AI and Workforce Management
Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been around for many decades, but only in the last ten years have we seen it become a mainstream part of how we live and work.
Generally speaking, modern AI refers to technology’s ability to engage in what’s called unsupervised learning. In unsupervised learning, the computer takes a data set provided by the user and independently analyzes the data, discovers patterns in it, and produces outputs that aren’t reliant on any sort of pre-existing rule set.
In practical terms, this means we can take any sort of data that arises from our call center–employee data, customer data, call data, and so on–and with the help of AI, turn it into actionable insights we can use to drive positive business outcomes.
Harnessing AI in your contact center can help you:
- Improve efficiency
- Gain insights that will strengthen agent training and coaching
- Create an agent experience culture, boosting morale and reducing unwanted outcomes like absenteeism and turnover.
All of these things can have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Here are four ways to employ AI as a WFM tool in your contact center.
In the contact center industry, the ability to accurately forecast call volume and the corresponding labor needs is paramount. Without accurate forecasting, you risk excessive labor costs for unnecessary staffing or reduced customer satisfaction as a result of longer wait times.
AI can help you compile more precise forecasts by identifying patterns in historic data on call, message and email volume for any given time frame.
Such patterns can be used to generate predictions about future volume and the labor that will be required to accommodate it. Workforce management software forecasting tools can account for seasonal changes and even external events, and can be used to accurately forecast not only the number of agents you should schedule, but the most appropriate skill sets to prioritize for a specific period.
When done manually, scheduling is one of the biggest human resource challenges for contact centers. Thankfully, this was one of the earliest available features of WFM software, and it’s evolved by leaps and bounds in recent years thanks to machine learning and AI.
An AI-enabled WFM system helps you balance your labor requirements with the personal needs of your agents, accommodating fixed availability, time off requests, required breaks, shift rules and shift changes.
AI takes call center scheduling one step further, enabling you to learn the efficiency levels and skill sets of every employee and schedule them when their talents will be best utilized. AI can prioritize individual preferences and implement fairness standards so more desirable and less desirable shifts are more evenly split among agents over time. Then, within your WFO platform, you can easily distribute the schedule to your whole team, make real-time updates, and even enable agents to swap shifts independently to further reduce manual scheduling tasks.
Prioritizing your agents’ scheduling preferences helps promote greater work-life balance, which is tied to all kinds of positive outcomes from higher performance to fewer health problems. By using WFO software and AI for scheduling, you’ll enjoy greater workforce productivity and fewer of the downfalls associated with over-staffing.
Create a continuous cycle of quality analysis and improvement with AI-enabled WFM performance tracking tools. Instant screen capture enables you to monitor 100% of agent interactions in real-time so you can instantly flag and address any glaring issues or opt to come back to call sessions for follow-up coaching later on.
AI speech analysis tools assess customer conversations and identify the sentiment of every call, then deliver clear, value-packed reports you can use to monitor your agents’ performance over time.
By applying these tools both at the individual agent level and collectively to entire teams, you can create a constant cycle of performance improvement that leads to greater customer satisfaction.
Another area where AI speech recognition tools come in handy is in compliance. Contact centers are particularly at the mercy of legally required statements like recording notifications, solicitation disclosures, rules pertaining to debt collection, and many more.
Real-time conversation monitoring and speech analysis helps you ensure every agent is making the required disclosures on every call, minimizing your risk for legal action.
Compliance is also a factor when it comes to labor labor laws–rules regarding breaks, sick days, overtime pay, and so on. A WFM system can help you stay on top of all the requirements you’re subject to, protecting you from potential litigation.
The Upshot: More Brain Power
The modern contact center is, by default, an omnichannel environment. From voice to email to webchat and beyond, there have never been more ways to engage with your customers.
While ideal from a service standpoint, such an environment comes with mounting workforce management challenges. AI is quickly becoming an important silent partner for the contact center, helping to assist on calls behind the scenes to deliver faster, more relevant service by enhancing agent experience and performance.
After all, two heads are better than one.
LiveVox is a next-generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 Billion interactions a year. We seamlessly integrate omnichannel communications, CRM, and WFO capabilities to deliver an exceptional agent and customer experience, while reducing compliance risk. Our reliable, easy-to-use technology enables effective engagement strategies on communication channels of choice to drive performance in your contact center. Our battle-tested risk mitigation and security tools help clients maximize their potential in an ever-changing business environment. With 20 years of pure cloud expertise LiveVox is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. Our more than 450 global employees are headquartered in San Francisco; with offices in Atlanta, Denver, New York City, St. Louis, Medellin, Colombia, and Bangalore, India.