Leading Challenges of Workforce Management in the Call Center

Workforce management is an essential part of maintaining a productive and efficient workplace. This is especially the case in a call center. Whether inbound our outbound, your call center is one of the key ways that customers and potential customers interact with your brand. You want that interaction to be positive, rewarding, and productive—for both you and the customer.

When an agent isn't working at optimal efficiency in a call center, this slows down your business and reflects poorly on your company. Of course, knowing that workforce management is important and practicing it effectively are two very different thingsmainly because of the number of challenges faced by the call center.

High Churn Rate

Call centers have notoriously high churn rates, and this poses an exceptional challenge to workforce management. How can you be expected to cohesively and efficiently manage a workforce when it is constantly in flux? You have to balance training of the new employees, processing the paperwork of the outgoing former employees, and juggling all sorts of unique tasks involved in hiring and replacing staff.

The leading factor in churn is the human factor. People tend to take a job because they need the income, but they usually quit because the working environment is unpleasant or impersonal. Creating a cooperative and positive workplace in which employees interact with each other and get to know each other will help to lower your churn rate and make the process of workforce management a lot more, well, manageable.

Low Morale and Boredom

Low morale and boredom eat away at productivity like nothing else. When your agents get bored or feel unmotivated, the quantity and quality of their work plummets.

Increasing morale and preventing boredom are essential aspects of workforce management. You can boost morale by creating a more encouraging corporate culture. Provide incentives and make a point to acknowledge when people have done good work. Decreasing boredom can be done by instituting workplace games that can both engage your agents while improving productivity at the same time. There are many creative and simple games that you can try out to keep your staff engaged and productive.

Measuring and Tracking Performance Goals and Data

There are two equally important elements of improving worker performance. First, you need to have a clear and concrete idea of what improved performance looks like. That is, what statistics and data do you intend to use to measure performance? This will depend on the kind of call center with which you're working. Inbound call centers will have different measures of successful performance than outbound call centers.

Once you know what you're measuring, you need to have clear expectations based on realistic estimates. Make specific goals with clear time frames and then track performance regularly to make sure those goals are being met.

The challenge here is that many make the mistake of having vague goals and little idea of what statistics or data they should be using to track them. Setting clear goals and knowing how to measure them can be tricky when you are just staring with a pile of raw data. Fortunately, there are tools that help make the process a lot simpler and less time-consuming.

Too Much Room for Error

When the various tasks involved in workforce management must be done manually, it can put your company at high risk for error. When you have to handle expense reports or calculate pay earned and hours worked manually, there's a good chance you'll make a mistake somewhere, especially as you get more tired and stressed out about the tedious work.

To minimize the risk for human error,  take advantage of workforce management tools that automate and streamline the many tedious tasks involved. With the right software, scheduling, forecasting, tracking, measuring, and all the other essential tasks of management are simplified and the chance for error is dramatically reduced. Fostering an efficient workforce requires an equally efficient management system.

By automating and simplifying these tedious tasks, you also free up your own schedule to focus on the other important aspects of workforce management, like keeping your agents happy, motivated, and cooperative.

Emily Hunter has been writing about business topics for many years, and currently writes on behalf of the workforce management software vendors at Kova. In her spare time, she cheers for Carolina Crown, formulates her own sodas, and crushes tower defense games. Follow her on Twitter at @Emily2Zen