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The Wide World of WFM

It’s a big deal…and it’s about to get bigger.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “How do those international customer service teams work around the clock?” then you might already know about workforce management (aka WFM). But for most people, it’s an entire world of careers, workflows, and internal structures that unfortunately often go unnoticed.

We’re on a bit of a crusade around here to change that because we think it’s important. Without WFM, the business world just wouldn’t be the same, and things wouldn’t run nearly so smoothly. So let’s dive in for a short overview of the big topic that is WFM.

What Is WFM Exactly?

Basically, it’s honing background processes, systems, and practices to boost staff productivity and make sure that everything is running like a well-oiled machine. Where CX is involved, this means managing support teams to ensure their workflow is optimized when it comes to everything from scheduling to timing to success metrics and beyond.

Effective WFM takes into account what a company’s staffing requirements are now and forecasts what they are going to be in the future. It ensures that schedules are created on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, and sometimes more basis. It also involves scheduling time within each day to account for different types of tasks (such as when a support agent should do chat and switch to email).

The field requires a lot of numbers, charting, and forecasting. Knowing not just where things are currently, but where they will be in the next week, month, or even year is key. It takes a lot of planning, configuring, and retooling to get it right.

Why Is WFM Important?

If a process isn’t working, a WFM Manager will deconstruct it and find out exactly what’s wrong and come up with solutions to fix it. If a process doesn’t exist, they’ll build it from the ground up. WFM is all about creating a seamless workflow that often saves the company money or reduces their staffing requirements.

WFM requires a lot of flexibility too — and that can be tough to achieve when you’re managing hundreds of people around the globe. An unexpected event like a snowstorm just before the holidays that delays shipments can cause a need for more support staff to be available at a moment's notice. Or a new marketing campaign can increase the number of questions coming into the sales department. WFM managers need to have a birds-eye-view of everything happening in a company and be ready to make changes on the fly.

Why Is WFM a Big Deal in CX?

There are a few reasons that WFM is a secret weapon that every company relies on, but few understand or acknowledge. Managing a workforce, creating seamless workflows, developing reports, forecasting staffing needs, anticipating CX needs, and dozens more tasks are all sort of lumped into “Customer Support” and often ignored.

Since our world is becoming more digital and companies are expanding their reach, support teams are also getting larger. The need to effectively manage these teams will also grow, and so will the field of WFM. While it might not be on everyone’s radar right now, WFM is about to get even bigger, so get on board and join us in spreading the word!

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Alexa Huth

Alexa Huth

Visually impaired author and adventurer

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