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Workforce Management: It's for More than Telephone Calls

February 27, 2013

There’s a reason why call centers today seldom use that appellation anymore. Instead, they are more likely to be called “contact centers,” and for very good reason. Today, while the telephone still remains the contact media of choice for most customers, those same customers like having the option of contacting a company through numerous other non-telephone media such as e-mail, Web, text or SMS, mobile app and even social media.

While the channel may change depending on customer preference, the customer’s expectations do not: regardless of which channel they choose, they expect prompt response. Contact centers traditionally ensure that their resources are arranged and distributed in a way to meet customer’s contacts promptly with workforce management solutions. The problem is…too few contact centers use workforce management to schedule anything but telephone time, and other contact channels are left to fall by the wayside, leading to unacceptably long response times and customer dissatisfaction.

It can be a bit of a tricky prospect without the right tools, says workforce optimization solutions provider Monet Software. Think about a Web chat: it may take longer to complete a customer interaction, simply because it takes longer to type a message than to say it. However, online chat agents can manage up to five sessions simultaneously, which will impact productivity and scheduling, writes Monet Software’s CEO Chuck Ciarlo in a recent blog post. But it’s important to understand how many chats, for example, an agent can manage without falling behind baseline performance metrics. Doing this manually will inevitably lead to failure.

The same applies to social media management, says Ciarlo.

“If the call center is to take the lead on establishing and maintaining a company’s social media presence, adequate resources must be made available to do so, to make certain pages are updated, questions are answered, and ongoing communications are having a positive impact on branding and customer loyalty,” he writes.

This is where multichannel workforce management solutions come in. With a modern, multichannel solution, each of these new communication channels can be easily included into a contact center’s overall forecasting, scheduling and staffing planning process, which means your company can be effective via any channel a customer chooses to use.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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