Monday, July 25, 2011

Important call center metrics: Agent turnover

Working in a call center is demanding due to the nature of fluctuating call volumes, emotions calls, and time pressure. As a result, many call centers experience a high turn-over. It's not uncommon that some centers experience 30% or more - meaning that 3 out of 10 people leave and need to get replaced and trained. A high turnover has a negative impact on costs, productivity and service quality of the center.

How can you reduce turnover in a call center? First, you need to measure your turnover, and try to identify and track the reasons for the turnover. Second, you need to find ways to improve working conditions - here is a list of tips and ideas where to start :
  • Hire the "right" people - make sure you understand the challenges of your customer service or call center work and select people that can best deal with it
  • Engage - make agents part of the team by listening, encouraging them to make improvements, etc.
  • Flexibility - Providing more flexibility in their work schedule is a great way to motivate your team
  • Schedule - Use good WFM tools to create an accurate forecast and optimal schedule resulting in less overworked (and happier) agents
  • Adherence - Monitor and track schedule adherence to make sure that the call load is spread "fairly". A few agents that are not in their seats, will cause a lot of "pain" to the rest of the team.
  • Create a positive work environment - culture, office space, equipment, etc.
For more ideas and tips on call center agent motivation, please read our previous blog post.

Monday, July 18, 2011

ROI of Workforce Management Software in the Call Center

If you are in the process of selecting a workforce management solution for your call center, you might be interested in learning about the key ROI (return on investment) drivers.
  • Time savings in forecasting and scheduling activities leaves more time for supervisors and managers to coach and train their teams
  • More accurate forecasting and scheduling helps avoid over- and understaffing - resulting in improved service levels and reduced payroll costs. Better schedules also lower the cost of turn-over due to higher agent motivation and avoidance of burn-out.
  • Improved schedule adherence improves call center productivity and helps achieve or exceed your service level goals.
  • Dependent on the type of call center, the above productivity gains could also lead to increased revenues (= agent have more time for selling).
In addition to the WFM solution capabilities that reduce cost, save time or increase revenues, the overall ROI is also driven by other factors such as:
  • Ease of use and user adoption: If people don't use it you won't get the benefits of the solution.
  • Investment: The ROI is higher the greater the benefits and the lower the costs are. Therefore, the ROI is also driven by the amount of the upfront investment for the software and the implementation. Traditional on-premise software is typically characterized by a large upfront investment. In comparison, cloud based solutions have no and very low up-front costs, helping to get to an ROI faster, typically in months, versus years.
It is important to include all aspects into the ROI calculation when making a decision.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to improve call center schedule adherence

Watch this recorded webinar by The Call Center School and learn how to improve schedule adherence in your call center. During the session, call center experts share proven practices such as:
  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

Here is the link to the recorded event.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Call center forecasting and scheduling best practices

In a 2010 survey by DMG, call center managers rated the following 4 tasks as their top call center workforce management challenges:
  • Need to schedule phone and non-phone activity
  • Need to optimize the mix of full-time/part-time/flex workers
  • Poor agent adherence
  • Need to schedule multiple channel: phone, email, chat, etc.
Here are some best practices we would like to share with you that might help you overcome those challenges:
  1. Call Center Scheduling Tip: Include all activities into the schedule
  2. How to schedule full/part time and flex workers in your call center?
  3. Six simple strategies for improved call center schedule adherence.
  4. How to forecast and schedule for multiple channels - calls, emails, chat