Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
August 12, 2014
Good Call Center Scheduling Can Help As Call Centers Come Home
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The call center industry is one that has seen considerable change throughout the years. While traditional centers focused on customer care and provided jobs throughout the nation, negativity ensued when those jobs were shipped offshore. Cost cutting was the ultimate goal, but a number of companies found that such measures didn’t produce the intended benefits. Is it possible that something as simple as call center scheduling could provide the right outcome?
A recent USAToday post examines the latest trend in the call center industry – bringing jobs back to the states. Today, an estimated 5 million Americans enjoy call center employment. Why the shift back to domestic soil? For some, the difference in cultures was enough to impact the customer experience and force a change. For others, the rising cost of overseas labor and the degradation of the customer experience in general pushed for the ultimate change.
Even with rising labor costs overseas, they still don’t compete with the average wage demanded in the U.S. This reason alone won’t bring a call center back. Instead, it has to be a mixture of cons that make the cost of moving the center back to the U.S. make sense to the bottom line. In other words, customer satisfaction will go up and so will sales. Does that resonate in every industry?
Even with the promise of improved customer experiences and the revenue stream, call center leaders have to pay attention to the costs associated with production. Today, consumers appreciate the fact that they are talking to a U.S. agent; tomorrow that won’t hold as much weight and the center will instead have to focus on productivity, efficiency and problem solving. Such an approach to doing business starts with call center scheduling.
When the right agents with the right skills are scheduled at the right time of day, the center is better equipped to handle the anticipated volume of traffic. The center is also better equipped to move those calls more efficiently through the internal process so that agents can handle more calls during a given period of time. As a result, the cost of operating the center goes down and efficiency goes up. The key, of course, is to ensure that customer satisfaction is maintained at the same or an improved level.
Therein lies the key to ensuring success in call centers that are back on U.S. soil. Proper forecasting that is tied with efficient scheduling can ensure the right outcomes in the end. This doesn’t mean just a lot of work at the beginning of the process, but also consistent attention to detail to ensure scheduling matches demand. In doing so, efficiency and effectiveness are ensured.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi