Cloud-Based Workforce Management Helps Manage Holiday Hiring
With Halloween over, retailers are beginning to make their big ramp-up to the holiday season. It’s the most important time of the year for most retailers, and a bad holiday season can translate to a bad year when it comes to sales and profit. Luckily, a majority of retailers say they’re optimistic about the coming holiday season. A study by First Insight and Fung Global Retail and Technology found that nearly three-quarters of retailers are optimistic about the upcoming holiday season, and about a third say they’re extremely optimistic. More than 60 percent of retailers surveyed believe that holiday sales will increase compared to last year, and about 25 percent expect sales to increase between five and 10 percent.
In order to reap all these retail sales, however, most companies that rely on holiday consumer spending need to have the right infrastructure in place to sell and support customers. As a result, holiday hiring is also in high gear. For many organizations, adding temporary staff to the contact center is one of the most urgent needs. Ralph Lauren recently announced that it’s looking to hire more than 600 people in North Carolina for both contact center and warehouse jobs. Retail giant Amazon is seeking to hire people in 20 states for home-based virtual contact center jobs, and WalMart has announced it plans to bring a whopping 20,000 workers aboard for temporary contact center jobs during the holiday season.
Finding people willing to work seasonal contact center jobs isn’t the hard part. That comes when attempting to integrate dozens, hundreds or even thousands of freshmen workers into the customer support infrastructure. Workforce management, which companies use to ensure the right number of workers with the right skills are working at the right times to enable a great customer experience, hasn’t always been able to cope with temporary and part-time workers. Software-based solutions or spreadsheets are inflexible, cumbersome and nearly impossible to manage across multiple work sites.
While new and temporary workers can be a great boon for basic customer queries, it’s not ideal to put them on the phone with long-time customers, big buyers or customers with complex questions, according to a recent blog post by Monet Software (News - Alert) CEO Chuck Ciarlo.
“When you have a mix of full-time and temporary agents on the floor, have a system in place to route the more complicated calls to experienced agents, leaving new hires free to handle more basic transactions,” he wrote.
Cloud-based workforce management solutions are ideal for helping companies temporarily ramp-up their workforces. Employees can be quickly added (and removed, come January after returns season is over), and workers can be included no matter where they are physically working: from home or from satellite offices, for example. Managers are able to build one large virtual workforce that can be managed as single entity, eliminating unnecessary manpower, duplicate efforts or scheduling errors. It’s also the best way to avoid “agent burnout,” which is common during the holiday times. (There’s a reason that “Black Friday (News - Alert)” got its nickname by retail workers.)
This holiday season, customers will come in droves. Ensure that you have the manpower to greet them, but also ensure that quality, adherence and first-call resolution don’t take a back seat.
Edited by Alicia Young