Workforce Management Feature Article
September 23, 2011
The Social Enterprise Demands Workforce Management in the Call Center
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The movement toward the Social Enterprise is set to be led by salesforce.com. The company announced at the Dreamforce conference that this next step toward connecting companies and employees with their customers through social technologies will be a key focus for the cloud computing provider.
This Monet Software blog explored the phenomenon and how this may play into your workforce management efforts. The key to the Social Enterprise is the growing use of Facebook, Twitter (News - Alert), LinkedIn and Google+ for customer interactions. This will be a key integration point for contact centers, introducing a new dynamic to challenge your current approach to workforce management.
The reality is that contact centers, customer service centers and call centers must embrace this new engagement method and make sure they have the staff available, trained and scheduled to manage these multiple channels. Two elements must be considered: technology and workforce management.
On the technology side, do you have the tools necessary to track and monitor social activity? You must also enable engagement with customers and the overall performance of your contact center. Workforce management enters the equation as you must have the workforce in place that are multi-skilled, trained, scheduled and available to interact with customers according to calls, e-mail, chat and the new social media channels you plan to leverage.
Monet Software referenced a 2010 survey that found 30 percent of contact centers are struggling with forecasting and scheduling of multiple channels, including call, e-mail, chat, etc. The introduction of these new social media channels makes this even more challenges.
These challenges increase the need for proven workforce management solutions that can address the forecasting and scheduling dynamics within the multi-channel contact center. First, it is critical to forecast and schedule according to the response time and urgency of the various channels.
Second, you must develop two models for forecasting workloads for non-call channels. Rely on transaction history for each channel. If you are lacking exact numbers, use a shrinkage factor to determine the time necessary for specific tasks. An automated approach to workforce management can help streamline this approach.
Finally, examine your options for proper scheduling. Monet Software suggests either a fully-blended or branded work approach. In a fully blended environment, agents work all channels as work arrives. The challenge here is that agents can get burnt out easily, so it must be managed effectively. In branded work scheduling, agent availability is used to schedule time blocks throughout the day. Time pockets in the core schedule are identified according to agent availability.
Either way, workforce management can help you take a streamlined approach to your forecasting and scheduling so you can more effectively manage all channels in the Social Enterprise.