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Workforce Management Solutions Drive Efficient Contact Centers During Recession

 
February 26, 2009



Managing the contact center in recessionary times can mean some changes in the way that managers conduct ordinary business. It can mean that budgets are tighter than ever before; customers are calling or e-mailing the contact center more often; the contact center is operating with fewer agents; and so much more.


The real challenge for contact center managers is to continue to deliver the expected level of customer service, even when resources may be more limited. When it comes to managing the agents working within the contact center, there are specific guidelines management should adhere to in order to protect their most valuable asset.

Recent research into this area of the industry examined the current recession and how its marked differences from any other recession experienced by those currently in leadership. With workforce expenses accounting for as much as 70 percent of a business’ overall cost, identifying best practices in contact center workforce management can help to create a better environment.
Whether or not a company is downsizing, there are specific activities that contact center managers should deploy. These activities not only help to maintain a positive environment, they can also help to encourage all agents to deliver the best possible experience for all customers.

Communication is a key element to success in the contact center. If agents do not know what is going on with the company or the center, they can feel detached from the company and loyalty can suffer. An automated workforce management solution can help to ensure there is a free flow of communication between managers and agents at all times.

Notice those agents who perform consistently and those who excel. Setting short-term and long-term goals and providing agents with the means to track their own performance helps to generate significant motivation. A robust workforce management solution will not only make this possible, but also easy.

Consistency leads to optimal performance. There is nothing more frustrating to an agent than surprises and constant changes. By implementing a workforce management solution, contact center managers can establish a schedule and create parameters within that schedule for total operation of the center. This process not only sets a consistent pace, it also provides agents with a voice.

Most importantly, managers should keep in mind that this recession is not going to last forever and if they fail to plan accordingly, they could find the contact center understaffed and agents undertrained when it is time to embrace a recovery. By automating processes through workforce management, managers can gain access to tools that will allow them to do more with less until its time to ramp back up for growth.

Workforce management solutions can be intimidating when trying to decide the best solution for the contact center, but they don’t have to be. Working with a company like Monet Software can take the pain and confusion out of the search and decision and allow managers to focus on running a productive center.


 

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 Michelle Robart

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