Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
April 03, 2014
Inefficient Contact Center Scheduling Could Be Costing Small Centers $50,000 Each Year
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
As with most industries, in the contact center, labor is the number one cost. It’s estimated that between 60 and 80 percent of ongoing call center expenses are related to recruiting, hiring, training and paying workers. Unfortunately for the contact center, extremely high turnover – which is endemic in the call center industry – pushes this figure higher than in most industries.
But it’s not simply turnover that causes dollars to fly out the door: it’s poorly allocated and used human resources thanks to ineffective scheduling. Many contact centers find the prospect of understaffing too scary for the customer experience – making a good customer wait five or more minutes on hold is the kiss of death for future business out of that customer – so they resort to overstaffing to ensure that call queues don’t get too long. This, of course, becomes very expensive and often leads to bored call center agents who sit too long between calls.
For this reason, getting scheduling right is one of the most critical operations of the contact center. Many contact centers today still rely on manual scheduling processes that involve complex algorithms worked out on Excel spreadsheets. These methods are inflexible, inaccurate and difficult to make changes to, according to a recent blog post by workforce management solutions provider Monet Software.
“Having the optimum number of agents at the right time with the right skills, in the right place is essential to call center success and profitability,” blogged Monet staffers. “Despite this fact, many contact centers still use spreadsheets and other manual tools to manage their agent schedules. These sub-optimal schedules often result in overstaffing, lower agent productivity and higher shrinkage. The resulting costs can add up to $30,000 to $50,000 per year for call centers with as few as 25 agents.”
Ultimately, poor scheduling practices could lead to wasting money equivalent to nearly two full-time agents. (That money could be put to much better use in hiring more agents, if necessary, or upgrading call center systems.) Today’s modern workforce management solutions help contact centers of all sizes solve this challenge by automating key tasks that have an immediate impact on the bottom line through more accurate call volume forecasting, staffing calculations and scheduling and daily performance tracking. Companies can pinpoint problems and bottlenecks and build more accurate schedules that lead to neither over-staffing (which loses money) and under-staffing (which leads to angry customers, lost business and harried agents.)
Cloud-based solutions such as those offered by Monet allow for fast setup, easy integration and easy administration, meaning companies can be up and running with a high quality scheduling solution within days, and begin saving money and manpower right away.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi