Keeping Up with Changing Technology in 2016
options for greater control and increased productivity
By: Bob Webb,
The New Year always seems to mark an opportunity for change. It’s a new year and we make resolutions to do
things differently. Sadly, many resolutions grow cold before they are
implemented and soon become an afterthought. If your company has been stuck
with outdated technology that no longer matches your needs or capabilities, the
New Year is an excellent time to re-evaluate and make substantive changes.
Software, much like iPhones, seem to go through a revolving door and new
options are constantly being introduced. If you are considering an upgrade,
start with the basics. In a contact center environment, the most important
piece of software is workforce management. It is the hub around which every
other solution revolves. If your ability to forecast and schedule is off,
nothing else matters. Bottom line profits depend on accurate forecasting. If you are still using spreadsheets, you
could be leaving money on the table and are long overdue for an upgrade in your
to Workforce Management
Manual reporting processes can be revolutionized through use of a
workforce management solution, saving hours of time and labor to effectively
deliver multiple dashboards and reports needed by executives. Centers that have
used spreadsheets exclusively may believe that their metrics cannot be
integrated with a workforce management tool. Workforce management solutions are
available that offer spreadsheet integration tools that open reports in
Microsoft Excel using data from an Oracle database and allow reports to be
created and automatically refreshed in the spreadsheet view. Tools of this
nature allow users to upload existing spreadsheets with the formatting already
in place, and to create additional tabs with the background data needed to
populate the report. These tabs can be linked to the final report tabs
using formulas or VBA scripts.
If you are hesitant
to implement a workforce management system because of cost constraints,
consider a subscription based solution. Hosted
solutions free companies from the burden and expense of installing hardware and
software. All hardware and software is installed and maintained by the hosting
vendor. This may be especially beneficial for small contact centers that lack
the resources to implement and maintain a premise-based enterprise. Many
vendors offer a full suite of enterprise software capabilities without the
associated cost, and upgrades are offered as part of the package. Your company
pays only for what it needs, but the full enterprise capability is available
when and if it’s needed.
Jump on the At-Home Agent Bandwagon
If you have considered using at-home agents, the time is
now! The at-home agent revolution has penetrated the contact center industry
and it is now easier to implement and manage remote agents through improved
technology. The use of at-home
agents continues to rise as more companies experience the benefits of decreased
costs associated with part-time employees and reduction in brick and mortar
facilities, improved customer service, and flexible scheduling options. Companies
experience bottom line savings through reduced contact center operating
costs. Reduced operating costs
associated with at-home agents include lower starting wages and reduced
benefits, less need for brick and mortar facilities and support staff,
increased labor pool with flexible scheduling options, and reduced training costs
associated with increased agent retention.
Additional cost savings are found with part-time agents who receive
reduced benefit packages required for full-time employees.
made easy with RTA
must-have for contact centers is the ability to monitor agent activity with
greater ease. While real-time adherence technology is prevalent, the use of an
RTA global view option is essential for centers with over 50 agents.
Supervisors can now monitor agents, including remote agents, from one screen
that provides a visual display of all agent activity with important metrics
that enables easy oversight and correction options. When an agent is out
of adherence, the system typically spotlights the discrepancy by a visual
device such as color-coding. More comprehensive systems provide important
additional information by indicating the nature of the violation (e.g. late
start, improper activity, logged out early) as well as the agent’s current
state (e.g. ACD inbound, logged off, after-call work) and the duration of the
important technological advance is the ability to empower agents by increasing
their autonomy and giving more life-work balance options. Agents now have the
option of self-scheduling that includes vacation time, shift swaps, and
overtime without burdensome oversight by supervisors. Studies have suggested
this is an important issue in reducing agent attrition.
Take it with you
access is another valuable tool that enables users equipped with smart phones
or tablets to check agent status at a glance, modify schedules with a
click while in meetings or off-site, send messages and notifications and view
reports from hundreds of miles away. Supervisors can log changes such as sick
days or early releases, view agent schedules, and send popup and email messages
with a click from the same grid without navigating to different screens.
Reports such as staffing effect summaries, adherence summaries for individual
agents or the entire staff, and scheduled and actual activity summary graphs
are available from the same control screen.
not convinced? Do some due diligence and talk with vendors about how
enhancements can increase productivity and positively impact your bottom line.
Be sure to check references and don’t fall for marketing hype. 2016 could be
your best year yet.
Pipkins, Inc. (www.pipkins.com), an American company founded
in 1983, is a leading supplier of workforce management software and services to
the call center industry, providing sophisticated forecasting and scheduling
technology for both the front and back office.
Vantage Point, Pipkins’
premier product, is the most accurate forecasting and scheduling tool on the
market. Pipkins’ systems forecast and
schedule more than 100,000 agents in over 300 locations across all industries