Real-Time Workforce = Real Competitive Advantage
By Matt McConnell, Intradiem CEO
In today’s competitive, multi-channel contact center environment, customers are fast-paced and on the go – and they expect service providers to keep up. Now more than ever, customers want their questions answered quickly, accurately, and on the first try.
As your frontline employees, contact center agents have the unique opportunity to make a lasting impression on your customers, representing both your company and your brand. But one misstep and those same customers will hit the airwaves, sharing their dissatisfaction with the world.
In order to compete, contact centers must become responsive to demand, transforming their agents into a real-time workforce equipped to serve customers quickly and efficiently every time, or risk losing business to a more agile competitor.
Keys to a real-time workforce
As the contact center environment becomes more complex, savvy companies have embraced technology that allows them to react to changing conditions in real-time and maintain consistency across all channels.
This technology enables contact centers to better serve customers through a number of automated improvements such as:
Finding time for agent improvement activities
A call center agent’s primary job is to interact with customers and serve their needs, but it isn’t their only job. In order to effectively handle customer inquiries and provide consistency across all channels, agents need ongoing training and coaching, which requires time – a scarce resource in even the best run centers.
Intraday workforce management enables contact center professionals to aggregate natural downtimes in call volume to find more time for agents to complete the critical off-phone work they need to better handle customer needs.
Specific tasks can be assigned and prioritized according to individual agent strengths and weaknesses, and when call volume spikes, agents are automatically prompted to return to answering calls so that service levels are not negatively affected.
Maintaining skills tables
As agents increase their competencies, skill and queue associations are automatically updated, ensuring that customers can always reach an agent who is equipped to handle their inquiries.
Time that would otherwise be spent manually updating queues or tracking whether or not agents complete performance-improvement activities is instead used for supervisors and managers to coach agents to make them better and more confident at their jobs – all of which drives the overall customer experience.
Shifting agents between channels to meet business demands
Agents need training and coaching to effectively handle customer inquiries, but in multi-channel environments, they must also move between e-mail, phone, chat and social according to volume so that customers quickly get the answers they need in whatever channel they prefer.
Typically, this workforce is managed separately or workforce managers manually shift agents between channels to maintain service levels, a process that is time consuming. This can leave customers on hold for long periods of time, contributing to frustration and an overall poor experience.
With real-time intraday workforce management, when one or more queues experiences a spike in volume, specific groups of agents with the required skills can be automatically reassigned to handle customers in that specific channel.
Receiving important notifications before it’s too late
Often, by the time trends that negatively affect service level adherence and performance are identified in the contact center, it’s too late. By automating alerts and notifications, managers and supervisors can monitor agent performance and identify trends – such as calls going on too long–in real-time and offer support to agents before service levels are impacted.
Staffing to demand
Even the most efficient contact centers experience un-forecasted fluctuations in call volume, leaving managers with the choice to either over- or under-staff. While overstaffing is better for service levels, it is also very expensive.
By automating intraday staffing, contact centers are able to quickly and intelligently respond to unexpected staffing needs to ensure that there are always enough skilled agents on the floor to meet customer demands. Through automated monitoring of the ACD and WFM, if service levels drop or net staffing is too high, managers can create business rules to trigger the voluntary overtime or time off process with consistency.
Real-time = Real advantage
Fully automated and optimized contact centers have the technology in place to find more time for agent training, update queue associations, and balance staffing across channels in real time. The result is that there are always enough of the right kinds of agents on the floor with the knowledge to help customers with their requests.
By implementing intraday workforce management tools, contact centers can make the right moves at the right time to provide a better overall customer experience. Companies with real-time workforces can minimize missed opportunities and gain a true competitive advantage.
How agile is your contact center?
Matt McConnell is CEO of Intradiem, formerly Knowlagent, the leader in intraday workforce management solutions for multi-channel contact centers. Intradiem helps customers both improve productivity and the customer experience while lowering costs. Intradiem’s solutions automate manual processes such as intraday task management, intraday staffing, reskilling, channel balancing, and real-time alerts to enable companies to create an agile workforce and improve business performance by over 20 percent. More than 450,000 contact center, field service, retail, bank branch, and back office employees around the world use Intradiem’s solution every day. For more information, call 888-566-9457 or visit www.intradiem.com.