Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
March 31, 2009
Call Center Scheduling Software Can Improve Agent Training
By Patrick Barnard, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
Not only do these systems help assure proper schedule adherence, enabling managers to easily track who is starting work on time and who isn’t, they can also accurately forecast peaks and valleys in call volume, thus enabling call center managers to staff accordingly. Today’s call center scheduling systems also let managers accurately track agent productivity, typically in real time, so they can up-to-the-minute stats on how well agents are meeting campaign/project goals.
What’s more, many of today’s systems let call center agents swap, bid on, and add or cancel shifts all on their own, via a Web portal, thus greatly simplifying management of the schedule, while at the same time building agent job satisfaction through increased flexibility. Managing agent time has become critically important in today’s economy, as labor is the single biggest cost facing any call center.
One advantage these call center scheduling solutions offer, that is often overlooked, is their ability to manage and control agent coaching and training. Through integration with the call center ACD and an e-Learning platform, call center managers can schedule coaching sessions based on lulls in call volume or other criteria. So, if you have agents who are on the clock and need coaching, you can use your call center scheduling software to automatically push coaching modules to their desktops when call volume drops. This, in turn, ensures that agents get the training and coaching they need – but without adversely impacting service levels.
Today’s call center scheduling solutions, when integrated with e-Learning systems, greatly improve the management and delivery of coaching. For example, you can identify which agents need additional coaching, in the call center scheduling system, and only push training to those agents.
The software takes all the guesswork out of deciding the right time to deliver the training: You can set the schedule to deliver a training module to a certain agent when call volume drops below a certain rate. The software will send an alert to the agent telling them to log off and take the training module, which might include a short video or audio clip of a live interaction which the agent can use as an example of a “good” or “bad” interaction. Similarly, audio or video clips can be sent directly from the center’s training library to the agent’s desktop on automated basis. The system can also be programmed to send an alert to the call center manager once an agent has completed a coaching module.
As such, the amount of time used for training and coaching is greatly reduced: There is no need to take your agents off the floor and haul them all to a training facility during the middle of the day -- an event which they will tend to treat like a “break” -- or to train them on the weekend or after a shift, when they aren’t as likely to pay attention and properly absorb the content (plus this could cost you overtime).
As such, a lot of companies are now starting to see the value of e-Learning solutions as part of the “ecosystem” of software that makes a fully functional contact center. Thanks to the power of IP, today’s e-Learning systems can deliver training to any end point on your contact center network, whether it is an agent sitting at his desk right in the main center, or at a remote center miles away, or perhaps another center on the other side of the globe. Even remote or home based agents can have targeted, custom training modules delivered to their PCs, just the same as an agent sitting in the main center.
The challenge for companies not utilizing call center scheduling software is determining the best times to deliver this training. By using an e-learning solution in tandem with a call center scheduling solution, one can achieve a more effective training schedule – and one which is much more to the liking of the agents. You can program the system to send out coaching modules to remote agents just the same as in-center agents.
Because today’s call center scheduling solutions are able to forecast, with amazing accuracy, when low or high peaks will occur during any hour on any given day, call center managers can confidently and comfortably schedule certain agents for training or coaching sessions without having to worry about negatively impacting customer service. So if one of your agents is, for example, having a difficult time cross-selling or up-selling during his or her calls, you can use your call center scheduling software to schedule a brief, 15 minute training session during a low peak volume period.
The timing at which you train your agents is critical because, in today’s rapidly changing business world, the flow of work coming into your contact center can fluctuate greatly depending on a wide variety of factors. And let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than having a room filled with agents who are on the clock with no contacts coming in! You might as well use this valuable time to train them.
Want to know more? Then check out the capabilities of Monet Software’s call center scheduling solutions. Not only are there efficiencies to be gained in terms of avoiding lost productivity, your agents will end up better trained and happier in the long run. And best of all your customers will benefit through improved service.
For more information, visit www.monetsoftware.com.
Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard