When was the last time contact centre resource planning made a significant leap forward? As an industry we’ve been “tinkering” around the edges with the technology; improved forecasting, faster scheduling, new agent apps, move to the cloud.  But what has really changed for the organisation?

Productivity, as measured by the amount of paid time an agent spends serving a customer, has hovered around 50% for a long time.  Agent attrition is around 21% and even higher in large organisations and service is still being decried by many customers.

I think we’ve been doing something wrong.

At the moment, WFM plans match the available staff to the workload. Detailed schedules to meet the forecast are usually done months in advance. Agents adhere rigidly to those schedules and on the day, we hope that the forecast is close to correct and all the staff turn up. But of course this rarely happens. We are stuck with inflexible working processes and it’s restricting our industry’s ability to transform.

Let’s turn it on its head and match the supply of work to the available staff.  Technology can do this now.  So, what does that mean for your contact centre? 

It means you can:

  • Identify the available time when agents will be idle and schedule more productive work in advance
  • Give your staff the flexibility to work when they want to (within the confines of when you need them to work, of course)
  • Approve holiday requests, swap shifts and match breaks – literally on the day – without jeopardising service levels or causing havoc

Agents have real flexibility and attrition is reduced.  Productivity is increased with savings of up to 5% of workforce costs. Customers receive a higher level of service. This is agile working. This is adaptive scheduling. I truly believe that the work we’re doing is transforming our industry.  

Workforce management is evolving. Workforce agility from QStory is here. You heard it here first.