How to Be Proactive When Managing Call Center Agents

Is your contact center performing and reacting in real-time? It’s critical for organizations to be prepared and ready for any emergency or urgent situation that may arise. Let’s take a look at a common scenario in many contact centers:

It’s a typical morning at the office until you receive an unexpected call that one of your products has been recalled. This unforeseen situation has caused concern and chaos among your customers. You now begin thinking about your level of staffing on your contact center floor. The product recall has increased your call volume dramatically compared to what you planned for and now you have to request more agents to cover the spike in call volume. In the back of your mind, you were thinking there’s got to be a better way to plan and make adjustments spontaneously throughout the day.

When managing a contact center, accuracy plays a vital role in the efficiency and productivity of your agents. A workforce management (WFM) solution enables organizations to schedule agents with the right skills, at the right time of the day. Forecasting and scheduling are essential elements of workforce management. However, if the plan isn’t managed through robust intraday processes, service level targets will not be reached. In the situation above, the manager had to unexpectedly bring in more agents to cover the increase in call volume. For today’s blog, we will be talking about the features of intraday management and the importance of reacting in real-time.

Let’s break down the four main elements of intraday management:

Dynamic Adjusting of Intraday Staff

By adjusting staff lunches, breaks, meetings, trainings, etc. on the fly, an organization can get better coverage of high and low call volume times. This allows your organization to save money because you won’t have agents sitting idle when call volume is low. Conversely, you won’t have customers waiting on hold or abandoning calls during high call volume times because your staff will be there to take calls. This increases service level metrics which are a measurement of what percent of calls are answered within the call center.

Real-Time Adherence

Real-time adherence helps identify staff overages or potential reduced service by comparing forecasts with the actual schedules, call volumes and performance. This feature keeps track of agents’ whereabouts throughout the day. For example, if an agent takes a break at 10:00 am, the agent should be back in their seat by 10:15 am ready to answer calls. Having this tool at your fingertips makes it easier to identify those agents who are or aren’t adhering to their schedules.

Auto-Pilot Guidance Alerts

By using a WFM system that provides automatic alerts via text message and email, it enables contact center operations staff to stay updated on the fast changing environment and KPI’s used to measure changes throughout the day. Providing popup messages, such as break and lunch suggestions for various staff members makes sure there is no delay in decision making.

Monitoring Ad Hoc Views and Metrics

Metrics such as average handle time, calls offered, calls answered, agents available, staffing distribution, and service level are essential to effectively monitor a centers health at any given time. In centers that are not using a WFM system, the operations staff has to juggle between several reporting platforms. This is highly inefficient and leads to inaccuracies in staffing coverage which leads to lost profitability for companies. The WFM product allows for side by side views of which agents are supposed to be where and when versus what they are actually doing. This enables operations staff to correct agent actions and ensure they are available and in productive modes when they are needed.

Making real-time decisions is necessary for all contact centers. inContact Workforce Management provides custom triggers and proactive alerts which enable quick and decisive action by detecting issues before they impact service levels. Intraday management supports staffing adjustments, forecasting and skill matching. Why should you manage your contact center on the fly when you can proactively manage your agents and call flow with intraday management?