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Three ways Workforce Management (WFM) can reduce agent attrition

A man smiles as he sits at a computer. WFM can help you improve your Agent Experience through more effective resource management.

Agent attrition is one of the greatest challenges contact centres face today.

According to the Global Call Centre Research Network, the average contact centre loses around 20% of its staff every year, with stats ranging from 17 to 44% depending on size [1]. This can be due to a number of reasons – agents can retire, move away, start families, choose to study full-time or simply decide contact centre work isn’t for them.

But a large proportion of agents do leave their jobs or switch to a competitor because of poor working conditions. Some of the top reasons cited by exiting agents include excessive pressure or stress, low pay, high staff turnover, repetitive work, and a lack of promotion or career development opportunities.

Counting the cost of agent attrition

While occasional staff turnover can be beneficial for your business, frequent staff turnover can have serious consequences for your contact centre. These include:

  • Inconsistent service levels for customers
  • Low quality of service for customers
  • High recruitment and training costs
  • Increased stress and pressure for managers
  • Low morale and motivation amongst agents
  • Limited long-term progression for agents and the business

That’s why it’s important to take active steps to improve the Agent Experience in your contact centre, to increase engagement and minimise churn. (If you’re not sure what Agent Experience is, check out our AX blog series here).

How WFM can improve agent satisfaction

A Workforce Management (WFM) solution can help you improve your Agent Experience through more effective resource management. Because when your contact centre is properly staffed – with the right number of agents, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time – contact centre work becomes less stressful and much more fun, productive and fulfilling.

And when your agents are happy, your customers will be too. In the words of British-American author Simon Sinek: “Happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders – in that order.”

How does WFM work?

WFM involves five crucial steps: forecasting, scheduling, intraday management, adherence and reporting.

Using historical data captured directly from your contact centre, resource planners can use a WFM solution to accurately forecast customer demand, including contact volumes and Average Handling Time (AHT), for a date or time period of their choosing. Once this forecast has been created, they can then build a schedule optimised to ensure the highest service levels for customers, the best experience for agents, and the lowest operational cost for the business.

During the scheduled time period, planners can adjust shifts in real-time and monitor adherence to ensure demand is continually met and staff are working productively. They can then close the loop with analysis and reporting to ensure continuous development and improvement.

The latest WFM solutions also include agent self-scheduling, which enables agents to submit their availability, request shift changes, trade shifts with colleagues and manage their holidays via a dedicated agent portal. This significantly reduces the amount of administrative work for resource planners and increases agent engagement.

Better schedules = better working conditions

The top three ways WFM can improve your agent experience are:

  • Reduce over- and understaffing: When your contact centre is properly staffed, your agents can focus on their work, deliver their best service, and achieve their targets. But when it’s understaffed, they must juggle a higher workload and often assist in other areas where they may not have the necessary experience. This extra workload can lead to stress, mistakes, frustration and burnout. On the flip side, overstaffing can leave your agents scratching for jobs and customers to serve, which can lead to boredom and low morale.
  • Provide greater flexibility: Giving your agents more control over their schedules – by enabling them to submit their availability and shift preferences, trade shifts, and manage their holidays – provides them with greater job flexibility. It allows them to work around their personal commitments, such as doctors appointments, school drop-offs, and university classes, which leads to greater work-life balance, wellbeing and satisfaction. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, flexible working has become a coveted perk for contact centre agents [2].
  • Make more time for employee engagement, training and development: With more accurate forecasts and deeper insights into contact volumes and AHT, you can identify the best times of day to engage with your agents without causing too much disruption for your customers. These times can be used to hold team-building exercises, training sessions and one-on-ones with agents to work on their career development. With the help of Puzzel WFM, Simply Business was able to find gaps in the week where they could hold regular award ceremonies to boost morale. 

Learn more about WFM

A WFM solution is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your contact centre toolkit.

If you struggle with over- or understaffing, want to reduce agent attrition and improve agent engagement, contact us today for a free trial of Puzzel WFM.

[1] https://www.avoxi.com/blog/call-center-attrition-turnover-rates/

[2] https://www.puzzel.com/neighbourhood/media-insights/white-papers/the-evolution-of-the-contact-centre-elevating-the-front-line/

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