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How many hours do you spend managing your call center employees? How much do you spend just trying to figure out schedules? How do you ensure that the right people with the right skills are in your call center when they are needed? What can you do to better manage your resources?

You can put the Excel spreadsheet away. Workforce management software has become more capable and effective in helping call centers improve efficiency, cut costs, and boost customer service levels. In addition, various call centers are testing strategies aimed at improving performance. For many contact centers, scheduling has become a much larger problem due to a focus on quality service. When focusing on quality, calls may take much longer or require more varied skillsets. With workforce management strategies and technology, managers can reduce lost efficiency and increase service.

Talking Strategy

There are a few primary methods that contact centers are experimenting with in order to optimize workforce usage.

  1. Flexible scheduling – Allowing partial shifts, half days, part time, unusual hours, etc. Nontraditional shift scheduling allows managers to more effectively match agents to call volumes. Agents can be scheduled according to call distribution patterns.
  2. Multichannel communication – Call centers are adding multichannel capabilities and agents to handle interactions through nonvoice channels. This gives customers more options for contacting a business and can ease call volumes.
  3. Customer scheduling – Empowering the customer to schedule callbacks can ensure customer requests are handled even if an agent is not available.
  4. Home agents – During peak demand, remotely based agents can be hired for small time increments to help manage calls. Several companies can provide outsourced agents to bolster your call center workforce as needed.

How Workforce Management Software Can Help

Workforce management software can make it much easier to utilize any of the above four strategies, plus it contains other tools to help managers be more effective. A good workforce management solution will help optimize staffing levels to ensure multichannel interactions are handled by the right people at the right time. Scheduling can also be automated and complicated scheduling plans can be utilized. For example, you could let your top 5% of employees set their own schedules while the rest of your employees are given schedules rotating around the top 5%. Some software features auction/bid systems that allow employees to switch scheduled work times through an automated system.

Skill tracking and optimization can also benefit form workforce management software. The software can help you see where there is high demand for skills, where more training needs to be done, and schedule training without disrupting service.

The best software also contains very robust modelling and forecasting tools that assist managers in planning for shifts. These can include sophisticated statistical and mathematical algorithms that can model many different situations in both skilled and nonskilled environments. The software will model call center activity and automatically generate the optimal start/end times, break times, and off days in real time.

Can your business benefit from workforce management software? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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