Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
November 11, 2008
Call Center Scheduling Must Apply to All Agent Activities
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
As the economy continues to put a strain on call centers, organizations are struggling to maintain strong customer service deliverables while also cutting costs. In an effort to ensure that their call centers can remain in place and not succumb to offshoring draws, many of these centers are looking to integrated applications that can improve productivity and reduce costs.
Workforce management solutions help to efficiently manage call center scheduling, a key area where the center has the ability to control costs as well as customer service. When call center agents are properly scheduled according to accurate forecasting, customers can be served efficiently. This improves the overall experience for the customer while also using agent time wisely.
Recent research has found that there is a disconnect in terms of what can be scheduled according to workforce management solutions. In the UK Contact Center Operational Review, only 29 percent of call center operations are using these solutions to manage their multimedia tasks.
In the Contact Babel report, research findings reveal that the majority of call centers measure adherence to schedules and run what-if scenarios. The challenge is that other call center scheduling is being vastly ignored. For instance, the majority of call centers are not forecasting and scheduling multimedia work, such as answering phones and engaging in text chat.
When these channels are overlooked, customer service suffers. In these call centers, 59 percent of e-mails are taking more than one working day to answer because they are not properly scheduled into the call center agent’s day.
Nearly one third of UK call center agents deal with both e-mail and telephone calls daily, yet the majority do not have specific time allocated in their call center scheduling to deal with their multimedia workload.
Steve Morell, author of the Contact Babel report, stated in a CCF Online report, “One of the reasons that the proportion of multimedia interactions has hardly risen in the past five years is underinvestment in technology to route and handle such requests. However, another major inhibitor to multimedia take-up is that most contact centers are not giving their agents sufficient time to deal with non-telephony work.”
“The result is that e-mails are ignored or answered too late, with these disappointed customers either ringing the contact center with their request or going elsewhere entirely for their business. Contact centers should be forecasting their multimedia workload and scheduling agent time accordingly, otherwise they might as well not bother offering an alternate channel to traditional telephony,” added Morell.
is one company that focuses on providing companies with the necessary tools to properly schedule their call center agents’ time. To do so will ensure that agents are as productive as possible while delivering high levels of customer service to the entire customer base.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Michelle Robart
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