Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Call center shrinkage - why does it get more difficult to manage?

The increasing complexity of call center configurations with multiple locations, many time zones, more demanding customer interactions, and new communication channels make it more difficult to manage shrinkage. You cannot any longer manage the shrinkage in today’s complex centers just by standing up and looking out across your center or using a manual/spreadsheet based approach. Here are some of the challenges centers need to overcome:
  • Distributed call centers and home agents make it more difficult to manage and track breaks, attendance, exceptions, etc.
  • Multiple communication channels (phone, email, chat, social media, etc.) make it more difficult to manage shrinkage without appropriate tools to forecast, schedule and track adherence for each channel.
  • Some call centers have no effective way to forecast and schedule non-call activities such as breaks, meetings, unplanned discussions – resulting in shrinkage.
Therefore, shrinkage becomes more of an issue for call centers that don’t leverage WFM solutions. Usually, they don’t have the necessary visibility into what happens at any moment in time and what is supposed to happen based on the published schedule. Learn more about how to reduce shrinkage by watching the on demand webinar "Strategies for improved call center schedule adherence". In this educational webinar, industry expert Penny Reynolds from the The Call Center School, shares proven practices on schedule adherence that have resulted in increased availability and reduced shrinkage.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Scheduling Spreadsheets: Are they a low cost alternative for your call center?

Many small to medium size call centers still use spreadsheets to forecast and manage call center schedules and workforce planning, assuming that it is a sufficient tool for fewer agents. Quite to the contrary, it is more difficult to manage fewer agents in a small to medium size center, and here is why:
  • Behavior of individual agents have bigger impact on overall center performance;
  • Fewer agents need to multi-task, making skill-based scheduling more complex;
  • It is more difficult to correct the schedule once it has been upset by unexpected events.
Staffing is the most expensive resource in the entire call center budget (60 to 80%), therefore, even a 1% increase in productivity will significantly impact the bottom line. Read more in this short whitepaper The Real Costs of Spreadsheet Based Scheduling.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Great online event about Call Center Schedule Adherence

Yesterday, we hosted an extremely well attended webast with the topic: "Six simple strategies for improved call center schedule adherence." People asked a lot of great questions and we had lots of interactions during this online event about the following topics:
  1. How to quantify the cost and service implications of missing staff
  2. Learn about options for setting adherence performance goals
  3. How to identify the reasons why staff don't adhere to the schedule plan
  4. How to develop reward and consequence programs that support adherence goals
  5. How to effectively track, monitor and measure adherence
In case you missed it, here is the link to the recorded session - enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Call center workforce management from anywhere – with your mobile device

In the ongoing effort to make schedules more flexible and better address fluctuating call volumes and also give agents more flexibility, more call centers implement web based communication tools to collaborate between agents and supervisors in almost real-time. With new wireless, high bandwidth devices, these web-based tools can be literally available from anywhere. Here are few examples:
  • Get alerts on mobile devices based on thresholds (service level, adherence, etc.)
  • Monitor adherence from anywhere and be able to act right away
  • Manage schedule changes on the spot and adjust staffing as needed
  • Manage exception handling between agents and supervisors, especially across multiple locations.
  • Shift bidding: Open up shifts for bidding and assign agents right from the mobile device
With more call center solutions offered in the "cloud", it becomes easier to use those applications on a mobile device through a web browser.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to improve schedule adherence in your call center

One of the most challenging jobs related to managing any call center, is often ensuring there is the right number of staff with the right skills available at the right times of the day. How do you get your staff to show up for work on time and stick to their planned schedule and break times?

Monet Software is sponsoring a free webinar that exactly addresses this topic: "Six simple strategies for improved call center schedule adherence." Please join our special guest speaker and industry expert, Penny Reynolds from the The Call Center School, for this webinar on May 11th. She will share with you proven practices on schedule adherence that have resulted in increased availability. Please register here.