Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
January 29, 2013
Do You Know What Questions to Ask Before Selecting WFM for Call Center Scheduling?
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
In the call center environment, one of the most valuable assets that contribute to the success of the center is its agents. Individuals trained to handle complex interactions while still delivering first call resolution and customer satisfaction are essential to the call center’s overall operation. When these individuals are not engaging with customers, however, they are a drain on profit.
The operational costs related to staffing for the call centers represent 70 to 80 percent of the overall budget. Understaffing leads to frustrated agents trying to handle too many calls in an hour and frustrated customers waiting too long to speak with a qualified agent. The overstaffed call center has the same feel; only agents are sitting idle without enough to do during the scheduled shift.
Those responsible for call center scheduling need robust workforce management tools to balance the work that needs to be completed with the resources available. There is a definite tipping point where the call center is either going to turn a profit or report a loss. Fortunately, with the right tools at hand, that tipping point can be determined and all activities pushed toward a profit.
A recent CRM Marketplace report highlighted the importance of call center scheduling based on accurate forecasting. Workforce management tools help in the creation of an accurate forecast, as long as the selected solution meets the needs of the call center. It’s not enough for the solution to simply address forecasting and scheduling needs. It must also be flexible, scalable and supported by a proven provider. CRM Marketplace suggests that call center management take a closer look at workforce management solutions before selecting the right fit. In the process, there are a few questions to address:
· Is the call center scheduling function scalable? Change is the one thing that is always constant in the call center environment. To be effective, the solution must be easily scalable without requiring a major overhaul.
· Is enough data collected to accurately forecast? If the system stores no more than 16 weeks of historical data, an accurate forecast cannot be created. Maximum accuracy demands several years of detailed data.
· Will the system generate forecasts and schedules in just minutes? Time is of the essence in the call center. If the workforce management solution takes hours to create a forecast and schedule, the system should be avoided.
· Are adjustments made for variables? All elements considered into call center scheduling can easily change. Optimization tools should be in place to automatically adjust for fluctuations, abandoned calls, unplanned meetings, special events, etc.
· Can repeated tasks be automated? A number of repeated tasks take up the call center manager’s time. If these tasks can be automated, 50 to 60 percent of that time is freed up for coaching, training and supervising.
· Is a single optimized schedule available without edits? It’s important that the workforce management solution accommodate all the elements in call center scheduling, including meetings, breaks, lunches, etc. If these things have to be added offline, the benefits are quickly negated.
While this list merely scratches the surface of the questions to ask when selecting a workforce management solution, it can be used to ensure the tools implemented to ease the call center scheduling process deliver the benefits for which they were intended.
Edited by Carlos Olivera