Call Center Management Feature Article
May 10, 2011
What is Proper Call Center Management?
By Chris DiMarco, TMCnet Managing Editor
The proper management of a call center is a delicate balancing act that requires a number of faculties to properly handle. The fundamentals of proper management manifest in making sure that your call center has enough agents to cover the volume of calls coming in, but not so many that your agents are idle for extended periods of time. Understanding as many of the basic principles of call center staffing as well as incorporating a workforce management system can ease the amount of time and energy it takes to keep a call center running in top order.
Adherence, for example, is one aspect that needs to be constantly in your call center management strategy. Adherence compares the planned activity levels of agents to actual activity levels throughout the day and is directly related to when they’re scheduled to arrive and depart on a daily basis. Adherence provides a real-time view of forecasted and actual call volumes, handle times and other key performance indicators. Making sure that your agents adhere to a preset schedule allows them to serve you as effectively as possible. On the other hand lack of adherence causes overworked staff, high occupancy, reduced speed of service, and higher costs due to unproductive agents.
Shrinkage is the term used to describe the amount of time a call center agent is not on the phones. Many companies underestimate the sheer volume of shrinkage that their workforce may be subject to. However, improper call center scheduling and workforce management can leach thousands from a company.
The negative effects of these performance indicators demonstrate how important call center management is. Say, for example, you run a 30 agent call center. 20 minutes of down time per agent equates to 10 hours per day in shrinkage. If the agents are getting $12 per hour plus benefits, equaling $15 per hour, you would be losing $150 per day, $750 a week or $39,000 per year. Properly managing the volume peaks and valleys within your call center can allow you proactively save money in the long term.
Paramount to the proper management of a call center is a workforce management software suite that allows a call center manager to accurately forecast the work load that’s expected on any given day in a season. By analyzing historical information, duration of customer contact, expected seasonal peaks and staff schedules, workforce management software can quickly balance how many agents you have vs. how many you’ll need.
Balancing your staff is the key to proper call center management. By monitoring these performance indicators and monitoring your operation as a whole with a WFM you’ll have the actionable intelligence needed to improve your efficiency.
Chris DiMarco is a Web Editor for TMCnet. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University. Prior to joining TMC (News - Alert) Chris worked with e-commerce provider Suresource as a contact center representative and development analyst. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves