Machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and sophisticated optimization algorithms are already part of our daily lives. Do you use a navigation app on your smartphone? Or facial recognition in your camera app? Do you use online spelling and grammar checkers when writing documents? If so, you’re using AI. It should be no surprise to learn that the latest WFM applications are already deploying AI and automation to improve planning outcomes while reducing manual effort.
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Here are some examples:
- Forecasting: Modern AI-based forecasting tools constantly select and refine the best-performing forecasting algorithms. You get the high accuracy that was previously only possible with a dedicated team of boffins, for practically no effort.
- Scheduling: Advanced optimization algorithms build schedules that match the supply of agents with demand from customers as consistently as possible while taking into account skills and constraints like labor laws.
- Time off management: Today’s WFM applications let you define approval rules once, then grant or decline agent time-off requests, either with a couple of clicks or fully automatically, saving admin time and improving the agent experience.
- Reporting: A reporting application programming interface (API) lets you design customized reports for management or clients once, then run them whenever you need them with little or no effort. You can do this using your preferred tool - a Business Intelligence application or even a spreadsheet.
- Agent engagement: Good agent applications let agents swap shifts, view their colleagues’ shifts, and book time off on a self-service basis without the need to disturb the planner or team leader.
- Integration: Connecting WFM to the ACD, routing platform, or CRM system used to require a heavy project, involving the IT team and the ACD vendor. Today, cloud WFM applications can often be integrated by the end-user, without the need to engage IT resources.
Automation is a gift that keeps giving. Not only does it slash the time until you get value from WFM at the outset, but it also reduces the effort required to get the benefits on an ongoing basis.
Will automation steal your job?
For decades, manufacturing jobs have been done by robots. In Amazon’s warehouses, robots pick the items to be delivered to customers, One day, truck drivers will be made redundant by self-driving vehicles. Will the job of the workforce planner go the same way?
In short, no. Workforce management is a mixture of art and science. It’s a discipline where numbers and people are equally important, and it can never be completely automated.
WFM automation takes over the tedious, repetitive, and error-prone aspects of WFM. This not only reduces workload and stress for the planner, but it also frees up time for jobs that only humans can do.
- Liaising with high-impact stakeholders such as marketing, to get an early warning of upcoming campaigns
- Coaching the planning team and other colleagues
- Long-range planning based on upcoming business changes
- Collaborating with operations management
- Creating and refining a ‘plan to react’ to inject science into real-time management
- Contact center transformation initiatives
Find out more
injixo pioneered the use of AI for forecasting and deploys optimization and automation to improve results and make the planner’s life easier.
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Originally published on May 17, 2022, updated on May 31, 2022.