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Enhancing contact center performance through effective workforce management

Vinay Patel
5 December 2023

In today’s customer-centric business landscape, the contact center plays a pivotal role in shaping customer perceptions and experiences. A single interaction with a contact center can influence a customer’s opinion about a company, and with customer expectations continually rising, contact center must adapt to meet these demands. To achieve this, businesses are turning to advanced strategies and technologies that encompass end-to-end workforce management. In this blog, we explore the essential elements of effective workforce management, focusing on sound forecasting, strategic planning, shift pattern definition, and tactical management, all of which are crucial for enhancing contact center performance.

Sound forecasting: The foundation of efficient workforce management

Effective workforce management begins with sound forecasting, which encompasses three key areas:

Long-term forecasting: This involves looking ahead for more than a month, allowing contact centers to plan for recruitment, training, and holiday scheduling. It considers seasonality and anticipated changes due to promotions and product launches.

Medium-term forecasting: Covering the range from one day to one month ahead, this aids in scheduling non-inbound workload and planning for overtime. These forecasts are based on recent trends and adjusted for anticipated changes and events.

Short-term forecasting: For within-day and day-ahead planning, short-term forecasting offers early warnings for incoming call spikes or drops. It helps contact centers to activate contingency plans to maintain service levels. This dynamic forecasting often relies on past profiles of similar days.

Strategic Planning: Streamlining complex workloads

Traditional contact centers were primarily reactive, handling inbound calls. However, technological advancements have transformed them into modern contact center dealing with a wide range of tasks, including inbound and outbound calls, emails, and various customer relationship management activities. The traditional approach of setting up specialized teams for each task has become inefficient as the workload becomes more complex.

Optimization modelling is essential for efficient workload aggregation and team structuring. It considers factors such as workload volumes, skills and training requirements, target response times, and service levels. Simulation modelling is used to validate potential efficiency improvements and understand the impact of changes to team structures and call overflow rules.

Shift pattern definition: Meeting service level expectations

Given the typical variation in call arrival patterns within the day and across the week, defining shift patterns is critical for meeting target service levels. Determining the number of agents needed to handle calls during each half-hour period can be relatively straightforward using Erlang models. These models calculate the agent requirement based on forecasted call volume, average call handling time, and target service levels.

Optimization techniques help identify the best-fitting shifts while considering practical constraints, such as minimizing complexity and avoiding large-scale changes to existing shifts. Micro-scheduling allows flexibility by letting remote agents self-select their hours, contributing to the overall efficiency of the contact center.

Tactical management: Proactive service level maintenance

Contact center workloads are known for their variability, with random spikes and troughs affecting service levels. To proactively manage this, tactics such as call overflow between groups or sites, brief call details collection with call-backs, and the use of recorded messages to filter out non-urgent calls can be employed.

During dips in workload, call allocation rules can be adjusted to focus slack time on groups of agents who can concentrate on other tasks. Real-time marketing efforts, tailored to individual customer needs, can also help improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.

The role of data analytics and technology

In addition to the key elements of workforce management, data reporting and analytics play a critical role in optimizing contact center operations. In a survey conducted by Gartner, 84% of customer service and service support leaders cited customer data and analytics as “very or extremely important” for achieving their organizational goals in 2023. Various types of call center analytics, including speech analytics, desktop analytics, predictive analytics, and self-service analytics, provide valuable insights for improving customer support and satisfaction.

Technology, particularly Omni-channel cloud contact center software, complements workforce management by ensuring a consistent customer experience across multiple channels. Features like omni-channel routing, quick and efficient routing, powerful integrations, constant monitoring, and self-service capabilities enhance efficiency and customer satisfaction.

The power of chatbots and IVR systems

In addition to workforce management strategies and technology, chatbots and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems are making significant contributions to contact center efficiency. Chatbots can reduce customer service costs by up to 30% by handling up to 80% of routine inquiries, reducing the need for live human interactions and saving substantial costs. Key benefits include reduced case volume, seamless integration with human agents, and task automation.

IVR systems, although sometimes overlooked, are essential for improving first contact resolution, efficiency, peak management, reduced operational costs, brand image enhancement, self-service opportunities, and overall customer experience.


Efficient forecasting, strategic planning, and a holistic approach to workforce management are vital for improving contact center performance. Technology, data analytics, and the strategic use of chatbots and IVR systems have become indispensable tools for achieving enhanced customer and employee satisfaction. By automating processes and making informed decisions through in-depth call center analysis, businesses can deliver a more efficient and satisfactory customer experience, which is critical for success in today’s competitive landscape.