Creating a connected team has become more important recently for workforce management (WFM) professionals. With many companies shifting away from the traditional office environment, it has become more difficult than ever for WFM analysts and supervisors to stay connected with agents.
Among the main challenges WFM analysts face in this new era of remote and hybrid contact centers are feelings of disconnect that can negatively impact agent retention and lead to faulty lines of communication. In addition, work-from-home (WFH) agents often prefer more flexibility with scheduling, which makes staffing decisions more challenging.
So, what can be done?
Mobile WFM solutions, which empower agents to have greater control over their schedules, can help immensely. Implementing a mobile WFM app solution with them makes a difference to businesses because the technology improves and streamlines communication.
The Benefits of Using Mobile WFM Technology
Timely communication is the way of the world today, and it has never been more true for remote/WFH workers.
Many contact centers are experimenting with different communication methods to discover the most effective approach to reducing the negative impacts of hybrid or fully remote team structures. This leads them to discover a dedicated mobile WFM app is often the best solution to improve communication while also delivering a unique user experience created with agents and supervisors in mind.
Below are the top three benefits for each role.
Top Benefits for Agents
1. Schedule access from anywhere and team/supervisor notifications.
A mobile WFM app ensures agents always have access to their schedules. Yes, life happens, such as traffic accidents and late buses or trains, and as a result agents can’t always make their shifts on time. The same goes for agents WFH who have errands to run, like doctor’s appointments and picking up their children from school.
Agents can utilize a WFM app to quickly notify their supervisors and teams when they run late. As a result, agents no longer need to try and track down their supervisor or waste time leaving voicemails to ensure their entire team knows they need extra coverage.
...by empowering agents...a WFM app helps improve agent retention rates.
In addition to always knowing when they work, agents can also view their schedule adherence and productivity throughout the day. This can empower agents to self-correct their time worked.
For example, an agent may notice they are taking extended lunch breaks too often. To correct this, they can adapt to take their break at a set time, ensuring they return from lunch earlier before starting their afternoon calls.
2. Get instant notifications relating to schedule changes and internal memos and news.
One of the most significant benefits of a mobile WFM app is the ability to receive instant notifications. Intraday changes happen often in a contact center. A new issue with a service or a hot product that makes the lines heat up, or sudden staff absences caused by inclement weather can and do happen.
With instant push notifications, agents are immediately notified of new shift opportunities, allowing an agent to step in and fill slots as needed. The result? Staffing up and down is more convenient for agents and the contact center, saving time and resources.
In addition to scheduling notifications, a mobile WFM app can send relevant notifications that may impact all agents. For example, it can instantly notify the team of any holiday schedule changes, office closures due to weather, or other urgent notices.
An app is more convenient than sending updates through group text. That’s because there’s no need to manage phone numbers and everyone using the app is directly linked with your WFM software.
With a mobile WFM app in place, everyone can rest assured they are in the know about important updates that may impact their work.
3. Submit time-off requests.
WFM mobile apps also allow agents to submit time off requests, no matter where they are, without needing to wait until they are back in front of their computers. They will also receive a notification the moment the request is approved or denied.
Top Benefits for Supervisors
1. Monitor agent performance at any time, from anywhere.
A WFM mobile app enables supervisors to instantly view real-time alerts and monitor the daily or weekly performance of their agents, regardless of where they are. This makes a difference because supervisors also WFH and are sometimes away from their desk for meetings or other events.
Being able to access critical agent information on the go also empowers supervisors to proactively make positive and timely adjustments to improve the overall performance of the contact center.
2. Track agent schedule adherence and attendance.
Much like agents can view their schedules and adherence from any location, supervisors can do the same.
A supervisor can more easily stay on top of their performance by monitoring important information like agent check-ins from a mobile device and can even check-in an agent on their behalf if needed. Monitoring adherence from a tablet is another option for better views into schedule adherence information.
3. Send messages to individuals, groups, or teams.
A WFM app increases the frequency of supervisor communication and allows them to quickly send a message to colleagues when they are away from the office.
The app allows supervisors to start the conversation remotely and then continue the conversation within the WFM software upon returning to work. Supervisors can also contact an individual, a team, or the entire contact center with messages that are actionable and remain within the WFM software forever.
What Else To Look For in an App
Once you determine that a mobile WFM app is beneficial for both your agents and supervisors, what else should you look for? Here are a couple additional things to consider as your contact center evaluates this technology.
1. An easy, intuitive set-up process and QR code functionality.
You don’t want an app that will stump any employees who aren’t especially tech-savvy. You also don’t want to implement a solution that will require constant IT assistance.
When evaluating WFM software that includes a mobile app, see if any solutions provide a QR code for employees to scan. It’s an easy way to create a link between the mobile app and the software.
2. The ability to personalize the app with employee identity details.
It’s also ideal to have a WFM app that allows agents to change their profile photos and make other personalized updates. This is a fun feature for agents to express themselves, and it adds a personal touch within the software. Supervisors are also able to approve or deny any photo submissions by agents directly within the mobile app.
How To Make the WFM App a Core Technology
Once a decision has been made to move forward with a WFM app, the next step is making the technology a core part of your contact center operations. Below are the top three tips for teams to consider when implementing a mobile WFM app directly with supervisors and agents.
1. Ensure as many agents as possible can use the app.
Not all agents will have the newest phones, so take the time to help agents get the app installed. Your WFM software provider should provide basic information around what versions of phone operating systems will be too old to run the app. Your contact center may also want to consider buying basic phones for any agents with legacy technology.
2. Have agents add a generic “WFM Admin” contact to their phones.
This step is a good backup for agents who block unknown numbers. It helps ensure that text message notifications, should they have these enabled within the WFM software, about shifts or the app are not perceived as spam.
This step may seem redundant at first, but it can be valuable to have in place as a back-up plan should an agent switch phones or have temporary issues running the app.
3. Train agents on how to use the app effectively.
It’s critical to show agents how to use the app to ensure they are aware of any capabilities that are especially relevant to their role. Schedule training initially when launching the app and utilize your vendor to help educate the greater team. After this has been completed, continue ongoing app training with new agents and as needed, for any updates to the app itself.
A Mobile WFM App Helps Operations Run Smoothly
When set up successfully and used across an entire contact center, a mobile WFM app helps to improve efficiency, keep everyone engaged, and consolidate all communication into one place.
No longer does information have to live in an email here or a text message there before manually being inputted into the WFM software. In addition, by empowering agents to control their schedules from anywhere, a WFM app helps improve agent retention rates.