Call Center Management Feature Article
March 25, 2009
Three Tips to Improve Call Center Management
By Patrick Barnard, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
When agent time isn’t properly managed, not only is your company losing money in terms of lost productivity, it’s also potentially losing money in terms of attracting new customers, retaining old customers through good customer service, and generating sales.
To help companies maximize agent time and keep their call centers running efficiently, Workforce Management Software (WFM) solutions provider Monet Software has published a list of recommended practices. What follows are the first three of ten tips the company is offering to help call center mangers improve their operations in 2009:
As you probably know, the number of calls and the arrival patterns vary from day to day. Despite this, starting times, lunch breaks, end times, etc. are often fixed over the week, resulting either in overstaffing (which results in higher costs) or understaffing (which results in lower service levels and revenues). That’s why more and more call centers are switching from a fixed to a flexible shift model.
But how do you implement and manage a flexible model? Gradually implement a flexible shift model by introducing it to some of your agents (existing and/or new hires) first, and over time roll it out to the entire center. This change can increase your service levels by 1 to 2 percent, and result in a similar percentage of savings in personnel costs.
Many companies underestimate the sheer volume of shrinkage (this is the amount of paid time that each agent is not available for calls). For example, in a 30 agent call center, 20 minutes shrinkage per agent equates to 10 hours per day in shrinkage. If those agents are being paid $12 per hour plus benefits, equaling $15 per hour, it means you are losing $150 per day, $750 a week or $39,000 per year.
While it is not possible to recover all lost time, imagine you can reduce shrinkage from 20 to 10 minutes, resulting in a $20,000 savings alone, plus improved service levels. That is only the tip of the iceberg if you also consider lost sales due to shrinkage, which again, can easily add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
How can you reduce shrinkage? There are three key elements:
--Better match call volume with agent availability through a flexible shift model (see #1)
--Inform and Educate: Agents need to understand the relevance of schedule adherence, how a mere 10 minutes here and there impacts other agents and the entire call center 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