According to Forbes, engagement is the key to effective workforce management. With estimates claiming that only 30% of employees are engaged, managing the workforce becomes a lot more difficult than it used to be. Some managers say prior generations were easier to manage because they were more predictable.
Employees worked their 40-plus hours per week at a call center and went home with little complaint. Their primary expectations were job stability, a pay check and good benefits, making them relatively easy to please. This is not the case today. Here’s how you can improve efficiency of your call center using better workforce management techniques.
Understand the Millennial Workforce
While there are certainly exceptions, millennials are more well-known for valuing corporate social responsibility, flexible work hours, remote work opportunities and work-study benefits. Why is this important? Baby boomers are either in or nearing retirement.
As a result, millennials now make up the largest generation share of the American labor force. This is especially the case in a call center workforce, where employers often attract younger workers. Thus, a big part of effective workforce management now depends on the ability to understand, motivate and compensate millennials.
Depend on Accurate Data
When managers better understand their workforce, they can then use that knowledge to increase efficiency. One page that employers can take from the “internet generation” book is the love for technology and a reliance on apps. Software allows employers to use data to provide objective feedback to employees and make effective adjustments. Some key data that managers should employ tech to track in a cell center environment include the following:
• Average customer wait time
• Average handling time
• Conversation rate
• Average talk time
• Customer rating
• Upsell rates
Call centers can also use data to better serve customers. Many call centers keep track of customer preferences, purchase history and other valuable information. Agents in turn can use this information to better assist callers and upsell products and services.
Setting Data-Driven Schedules
Another important use of data is to create schedules. This prevents the likelihood of having too many or too few agents on site during slow or peak hours. How so? Managers should pay close attention to data related to how many customers call hourly, how long they must wait in the queue before receiving assistance and how long it takes on average to resolve their queries.
By compiling and analyzing this information, managers can create shift schedules that reduce customer wait time and increase customer satisfaction. Better schedules also help to reduce work overload during the busier times, as well as prevent boredom when call volumes are low. Finally, employees are in a better position to choose their shifts.
Provide Solid Succession Plans
When it comes to industry turnover rates, call centers are among the highest. One contributing factor is the failure to provide solid succession plans. A good succession plan should come in two parts. The first is that employees should have trained at least one person to replace them. The second involves a mapped route for promotional opportunities.
If employees believe that their current position or pay rate is as good as it is ever going to get, then advancing will mean leaving the company. It may also create the mental perception of the company as a temporary opportunity or a stepping stone, leading to limited investment on their part. Remember that employee turnover is expensive. By increasing retention rates call centers can save money and maintain productivity, thereby increasing efficiency.
Prepare for an Agile Workforce
Workforce management solutions are fairly easy to apply in an office space, but remote work is gaining traction in customer service. While employees typically enjoy working from home, it may become more difficult to keep employees engaged. Forbes notes that in these instances, managers who are used to hands-on managing or even micro-managing, will have to get comfortable with a certain degree of uncertainty.
Again, this is where getting to know the team on a personalized level comes in handy. This makes it easier to keep everyone actively engaged through various tactics, such as company newsletters announcing developments and introducing team members, planning regional get-togethers or hosting meaningful and well-planned conference meetings.
As the job market continues to change, many companies find it easier to outsource call center workforce management to capable hands. This allows them to focus on what they do best, i.e., creating a product or service that best serves their target market. If this is an arrangement you would like to consider, contact Etech at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help make this a reality for your company today.