Defining WFO. (Hint – It’s Not Just About Workforce Management)

If you’re a contact center manager, you’ve probably heard a lot about how to manage and engage your workforce with WFM and WFO – especially recently. But what makes WFO different from WFM? Let’s take a look.

What is Workforce Management (WFM)?

WFM is a set of processes that helps optimize employee productivity. At the core, it is comprised of forecasting accuracy, effective scheduling, and efficient rostering. In the contact center, WFM provides the necessary metrics to gain insights into the number of agents and supervisors with the right skill sets that are required to complete the work at any given time of day, week or month.

What is Workforce Optimization (WFO)?

Workforce Optimization is a business strategy that joins business performance and workforce management. The strategy is supported by integrated technologies, cross-functional processes and shared objectives, with an emphasis on automated processes, data visibility, and staffing. WFO is often used by call centers to improve workforce management and agent performance – and in turn, the customer experience.

WFO is an inclusive term that pulls in virtually every operational aspect of a modern call center, including workforce and quality management, analytics and business intelligence, agent engagement and customer retention, and more. Investing and committing to a bona fide WFO strategy is critical in today’s marketplace, where consumer expectations have never been higher, and your competitors are always ready to capture an unsatisfied customer.

How does WFO work in the Call Center?

A Workforce Optimization solution provides contact center management with total visibility into quality and performance. WFO is not just a single component; it bridges the span of the contact center to tie activities into an integrated strategy, working towards common business goals. This powerful package combines effective customer routing, contact and agent workflows, workforce scheduling and management, employee engagement, quality assurance, recording, scorecard, speech analytics, process automation tools, and business analysis to impact sales and service, customer retention, agent attrition, and productivity for agents and managers.

WFO leverages the large amount of rich data the contact centers gathered with every contact to help dramatically improve the ability to forecast activity, direct contacts to the best resources (either live or self-service), manage staffing, monitor performance, identify information or training gaps, and promote coaching to help companies make their agents feel more empowered and provide better, more personalized customer service.

What are the Benefits of using a WFO Solution?

A true WFO suite includes a number of technologies. On their own, each piece provides individual benefits to the organization. But when used collectively, the WFO suite helps coordinate separate but connected processes, such as schedule management, quality and training, and rewards and recognition, on an agent-by-agent basis, delivering an experience that can be personalized to target the different needs of each user.

Whatever your contact center size, Small, large, and in the middle), Workforce Optimization can deliver productivity and efficiency improvements. An effective WFO strategy can help a smaller center compete with larger groups, helping to level the playing field by using data-driven decision making to define employee and customer strategies across the organization.

  • Give employees tools and resources to succeed – Use dynamic data to provide a user experience tailored for each agent, empowering them to reach peak performance through programs that focus on their individual needs, including scheduling, coaching, training, evaluations, and motivation.
  • Identify opportunities to cross-sell/up-sell or provide proactive service – Automated analysis of real-time interactions helps agents recognize new revenue opportunities or service needs and provides guidance for the next steps to quickly capture new revenues or provide answers for customers.
  • Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty – Utilize valuable voice of the customer (VoC) data to find actionable insights that help improve service and keep customers coming back, from uncovering coaching and training gaps to optimizing staffing efficiencies by using the right agent at the right time.
  • Optimize operational performance and lower costs – Get the critical data and feedback you need to effectively and efficiently manage agent and workflow processes across functions and teams, giving you a unified view of contact center performance.


  • Process Automation
  • Omnichannel Routing
  • Workforce Management
  • Call Recording
  • Voice of The Customer
  • Quality Management
  • Analytics
  • Gamification
  • Reporting

The Noble Workforce Optimization Suite

The Workforce Optimization software suite from Noble includes all of the tools a contact center needs to run an efficient operation, manage employees and resources, and deliver a better customer experience – helping you gain a competitive advantage in today’s high-demand consumer landscape. You can add one or two pieces to start building your strategy or to choose best-of-breed solutions to complement your existing environment. Or you can choose the full suite to manage your entire WFO strategy seamlessly, from a single, unified platform with a fully-integrated UI, and single-source reporting that gives you a complete view of your customers, workforce, data, performance, and results.

Noble’s WFO portfolio shares the same ‘deployment agnostic’ design as all of our solutions. With a single code-base, our users get the same functionality, performance and reliability, regardless of how they deploy the solution – whether on-premise, in our cloud, in your cloud, using managed services, or a hybrid model – and where their agents are located, on-site or remote. Users can choose the deployment that best meets their operational and budgetary needs now, with the flexibility to add or transition to another model should their needs change in the future.

Elements of a Workforce Optimization Suite
  • Workforce Management  – WFM includes robust forecasting and staffing management that let you create schedules that put the right resources in the right place at the time, and then tracks schedule adherence so you can make adjustments to meet service level goals.
  • Quality Management & Recording  – Quickly evaluate customer interactions from all sides, recording voice and screens, as well as omnichannel sessions, for review and scoring, to ensure interaction quality and compliance with best practices.  
  • Interaction Analytics & Reporting Speech analytics uses your call recordings and text-based interactions to generate a wealth of intelligence on customers and agents and helps identify trends and opportunities. Learn what conversations and strategies get results, and which do not, and where there are problem areas, so you can address them to improve agent productivity and customer service.
  • Contact Strategy Planning & Automated Decision Processing  – Get results with intelligent data modeling. Best time to contact helps you contact the right people on the right channel and data mining of customer information and behavior to determine the best offer to meet their needs, to improve contact rates and customer engagement. Automated decisioning uses custom rules to review and approve new applications or requests, for faster decisions and responses, without taking up valuable resources.
  • Performance Management & Coaching – Use tools like Gamification to create a more engaged workforce and help move your bottom lines and improve key metrics. Motivate employees with competitions & rewards, align activity to meet business goals, ignite performance with continuous feedback, and accelerate learning using game mechanics.
  • Workflow Manager & Guidance – Integration between the phone system and your databases, such as CRM, to quickly deliver customer information to agents. Custom Agent desktops and scripts and automated call guides using real-time speech analytics help streamline workflows to eliminate manuals tasks and help suggest next steps based on triggers within the conversation.

Today’s contact centers have access to more advanced technologies than ever before, arming them with an arsenal of tools to help manage their operations. By applying a comprehensive Workforce Optimization strategy, including leading-edge innovations such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, empowers organizations to create better strategies and take the customer experience to the next level.


Want to learn more? Try these additional resources:

BLOG: Call Center Software 101: Introduction to Customer Contact Technologyread
A call center is a centralized site that is equipped to large volume of customer contacts – both incoming and outgoing – for an organization. Read our 101 Intro to Call Center Software to learn more about common technologies and tools.

BLOG: How Robotic Process Automation Can Augment Your Contact Center Workforceread
Automation helps optimize the effectiveness of human workers, improves customer experience, and reduces contact center costs.

WEBINAR ON DEMAND: 2020 – The Year That Transformed WFM
No-one could have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic and how it would affect contact centers across the globe. Organizations have reacted rapidly to a new way of working. In this webinar, we discuss the ‘shift’ in WFM – and on how a flexible workforce will continue to play an important role in staff recruitment/retention going forward.