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Considerations for Workforce Management

January 24, 2012

The call center is constantly responsible for balancing cost with service. Catering to customer demand is no longer enough; the call center today must be able to drive loyalty, identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities and deliver on multichannel performance expectations. To meet these lofty goals, a robust workforce management solution should be in place.

Monet Software recently explored this concept in a blog focused on the cost of staffing for the call center. For the company seeking a justification for the investment in workforce management, they need only to look at the expenses related to staffing – as much as 70 percent, according to Monet. If you don’t have the right number of people in the right seats at the right time every hour of the day, this number could easily rise higher.

Consider the day when your spreadsheet approach to scheduling missed an overlap of two employee groups. You have one hour with too many people on the floor, not enough ringing phones and suddenly your shrinkage just increased exponentially. You’ve already overspent for staff you didn’t need and morale suffered as every agent realized the mistake too late. The opposite can have even more dire effects when the overlap means you have too few people on the phones and service quality suffers.

In such scenarios, there are two key questions you should ask: can you really afford to use spreadsheets for your forecasting and scheduling? And, can you realize measureable improvements with your workforce management software that will result in savings that exceed the overall cost of the solution?

To accurately evaluate the situation in your environment, there are really three things you should consider:

Increased efficiency – there are promised savings associated with more efficient scheduling practices, such as a reduction in the overall staff hours and the need for overtime. You can also more readily identify overstaffing issues. Monet Software research has determined that call centers using workforce management generally reduce staff hours by 2 percent, which translates into savings of an average of 5 – 10 percent.

Scheduling automation – using a spreadsheet to forecast and schedule for your call center may have worked when you had just a few agents on the phone. Now that you’ve grown, you need to streamline your activities and introduce more accuracy into your processes. It is generally expected that workforce management will save you 25 percent of manual input time. This saved time can then be used for coaching, training and other activities.

Improvements in schedule adherence – you know the value of your scheduling is only as good as your agents’ ability to stick to it. You don’t want to pay people for unproductive time. A workforce management solution can provide access to historical and real-time information on schedule adherence and exceptions to improve management and better control your staff. This can easily reduce your workforce shrinkage by as much as 20 minutes per agent per day.

Once you’ve done your homework, take a look at robust workforce management solutions and measure the potential value for your environment. The results are sure to surprise you as you’re on your way to a more efficient operation.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Chris DiMarco

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