When agents are twiddling their thumbs because calls aren’t coming in, it costs the contact center money. When a barrage of calls come in and wait times skyrocket, the customer experience drops. Having the correct capacity of agents without over-staffing is a tug-of-war that every contact center has had to play.
Even with insightful analytics, you can’t perfectly predict how much activity your contact center is going to have. There will be unexpected lulls and spikes in activity regardless of what the numbers prepare you for.
The goal of flexible WFM is to increase the contact center’s agility while maintaining a high level of customer service.
Traditional vs. Flexible Workforces
One way to increase workforce flexibility is to have a number of remote agents who are able to work from home. Here’s how that can help:
Agents in a traditional contact center can easily get overloaded with calls, leaving a lot of customers on hold. Call abandon rates increase while service quality decreases. Remote agents are often able to deliver quicker call resolution.
Ramp-up time in a traditional contact center can take weeks, but on-demand remote agents are able to ramp up in just a few hours.
If there’s an unexpected rush of communication or a shift has to be covered in an emergency, the resources at a traditional contact center can’t always scale as quickly as needed. With the support of a remote workforce, though, agents can cover gaps in even a non-standard schedule at the last minute.
Encourage Customers to Use Other Channels
Unexpected spikes are going to happen. As you continue managing spikes, particularly the ones you can predict, create a contingency plan for the spikes you don’t see coming. One way to do this is to encourage customers to use other channels, like chat, email, SMS and social media.
This can limit the number of incoming calls and may also lower the number of times a customer reaches out to customer service before being helped. For example, if you have a team of agents providing social media support, they can connect with a customer after the first complaint and possibly solve the issue before is escalates.
Even contact centers that have always had rigid staffing measures can see the benefits of a flexible model, which saves resources during downtime and allows for adjustments on-the-fly.