Workforce Optimization Featured Article

Overstock.com Conquers Lost Calls

 
July 01, 2009


By Stefania Viscusi,
Assignment Desk Editor
 

Online closeout retailer Overstock.com offers discount brand-name merchandise and employs 236 agents in its contact center to handle e-mail, voice and chat communications with customers.
 
To improve performance at that contact center, the retailer turned to the IEX "TotalView Workforce Management" solution from NICE Systems (News - Alert) and has seen a significant performance increase, thanks mostly to an improved scheduling processes, company officials said.
 
TotalView Workforce Management offers contact centers a central platform with real-time information to plan, manage and improve performance in the contact center.
 
With the solution, many time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks are automated – freeing up personnel to work on other needed areas and lowering the number of staffing needed to perform the job. With increased visibility into overall operations, contact centers can make better, more informed decisions that improve their customer's experiences.
 
Prior to implementing the IEX (News - Alert) system, the contact center used spreadsheet-based scheduling that was inefficient for meeting call volume fluctuations and productivity metrics.
 
“We would drop calls throughout the day, due to inefficient staffing,” said Stormy Simon, senior vice president of customer care at Overstock.com. “A simple function such as projecting an accurate schedule based on call volume was a challenge with our old system.”
 
Now, with real-time schedule management, it’s possible to move shifts around as needed - allowing Overstock.com to better schedule for planned training sessions or unplanned gaps in coverage. This makes it possible to adjust work cycles to fit with agents needs regarding transportation, school schedules and child care – resulting in improved agent morale as well as reduced hold times.
 
“IEX TotalView enables us to help our agents with last-minute scheduling requests while protecting our business needs, so morale among the agents, leads, and supervisors has risen greatly even as we have increased our production and grown our customer base, “ said Stormy Simon, senior vice president of customer care at Overstock.com.
 
In addition to improved scheduling and call handle times, Agent Adherence tools have also helped keep agents on task and providing top quality service on every call.

“We are now able to use historic information to more efficiently allocate breaks and lunches - keeping our agents’ on-queue when we need them the most. This keeps our customers happy,” said Simon.
 
With IEX TotalView, the company has also realized a boost in its customer Net Promoter Score – a measure of their performance through their customer’s eyes. The score has more than doubled on average on a year-over-year basis and the company has achieved #2 national ranking from the National Retail Federation for its customer service. 
 
Earlier this year, the company was presented with a Product of the Year Award from Customer Interaction Solutions magazine for their TotalView Workforce Management solution.
 
The award recognizes the company’s vision and leadership and their commitment to quality and development of the call center industry.
 
 
For more, check out the Workforce Optimization channel on TMCnet.

Stefania Viscusi is an assignment editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Stefania’s articles, please visit her columnist page.


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