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Workforce Management Can Minimize the Impact of Training Budget Cuts

March 20, 2009

Research has shown time and again the importance of training within the contact center to ensure that each and every customer interaction is a quality interaction. Unfortunately, many companies are feeling the impact of the recession and having to cut spending wherever possible. For the contact center, the cuts often are taken from training.

Bersin & Associates released the results of a study earlier this year that showed average training expenditures per employee fell 11 percent in 2008 compared to the year before. In addition, the overall U.S. training market shrank from $58.6 billion in 2007 to $56.2 billion in 2008.

“When budgets became tight, organizations with a traditional training focus suffered most,” Bersin president, Josh Bersin said in a statement. “Today’s business world demands a combination of formal and informal learning with an emphasis on collaboration, knowledge sharing, social networking, coaching, and mentoring.”

While much of the slashed training is happening throughout the corporate structure and is not necessarily confined to the contact center, the lack of training could have the biggest impact within the center. Why? For better or for worse, these employees are the first and sometimes only contact between the customer and the company and one bad experience can turn the customer to the competition.

Some industry experts have argued against new methods of training, claiming that training in classrooms or through computer coursework is less effective compared to less-formal modes of training, such as on-the-job learning and the use of social networking tools.

“We recommend that organizations make measuring the value and impact of learning a priority,” Doug Harward, chief executive of Training Industry, said in a statement. “This way, training organizations can make better-informed budgetary decisions about which training should be supported and which training needs to be improved.”

This is where automated workforce management solutions come in and make training more viable and cost effective within the contact center. Even in times of tighter budgets, much of the necessary training tools are already in place.

The bigger cost to the center could be the loss of that agent from the phones while in training. To better manage the absence, a workforce management solution can measure the anticipated volume and schedule according to expected need. The agent’s training can then be scheduled around peak times to maximize their time in the center.

Having trained and skilled contact center agents in place is crucial to the overall success of the contact center and this is only possible through scheduled training. With a workforce management solution from Monet Software, the contact center will be better equipped to manage all training to drive optimal performance.

Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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