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Workforce Management: An Essential Tool for the Small Call Center

 
April 14, 2011



Companies that rely on call centers to produce revenues, address customer issues and manage all outside interactions place a lot of responsibility on the call center to be able to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction, while also controlling costs.


To meet such lofty goals, call center managers often turn to technology platforms such as workforce management and Monet Software offers a full line of robust options.

In a recent Monet Software blog, the company examined the power of workforce management and how it relates to effective staffing for small call centers. In such environments, it is easy for call center leaders to assume that spreadsheet scheduling can easily get the job done.

Even when there are fewer agents to manage, the variables to scheduling are still often complex and varied. Keep in mind that all call centers need to optimize staffing and meet services levels. This creates even greater demand for a workforce management platform that can drive effective scheduling activities for the entire call center staff.

Those call center leaders who assume that only the very largest of centers need – and can afford – call center staffing software such as workforce management software are missing the big picture. This assumption overlooks the reality that small call centers have some unique challenges when compared with larger centers. These challenges easily make the case for staffing software.

First, small call centers often have unpredictable call volume, making call patterns far more diverse. Small call centers rely on workforce management solutions because volume is marked by peaks and valleys. Call center managers must be able to respond to spikes in volume on-the-fly and their decisions often lack historical backup – something workforce management could solve.

Schedule adherence is another challenge in the small call center. By comparison, larger centers often manage schedule deviations and absenteeism without much strain felt on the overall operation. The smaller center can immediately notice performance drags when one or a few agents are not available to take calls. If the call center is a staff of 50, simply losing five agents to breaks or lunch can decrease occupancy by 10 percent – which affects overall service levels.

Small call centers also must face the challenges involved with agent retention. While agent retention is a factor for all call centers, it is especially significant in the small center as staffing focuses on a limited group of individuals. If staffing seems random and does not consider the personal needs of the individual, he or she is much more likely to leave. Workforce management helps to increase agent morale as schedules can be delivered in advance and are more likely to adhere to needs and requests.

While small call centers face more challenges than what has been listed here, the reality is that workforce management platforms can go a long way in helping these centers to drive optimal performance and protect desired service levels by keeping agents productive and satisfied.


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Chris DiMarco

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