Unfortunately for SMBs, customers don’t care that you have more limited resources than a large enterprise; they still expect top-of-the-line service from every company they patronize. In fact, according to a recent Zendesk survey, 55 percent of consumers said they switched to a different company after a single negative customer service experience.
For most businesses the contact center is the front line of customer service, the place where first impressions are formed and loyal customers are won or lost. Knowing the importance of customer-agent interactions, businesses are increasingly searching for ways to optimize contact center processes. That’s where workforce management—a sophisticated set of solutions that accounts for all possible variables—comes in.
Flexible forecasting and ‘what-if’ scenarios
Best-in-class workforce optimization solutions are built upon complex algorithms that use past information to predict future call volume and help managers prepare accordingly. For example, these algorithms can forecast the volume your company could potentially receive during the holidays. Managers can take that information and turn it into actionable data by staffing appropriately and preparing for sudden call spikes. Insufficient staffing leads to longer hold times, which in turn lead to hang-ups. According to the On Hold Messaging Association, 34 percent of customers won’t call back after they hang up, meaning their business may be lost forever.
Schedule optimization and shift bidding
Workforce management can also help optimize staff scheduling by determining the most efficient way to utilize personnel based on their skills sets. For instance, during a new product launch you’ll probably need agents with extensive knowledge of the new offering working during peak hours. Leading solutions also allow agents to bid on their desired shifts according to seniority and get coverage when they need to leave early suddenly. Providing employees with schedule flexibility creates a better work-life balance and a happier, more productive workforce.
Real-time adherence reporting
Contact center managers need to keep abreast of agent performance to get in front of a potential problem before it picks up steam. A real-time agent adherence alert system that uses a simple color system gives supervisors immediate insight into which representatives are performing up to par; those at risk for falling behind; and any agents who are already off the pace. Ongoing training is an important part of workforce optimization, but you won’t know which employees need extra assistance without measurable benchmarks.
Even during periods when it seems like your contact center is being flooded with an impossibly huge number of calls, consider that research suggests 96 percent of unhappy customers don’t complain; they simply leave your business and never come back. It follows then that those who do reach out probably consider their issue quite important. Viewed through that prism, connecting that consumer to a qualified agent with little or no hold time is absolutely critical. The tools you need to make that happen are readily available—you just have to pick them up and get to work.