Intraday Management Best Practices for Contact Centers

Is your contact center proactively managing and scheduling in real-time? We narrowed down the important tools to use to get a forward looking vision and direction of your organization. Along with this, we demonstrated how to better predict what your agent levels are going to look like in the future. Throughout the day, it’s important to know how things are going with your agents. You can have an ideal schedule, but things can change on a dime. Hence, the need for intraday management.

Intraday management helps contact center managers get a good outlook at the day ahead. Having insight to your call volume forecasts helps identify times of overages and shortages. This tool lets you review these forecasts to see how much staff you have scheduled and where you need to fill the gaps. The forecasts give you an early warning and/or look into what’s going to happen for the day. In order to have a productive and efficient contact center, it’s important to be proactive with your agent staffing.

Let’s take a look at some intraday management best practices:

Agent Skills Matching

  • Match your agents to specific issues for best response
  • Many agents have a handful of skills but some are more focused on a specific call type
  • Make sure your contact center has a good distribution of these skills
  • Find out what type works best for your organization and matches your environment
  • Look at data throughout the day and determine if your agents should be multi-skilled or more siloed to a specific call type

Use Threshold Notifications

  • You may feel that your job consists of constantly searching for anomalies and sitting in front of a screen all day
  • However, if certain KPI’s go past a level, then you will get proactively alerted through threshold notifications
    • For example, you could be in meetings down the hall and if something out of the ordinary occurs you can receive text messages, emails, or popups alerts on your screen – These are great tools to use!
  • The following are threshold factors you can monitor:
    • Call volume forecast vs. actual call volume
    • Staffing levels at: lunch, breaks, meetings, PTO or call-offs – What is your staff doing?
    • When service levels are being impacted
    • Monitor call queue levels – As a result of this notification, you can help manage the call center to get things back on track

Don’t Over-Analyze Data

  • Sometimes there can be information overload in contact centers, such as scheduling, forecasting, CRM, etc. (a lot of KPI’s)
  • A lot of this data is very detailed information
  • Don’t pay too close attention to all “decimal points”
    • This ties in with knowing your data, but goes a step further
    • Just because your average handle time (AHT) is a few seconds over goal or service level is not spot-on target does not mean your plan or model for the day is wrong
    • Focus more on the big picture items – keep the direction going the right way
    • Don’t let the metrics rule you!

Use Data Appropriately

  • Just because you can measure it, does that mean you should?
  • Know your data and how it impacts customers: Manage to that!
    • For example, when measuring service level you want your customers getting their calls answered within the first few seconds
    • You must ask yourself, is this metric important to you or is having knowledgeable staff more important?
  • Metrics are important, but being drowned in data makes you slow to react
  • Real-time reporting puts actionable information at hand: How you use it is equally important!
  • You might not want to optimize all metrics – it can be very costly!
    • For instance, you may be overly consumed with your service level goal so you over-staff your agents, but at times you have agents sitting idle. If you choose this option, use this situation as a time to coach and train those agents.

Be Proactive

  • This is the most important!
  • Many contact centers are reactionary. However, with the right tools you can proactively make decisions
  • No longer do you have to work off of manual processes
  • This easy-to-use format has information being pulled automatically
  • Remember: The contact center environment is a very fluid operation
    • Anticipate fluctuations
    • Be ready for change and adapt as needed

By implementing these intraday management best practices, you will have a better grasp on how to effectively manage your contact center. This tool will provide you with an overall look at the amount of calls coming in to your contact center along with your agents’ activities throughout the day. Why should you manage your contact center on the fly when you can proactively manage your agents and call flow with intraday management