Contact Center Scheduling: Work Smarter, Not Harder

Contact Center Scheduling: Work Smarter, Not Harder

 In Workforce Engagement

Colored pencil and textAs the saying goes, “work smarter, not harder.” I often find that in the contact center world, extreme effort is linked to tasks that, while important, are still manual and tedious. Scheduling, forecasting and time management are some examples of tedious chores that no longer need to be completed through the use of time-consuming spreadsheets.

Most contact center leaders readily admit that manual, spreadsheet-based approaches to these tasks don’t work anymore. In addition to the daily grind spreadsheets create, leaders can’t meet modern customer engagement expectations—such as consumers demanding a more personalized, multi-channel experience, and employees demanding a better work-life balance via more flexible schedules.

Today’s workforce management (WFM) technology can solve this problem. Yet Dimension Data estimates that 41.3 percent of contact centers still operate without it.1

But why? Is it a budget problem? Resistance to organizational change? A skills gap? Lack of awareness about what WFM can really do for their business? Or something else altogether?

In my experience, it can be any of the above. But these challenges can be overcome. And more importantly—they should be overcome. Here’s why.

  • Spreadsheet approaches are inaccurate. It’s time-consuming and error-prone to manipulate and manually re-key spreadsheet data; managers have to “guess” the optimal timeframes for off-phone activities; and schedules are run only 1-4 times per year.
  • Spreadsheet approaches are designed for single channels. It’s especially time-intensive to manually forecast contact volumes and create schedules for an omni-channel environment—agent scheduling preferences often are ignored because fulfilling them would add yet another layer of complexity to an already tedious process, and managing time-off requests is convoluted and time-consuming.
  • Spreadsheet approaches don’t optimize adherence. Spreadsheets provide no insight into whether agents work their scheduled shifts.
  • Spreadsheets don’t enable easy, accurate reporting and analysis. Organizations can’t operate at optimum efficiency because they can’t accurately, expediently measure and report on staffing, attendance and expenses.

If the above isn’t news to you, maybe you face another obstacle to embracing WFM. One of the most common ones I’ve heard in the past is lack of budget. But budget constraints shouldn’t prevent you from implementing WFM anymore.

That’s because modern WFM companies like Calabrio offer a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployment option that requires a lower upfront investment since no costly hardware or maintenance are needed. Cloud deployment of WFM offers many other benefits as well, including:

  • making it easier for buyers to obtain purchase approval thanks to its lower (or non-existent) initial investment, which is considered an operational expenditure (OpEx);
  • reducing the support burden placed on IT;
  • making WFM available anytime, anywhere, regardless of where agents are located;
  • helping ensure business continuity;
  • delivering the full security and functionality benefits typical of cloud offerings; and
  • making you pay only for what you use, whether that’s 5 or 500 licenses.

Yesterday’s barriers to WFM are no more. It’s time for your contact center team to work smarter—not harder—and Calabrio can help. Download our new white paper, Workforce Management (WFM)—4 Reasons to Break Free from the Spreadsheet Ball and Chain, to learn more.

1 Dimension Data. “2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report.”

 

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