Proper Contact Center Employee Training Leads to Optimal Environment
August 29, 2006
By Susan J. Campbell, Workforce Management Contributing Editor
Contact center supervisors know that call center scheduling is one of the biggest challenges that they face in creating efficient operations. Peaks and valleys in call volume dictate the level of staff required and when those levels fall short. Under these conditions, agents can become rushed and stressed and customer service levels can suffer, thus impacting the bottom line.
Proper call center scheduling goes beyond ensuring that there is an adequate amount of staff to handle the customer volume. Supervisors must also understand how to achieve the proper mix of agents so that all areas of expertise are properly represented at all times. While many customer issues can be handled by any available agent, some do require an added level of expertise. The center cannot afford to lose a customer simply because the agent handling the call was not experienced enough to ensure proper service and resolution.
In order to ensure proper employee scheduling, many software options are available that can simplify the process for contact center management, allowing them more time to attend to the needs of the center while not rushing to find replacements for lack of staff or absent employees. These software solutions can analyze the schedules of employees and arrange them so that the contact center can operate at its highest efficiency.
Employees in the contact can be the company’s biggest asset, but also the highest cost. As contact centers in general tend to drain significant enterprise resources, tremendous focus has been put on driving down costs while maximizing operations for optimal efficiency. Proper staff scheduling fits right into that strategy as it ensures that employee time is utilized efficiently to produce maximum productivity.
As important as controlling costs is in the contact center industry, more focus has been put on driving customer service and contact center management is charged with finding the balance between achieving efficiencies while still delivering the optimal customer experience. Technology and increasing competition has made it easy for customers to take their business elsewhere and the cost of replacing the customer base is significantly higher than maintaining it.
Just as important as customer service levels is the ability of the contact center to ensure the proper working environment for their employees. Contact center agents in particular are in positions that can cause high stress due to the nature of the work involved. When an agent has to handle higher volumes of calls than normal, their tolerance is tested further especially as customers may be frustrated due to wait times or lack of efficient service. This type of work environment on a daily basis can result in high agent attrition and higher costs to the organization when replacing that trained agent.
Proper contact center employee scheduling provides numerous benefits to the organization that can help deliver the optimal customer experience and produce efficient and productive work environments. With good call center scheduling in place, organizations can realize lower overall costs and increased revenues as a result of satisfied customers.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.