For a call center to function properly, you will require trained and competent professionals, the best call center software and implementation of proper protocols and workflows. Now, finding the best software is easy. Incorporating the necessary protocols can also be done with a little bit of strategizing.
The workforce is, however, a different matter. Sure, you can hire professionals who are experienced and qualified. Even so, there is no guarantee that you will have an optimized workforce. This is rather important. Through an optimized workforce, your organization has a major opportunity to significantly improve the business performance.
There are, in fact, several reasons for the implementation of comprehensive workforce optimization and management protocols. The primary of these reasons is the reduction of expenses. Another reason is that you can increase the productivity of the workforce while improving about operational agility.
Since you are running an organization, there will be several regulations that you must comply with. Gaps in the compliance or even lack of transparency can give risk to non-compliance and financial risks. How do you prevent it? Well, workforce optimization is one of the ways.
The optimization techniques are also capable of improving employee morale by a significant margin. This is not only due to the greater transparency. It also occurs because there is a greater degree of communication between the management and the employees.
That is not all. There is another significant advantage of workforce optimization. With it, you can improve customer satisfaction. Now, that is vital when you are running a customer service such as a contact center. The addition of the best call center software for small business notwithstanding, workforce optimization is capable of increasing customer retention and satisfaction by a significant degree. This is vital for a small business trying to make an impact on the market.
Of course, the question remains as to how you can optimize your workforce properly. Well, that is the answer which we seek to provide here. After thorough research we have discovered that the following tips and techniques can be rather beneficial in implementing workforce optimization.
1. When it comes to customer interaction, simply saying the right things is not enough all the time. You need to do itcorrectly as well. As such, tracking the desktop of your agents allows you to keep an eye on what is actually happening during an interaction. Using the best call center management software to monitor the desktop is useful in several ways. You can identify the issues in workflows, improve the current training materials and even encourage the agents to use tools effectively. As such, you can properly train your workforce and inculcate in them the best practices for reducing call times and providing speedy resolutions.
2. A major issue that affects the performance of your organization is the loss of agents. On the other hand, it is quite possible to prepare for such an eventuality. An accurate forecast of the call volume in the future can enable you to plan out the schedules of the agents more easily. As such, you should look for the best call center software solutions that can help you in preparing for the long as well as the short term.
3. Spreadsheets are certainly useful. Be that as it may, there will be times when they create more problems than they solve. One of the situations is when you need to save time. Spreadsheets do end up consuming a lot of time and they are not completely accurate all the time. Avoid these issues by making use of the best solutions. These solutions can do far more than what spreadsheets can. Some of the possible benefits you will gain are accurate analyses, reporting in real time and so on. As such, they can reduce confusion by a great margin.
4. An analysis of call recordings can certainly help greatly in providing invaluable insights. Unfortunately, most tend to simply let call recordings pile up because they have no effective way to make use of them. Manually going through each call is not only difficult but also ineffective in tracking specific issues. Instead, you should get the best solutions with speech analytics features. Speech analytics can sift through the data at a much faster rate and analyze them effectively to provide data that is really useful. Choosing cloud call center software solutions with this feature will help you store the recordings and other data securely.
5. The lack of engagement on the part of the agents can lead to a drip in productivity levels among other things. This usually arises due to an absence of clarity. The agents are unable to properly understand what goals they have. Supervisors and managers cannot figure out which of the agents require help and further guidance. The addition of a performance management solution can be of help in getting rid of these issues. It can enable the agents become accountable for their work and develop high expectations for the level of customer service provided by them.
6. Start using automated evaluation questionnaires so as to gain deeper insights into the customer interactions taking place. With the right questionnaires you can enhance the insights that you gain from monitoring. You should also start assessing the calls from the viewpoint of the customers. Who knows? You might even discover issues that affect the service quality or opportunities to improve productivity.
7. If you have not done so already, it is high time that you implement automated screen capturing solutions. Leveraging them is essential for compliance, quality assurance and liability protection. As such, you should start capturing the interactions if you want to minimize the risks. By doing so, it can even help in controlling costs from service, sales, collections, claims and other business disputes.
8. Keep measuring. It may be a bit repetitive but the fact is that you have to keep measuring the results over time and for multiple agents. Analyze the metrics and identify the patterns at various levels. Apart from quality assurance, it can be useful in training purposes. It can even be helpful in the establishment of quality standards as well as best practices. To take it a step further, you should combine qualitative and quantitative information from the different sources such as call recording and quality management. This will give you the complete assessment of the performance at your contact center.
9. Scheduling is vital for workforce management but it needs to be done carefully. It has been noticed that scheduling can be improved nicely by considering smaller intervals instead of larger ones. As such, it will be a good idea to avoid 30-minute planning and to start using intervals of 15 minutes. It can be helpful in the identification of the shift patterns.
10. If you want to optimize the workforce, you need to work with the agents and employees that make up your workforce. As such, it will always be a good idea to ask for their input. Of course, you might be reluctant to do so but it will certainly make your scheduling a lot easier. A proper communication channel can open even more similar instances. However, the fact is that getting to know the preferences of your workforce with respect to scheduling can actually help you in creating a more effective schedule.
11. When running contact centers, it is more or less given that you need solutions to help you out. However, it is quite possible that the best solution is not the perfect one for your unique needs. It is quite easy to find an excellent solution and start using it only to discover later that it has a wide plethora of features you do not require. First, clarify your own requirements before searching for a solution so that you can actually get one that you need. Otherwise, you will be paying a lot for a bloated solution whose bulk of features is unnecessary to you. As such, do conduct a call center solutions comparison before choosing any one.
12. You should never ignore the needs that your agents have. Unless you take steps to fulfill those requirements, it is going to be extremely hard to bring about optimization in the workforce. Of course, business needs must always take priority. On the other hand, attrition rates can increase if your agents start feeling that you are not taking proper care of their needs.
13. Sometimes, the best way to optimize the workforce is by asking the very people that are a part of it. So, go ahead and ask your agents about what they want. It can actually surprise you when they come up with quite creative ideas with respect to scheduling. Some of these ideas may actually be used in your organization rather easily. Your agents will be able to improve their work and life balance. At the same time, you can gain enough flexibility along with better coverage options.
14. What is the aim of workforce optimization? Well, as mentioned earlier, it is to enable getting the most out of your workforce in an effective manner. While your agents might certainly be capable of a good deal, it does not mean that they have all the skills necessary to give their best. Therefore, you need to train them so that they can become better. Offer training that is not only regular but also ongoing. Proper training will enable your agents to start ensuring positive customer experiences.
15. For the best results with your workforce optimization efforts, it is a good idea to start right at the beginning. Strategize your hiring activities so that it becomes easier to inculcate optimization protocols in the agents. Background checks are essential but you should go a step further and conduct tests to determine their suitability for the role. When hiring, go for energy and optimism. You can even take the help of temp agencies so that you can try out an employee before hiring.
The Case Study
Those were the tips that you can use for ensuring workforce optimization. We have already seen why optimization is vital to your organization. Workforce optimization has helped a lot of organizations make the most of their agents. The following case study should help you get a better idea of how important it can actually be.
The organization in question for the case study is Results Group. Based in Florida, the company provides outsourced call center services. They have been supporting a range of clients for over 20 years. They have expanded their reach and now operate client dedicated centers in Canada, the Caribbean and Europe apart from the United States. The organization helps their clients derive the most from each of their customer contact points.
The Issue and the Resolution
Due to a rapid growth in their business, the organization was able to expand their operations. They opened 23 new contact centers spread over Europe and North America. Of course, they now had to meet a higher demand for the client contacts. At the same time, they needed to ensure that the high standards that they already had in their existing centers were maintained.
As such, Results Group required workforce optimization to derive the most from their agents. They managed to find the right solution for this issue which, in turn, enabled them to derive multiple benefits. The solution they chose had several features of note such as real-time monitoring, training modules and automatic recording. These features were instrumental in the implementation of workforce optimization protocols.
Workforce optimization helped in increasing the total successful recorded calls to over a million calls every month. They also managed to increase their staffing levels bringing their total workforce to over 4000 agents. Additionally, it reduced the training times for new agents by a significant margin. At the same time, workforce optimization enabled their quality levels to rise dramatically.
As you can see, workforce optimization is capable of taking your operations to the next level. However, this is something that you cannot and should not rush. Take your time and ensure that the best strategies and solutions are implemented so as to get the best results. Of course, keep an eye on the call center software pricing so that you do not run over-budget in your quest to improve your workforce.
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