The Key to Successful Call Center Workforce Optimization
January 17, 2013
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Change in the contact center is not always met with positive results. Those who have been in the industry for a while know what works and what doesn’t and are often known to stay the course rather than rock the boat. Such a mentality can be damaging to the mentality and productivity of the center, however, especially when call center workforce optimization can lead to significant gains.
An inContact blog highlighted the positive change that can occur for agents in the contact center and the business overall when call center workforce optimization is a primary focus. The type of change that is brought about by the implementation of workforce optimization involves matching the right employees with the right skills to the right task at the right time. It eliminates frustration and optimizes the interaction for all.
But, the implementation of call center workforce optimization should not be approached as a one-time fix, but instead fluid activity. Managers must focus on evolving techniques over time to ensure they can achieve superior results on a consistent basis. When this is the primary goal developed through strategy, call center workforce optimization can drive transformational and positive change.
Consider inContact’s approach to workforce optimization within the call center. The company’s best practices address shift bidding, scheduling change, social media, SLAs (service level agreements) and a healthy balance between work and life. Scheduling is one of the biggest challenges in the call center as managers try to right-fit agents according to the anticipated level of call volume. Shift bidding through automation asks agents individually for their schedule preferences, assigning shifts based on quality monitoring scores and performance instead of tenure. If this demands a change to scheduling practices, management should be proactive, demonstrating the benefits it provides to agents.
Social media is an effective way to engage with customers, but it’s also a relatively new channel within the contact center. Agents can not only drive a quality customer interaction, they can also gain significant intelligence from individual interactions, as well as the chatter that goes on among the channels. Agents are likely to need additional training for monitoring and handling social media posts and customers need access to the right individuals to provide the answers they need. With call center workforce optimization, agents have access to the channels and tools they need to make effective connections.
Achieving your SLAs is another critical element to success in the call center, but don’t view it as simply something to check off when a customer interaction is complete. Instead, examine how resolution was achieved and measure the level of staffing to achieve the objective. If it takes more staff than expected to meet your SLAs, something may need to change in your scheduling or your measurements.
Finally, don’t forget the importance of achieving a healthy balance between work and life. Agents are much more likely to perform at optimal levels if they get a healthy dose of time off when not on the clock. This healthy balance also demands an appropriate approach to staffing, making sure you don’t overwork agents when you schedule too few or cause boredom because too many are on the clock.
With the implementation of effective call center workforce optimization solutions, the overall performance of the call center is improved. Just remember – the key is in the implementation.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli