Highlights –

  • WFM systems use automated scheduling tools and service-level forecasting to ensure that businesses always have the proper staff.
  • WFO is a collection of tactics and methods intended to increase workforce and organizational effectiveness while lowering operational costs.

Managing contact center workforces has always been difficult, given the high turnover rates, challenging working conditions, and demanding clients. Agents in call centers have some of the highest levels of stress in the world and are very prone to leaving their jobs. Because they enable you to orchestrate resource utilization to fulfill productivity targets without placing undue stress on agents, WFO (Workforce Optimization) and WFM (Workforce Management) have become crucial concepts.

For a specific contact center scenario, WFO and WFM use statistical analysis and Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms to determine the best resource mix (multiple channels, peak periods, etc.) As a result, agents maintain high levels of job satisfaction while continuing to be productive and satisfy KPIs.

WFM and WFO relate to separate tools with some similarities in features, even though some people mistakenly use the names interchangeably. Both systems assist businesses in planning the right amount of personnel for a particular period, but WFO platforms offer more contact center capabilities that improve agent effectiveness. Making the most of your contact center resources over time can be facilitated by thoroughly understanding these intricacies.

Workforce Management: What Is It?

In order to manage schedules and monitor attendance in overloaded workplaces like retail outlets and call centers, organizations employ a combination of tactics and technologies known as WFM. These systems use automated scheduling tools and service-level forecasting to ensure that businesses always have the proper staff.

The phrase “Workforce Management” (WFM) software refers to both desktop and mobile applications that assist a company in managing worker schedules. Gaining visibility into business KPIs, such as the minimum number of agents required at a specific time of day or the length of time it takes to make a specific product, is the aim of WFM software.

Workforce Optimization: What Is It?

Large contact centers employ WFO as a collection of tactics and instruments to improve agent performance, engagement, and satisfaction. It is a collection of tactics and methods intended to increase workforce and organizational effectiveness while lowering operational costs. WFM elements are combined with quality assurance tools including call recording, speech analytics, and real-time coaching in WFO platforms.

These platforms may be referred to as Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) systems by vendors and users, particularly if they feature gamification and voice of the employee apps.

WFO software is a solution that makes it possible to optimize a variety of workplace productivity-related factors. It can analyze business needs based on factors including the number of employees, peak times, availability, budget, skills, labor laws, and contract agreements, for instance. This allows it to forecast, schedule, evaluate, and optimize the workforce.

Difference between WFO and WFM

1. The Difference in their features

The following are important WFM features:

  • Service-level forecasting –

Using forecasting tools, businesses can anticipate how busy their workplaces will be over the course of a season, a week, or even a single day.

  • Schedule automation –

Using service level forecasts, automation features plan the appropriate number of employees.

  • Monitoring attendance –

Apps for tracking attendance can record when employees clock in and exit as well as notify managers when there are violations of the rules.

  • Managing leaves –

WFM systems have apps that allow employees to request time off. As required by internal and external compliance regulations, they can also manage and track employee leave for vacation and illness.

  • Shift-swap tools –

These solutions make it easier for workers to swap shifts with one another, which broadens scheduling options and raises job satisfaction.

  • Mobile access –

Employees can check their schedules, attendance records, seek time off, and trade shifts because of WFM systems that are mobile-friendly.

WFO platforms provide the functionality of WFM systems together with extra contact center features like coaching tools and agent performance metrics. The following are important WFO platform features:

  • Call recording –

Calls between agents and clients might be recorded by supervisors for quality control.

  • Call monitoring –

Supervisors can evaluate agent performance and provide support by listening in on calls using monitoring features.

  • Speech analysis –

AI systems can evaluate both live and recorded interactions to identify customer sentiments. This analysis can reveal which agents require more training.

  • Desktop analysis –

To keep track of the websites and apps that agents utilize, WFM systems can record their desktop activity. It can provide information on whether agent activities result in successful and failed results when paired with other measures, including agent rating.

  • Real-time coaching –

This function recognizes client emotions in real-time using text and speech analytics. It then provides agents with advice on the best course of action.

  • Knowledge management –

Agents can use knowledge management tools provided by some WFM systems, such as centralized FAQ repositories, as a resource.

  • Voice of the employee surveys –

These online questionnaires gather opinions from workers so that managers may figure out ways to enhance the working environment and lower turnover rates.

2. Different working scales

Almost every business that uses hourly workers or allows flexible hours can profit from WFM systems. However, as a company’s workforce expands, these tools become even more important. Small businesses can occasionally manage their schedules with straightforward spreadsheets, but for the most part, they require a specialized WFM software application to handle the complexity.

On the other hand, WFO platforms are tailored particularly for large contact centers. Since these systems often require a substantial investment, SMBs may not have the funds to purchase them. WFO platforms, however, are frequently used by enterprise-level contact centers that wish to beat their rivals.

The COVID-19 epidemic has encouraged more businesses to adopt hybrid work and flexible scheduling, which has increased the importance of WFM and WFO. Both technologies make it easier to switch shifts, which promotes flexibility, and WFO platforms can provide agents who work from home with online coaching and training. SMBs may be interested in a WFM system to assist with scheduling activities, whilst large contact centers may need a WFO platform to raise productivity and employee morale.