Businesses increasingly are shifting work to remote or mobile workforces and for good reason. Not only can recruitment for employees span beyond the local area of a corporate office, it can also lower costs on salaries, office space, benefits and more.
Yet, while there are obvious advantages to having teams that work outside of a corporateoffice, there are challenges that need to be addressed. This includes overcomingthe time-consuming, manual work of mobile workforce management.
Of course, before implementing any strategies to address potential workforce challenges, it’s important to set a foundation of success with clear expectations that remote or mobile employees will be judged on performance with specific metrics for success. These metrics should be quantifiable and measurable, whether it’s meeting a sales quota, completing a certain number of calls each day, or hitting specific KPIs. Expectations should be communicated clearly during the onboarding process with regular work with team members to set goals for each day, week, quarter and year.
Once expectations have been established for teams working outside of the office, the next step is implementing ways that streamline their management.
Successful remote or mobile employees are those who feel connectedand part of a team. This means regular communication. The good news is there are many tools and solutions that support communication in a variety of waysto reduce manual processes.
For example, a solid project management tool is a must to organize work and manage projects and tasks. Look for one that can be customized to fit the needs and goals of your team with features like scheduling, collaboration, documentation and evaluation.
It’s also wise to have communication tools that support fast, informal chats, as well as meetings. Ideally, pick one that offers video capabilities to help facilitate eye contact,which supports greater connectivity.
Workforce Management Processes
Of course, there’s more to a successful mobile or remote workforce than good communication. In the case of a contact center, there are a number of key workforce-related processes that have to be continuously managed:
- Forecasting interaction volumes
- Scheduling employees around these volumes
- Day-to-day management to adapt to changes in contact volumes or absenteeism
- Ongoing business continuity
In the case of forecasting, manual management using Excel spreadsheets can be very time-consuming. Entering in contact history data, contact patterns and events or holidays that impact interaction volumes can be a tedious task. The time involved in forecasting can be dramatically reduced by using a workforce management (WFM) solution that automates these processes.
A WFM solution uses historical and current call information from an IVR and other contact center systems to predict future call volumes. This is based on calling trends, predictable call patterns and seasonal factors. And forecasts are updated automatically as new information is collected about call patterns. In other words, it offers a tremendous time savings.
Staffing and Scheduling
Like with forecasting, determining the optimal number of staff can be a time-consuming job when it’s executed manually. With a WFM solution that’s integrated with an IVR and an ACD, mathematical models can be used to identify staffing requirements for incoming and outbound calls, as well as other types of interactions, such as emails or chat conversations.
Staff requirements also require non-productive time estimates for breaks, training, meetings and more. With a WFM solution, you can break down schedule requirements for set time periods and set optimal schedules based on these requirements, as well as your contact center’s scheduling rules and constraints. This level of evaluation and management is next to impossible when executed manually.
To ensure your workforce is helping drive specific goals and objectives,it’s vital to compare actual day-to-day performance with your schedule plan. Only then can you make the necessary adjustments to achieve success. Once again, this isn’t something that is easily accomplished manually. Yet, with a WFM solution, it can bemanagedcontinuously to stay on course.
Managing a remote contact center team with a complex scheduling environment can be difficult to cost justify. Yet, with an automated WFM that’s tied to an IVR, you gain the advantage of a solution that can help keep costs in check and identify areas for improvement–all without time-consuming manual processes.
Reducing Non-Productive Time
Many hours of employee time can be lost in contact centers if there is a high amount of non-productive time. With a WFM solution, you can use historical and real-time information to gain better management and control of teams –optimizing the time of every employee.
With greater management and control of teams comes reduced queue times, improved service and a better overall customer experience. This reduces the number of abandons and increases the number of revenue calls that are completed.
Putting It All Together
Regardless of the size of a mobile or remote team, a primary objective is to obtain the most work at the highest level at the lowest cost. This can happen when there is a reduction of manual work and a shift to an automated WFM approach. And the benefits can be even more far-reaching by improving overall customer experience and brand quality.