cycle that WFM Administrators generally follow.

WFM Basic Process

1. Forecast – Using the most recent historical information

2. Schedule – Create a new schedule from rules already in Workforce Management

3. Manage – Intraday management of the schedule

4. Analyse – Use most recent data to feed back to forecasting

 

Reasons for Process

Most businesses will want to give agents schedules a certain number of weeks in advance. This allows agents to plan their lives and maintain a healthy work/life balance. This is normally done in rolling weeks. Every week, a new week is released to agents maintaining the same length of future visibility at all times.

It is important to get the number of future weeks published right. If there is not enough, agents will not be happy. If there are too many, any changes to schedules, especially due to leavers or new starters will require the WFM administrator to re-schedule more than they would otherwise need to, increasing their workload.

Typically, although by no means a rule, agents receive around 4 weeks notice of their upcoming shifts. The length of shift notice does differ across businesses.

For these reasons it is important to robustly stick to a well defined process and follow it through consistently.

 

Recommended Process Table

For this example, we will be assuming that agents are receiving 4 weeks notice for their schedule and also using 4 weeks of historical data to build a forecast.

The below table shows a timeline spanning 11 weeks in total. 6 weeks in the past, the current week and 4 weeks in to the future.

 

WFM Process Table

The below process covers what should be worked by the WFM administrator every week.

This Week

  • Offline entry and minor schedule adjustments as required
  • Reforecast week utilising most recent historical data
  • Reschedule agents. As shifts were locked previously, only breaks and lunches may be changed
  • Republish
  • Enter offline activities as known. No forecasting or re-scheduling is required as both these weeks already have a forecast and schedules where shifts, but not breaks and lunches are locked
  • Create new forecast
  • Create new schedule
  • Lock shifts, but not breaks and lunches
  • Publish

Week 1 (next week)

  • Reforecast week utilising most recent historical data
  • Reschedule agents. As shifts were locked previously, only breaks and lunches may be changed
  • Republish

Week 2 & 3

  • Enter offline activities as known. No forecasting or re-scheduling is required as both these weeks already have a forecast and schedules where shifts, but not breaks and lunches are locked

Week 4

  • Create new forecast
  • Create new schedule
  • Lock shifts, but not breaks and lunches
  • Publish

If the above process is followed every week for each of the relative weeks in the future, agents will have a consistent view of their shifts and the business will have greater visibility of their expected results.

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