Successful businesses are built on a number of core components. They need exceptional products and services, fantastic customer support, and the ability to quickly adapt to changing markets. However, there’s one crucial puzzle piece many business leaders often overlook: managing internal resources.
Knowing how to effectively schedule employees, forecast changing business needs, and plan for changing workflows is essential to running a productive company. After all, employees account for a significant portion of any organisation’s operating costs. If business leaders don’t know how to utilise these resources effectively, they could risk serious repercussions.
Workforce management (WFM) tools are quickly emerging as a valuable solution for businesses looking to optimise their use of human resources. These efficient and insightful platforms can help companies address everything from schedule inflexibility to low engagement.
Leading technology company, AWS (Amazon Web Services), is taking the WFM landscape to the next level, with its unique approach to AI-infused workforce engagement. Here’s what business owners need to know.
Bringing AI to Workforce Management
Employees are one of the most valuable resources any business has, yet many companies struggle to utilise them correctly. In one study, researchers found 50% of employees are still spending well over half of their days on repetitive, mundane tasks. At the same time, as workplaces become more agile and flexible, many companies are facing growing difficulties with scheduling and time management.
While traditional WFM solutions can be useful for tracking employee calendars and performance, they don’t always offer the precise, actionable insights businesses need to unlock true opportunities for growth. Adding AI into the mix could be the best way to address this problem.
Artificial Intelligence tools can help businesses to spot patterns, assess trends, and forecast needs more accurately, and effectively, with reduced effort. Indeed, a report from Accenture found AI has the potential to improve business productivity by up to 40%.
Through artificial intelligence, companies can more effectively analyze and understand their team members, workplace processes, and the steps that need to be implemented to boost performance. AI WFM tools can store, analyze, update, and observe employee data, with advanced tracking, reporting, and forecasting capabilities, built to help organizations make more informed decisions.
How AWS is Bringing AI to Workforce Management
Since launching its innovative Amazon Connect solution for the modern contact center and CX landscape Amazon Web Services has introduced numerous innovative features to its portfolio, intended to improve both customer and employee experience.
During November 2022, the company rolled out a new set of Machine Learning powered forecasting, scheduling, and capacity planning tools, for the WFM solutions built into Amazon Connect. These powerful, AI-driven solutions make it easier for managers to accurately define customer service workloads, determine required staffing levels, and leverage agents accordingly.
The ML tools are built directly into Amazon Connect, so business leaders and managers can manage their workforce in the same environment they use to generate exceptional customer experience. Some of the key ways AWS is using AI to enhance WFM experiences include:
1. Accurate ML-Powered Forecasting
Forecasting is a crucial part of running an effective contact center. It helps companies to ensure they’re leveraging the right number of agents and professionals in any instance, to deal with ever-changing customer requirements and demand levels.
The Machine Learning-based forecasting tools within Amazon Connect allow companies to access accurate predictions and insights which assist with effective forecasting. Companies can generate long and short-term forecasts to suit different needs, and these reports automatically update on a regular basis, to provide business leaders with the insights they need to make agile changes in the moment.
The Forecasting section in Amazon Connect also provides graphical and tabular views of data, broken down by queue channel, so businesses can determine exactly where they’re experiencing the most volume and demand from their audience.
2. Efficient Capacity Planning
With capacity planning tools in Amazon Connect, business leaders can ensure they’re keeping costs low, without compromising on excellent customer experiences. The machine learning tools built into the capacity planning ecosystem shows how many full-time equivalent agents are necessary to help businesses reach their service-level goals, based on long-term forecasts.
Companies can conduct “what-if” analyses within the ecosystem to see whether changes to their workflows will improve service-level targets and business results. It’s possible to assess how changes in scheduling will influence everything from average speed of answer to customer experience. Plus, reports can be created and exported to share with stakeholders.
3. Business Scheduling Support
Amazon Connect ensures business leaders can leverage the right number of agents, with the correct skills to support customer contacts on any channel, at any time. The scheduling technology generates individual agent schedules based on shift patterns, short-term forecasts, schedule policies and rules. Additionally, agents can view their schedules in their workspace, to adjust when needed.
HR and Business leaders can define rules for staffing and scheduling requirements at a group or agent level. Plus, it’s possible to enable or disable time off request management, so companies can determine exactly how much control their employees should have over choosing their own schedules.
4. Automating Request Management
Part of running an effective and efficient team in today’s contact center landscape, is ensuring every employee has the best possible experience at work. With Amazon Connect, companies can provide their employees with the opportunity to choose when they want to take time off (within set parameters), and when they want to work overtime, without the need for manual approvements.
Using machine learning, the technology can make adjustments to schedules in real-time, moving and creating additional rest breaks, and ensuring service levels are maintained. This frees managers up to focus on other tasks, like coaching agents and reviewing metrics.
Agents can access their schedules via the agent application, and utilize personalized insights to make intelligent decisions about their schedule.
Unlocking the Power of AI in Workforce Management
Managing an effective, productive, and efficient workforce has always been a core component in running a successful business. However, as workplaces become more confusing and complex, and customer expectations evolve, it can be difficult for any business leader to ensure they’re getting the most from their resources.
Implementing machine learning and artificial intelligence into the workforce management landscape with tools like Amazon Connect can help businesses to achieve their operational goals. The built-in and convenient capabilities empower companies to maintain excellent levels of customer service and support, while consistently optimizing their teams.