Workforce Management: the Secret Sauce of Success
Workforce Management: the Secret Sauce of Success
Workforce management can be a major time sucking force in the life of a Call Centre Manager. It can also cause a huge amount of stress, as inflexible rosters or work conditions that don’t suit your agents are leading reasons for attrition. The time your agents stay with you is often fleeting for many reasons. By putting in good workforce management systems you can create a team that is engaged, refreshed and ready to deliver stellar customer service.
If the time you apply to managing your workforce is spent locked in an office while you try to fit together the many, often moving pieces of your agent puzzle, this isn’t a great way to manage or lead a team. I mean I get it, you need no interruptions as the slightest slip can mean the whole thing falls apart, right? And who has time to start over? It shouldn’t be a source of stress, and it shouldn’t be all-consuming. But Workforce management should easy for you and done well a great tool to retain your staff.
Show you’re listening
A good workforce management system allows you to profile your agents by:
- Availability – when they’re free to work
- Preference – when they’d prefer to work
- Templates- when they usually work
By remembering and taking into consideration your staff’s preferences and availability, the chances of you creating a roster that satisfies everyone are pretty good. A system that consistently applies this data to your scheduling means that you’re creating a sense of stability, consistency and predictability that are important elements in improving your staff retention. Everyone needs to be listened to – it makes them feel like they’re important to and valued by you as their manager and by the business.
Your agents have busy lives and while you’re not there to schedule work around what they do out of hours, predictable rostering and advanced warning of schedule changes means they can arrange babysitters, uni tutorials or doctor’s appointments in advance. When your staff have control over their life they’ll be more engaged in their work and feel more secure, which is good for business and good for you. A good system will allow you to quickly and easily email rosters to staff, and let them know straight away by email if there are any changes. Constant communication is critical, and you don’t even have to think about it – the emails will be fired off automatically. One less thing on your To Do list. Noice.
Productivity is king, so the time spent on the phone is critical, but so are breaks. In fact, workplace law mandates that you make sure your people are taking their breaks. You don’t want your more diligent, harder workers leaving absolutely shattered at the end of a shift because they haven’t had a chance to walk away from the phones – this will lead pretty quickly to burn out and a rapid decrease in motivation. Make sure your workforce management system records all breaks and notifies your agents when it’s time for a break.
Report when you need to
End of day, end of week end of month or end of campaign reporting just doesn’t cut it when it comes to understanding the performance of your team and the campaign as a whole. You need to be able to check in on your agents in real time to offer immediate coaching (even when they’re on calls), identify any issues and course correct quickly. It’s not about spying, it’s about managing your workforce with realtime reporting at any time, so you can be confident that you have the strongest team possible working the phones on any campaign you have running.
It’s gotta be easy
The last thing you need is for your workforce management session to be headache-inducing. You’re like a circus performer, really, juggling so many agents’ preferences and information, so the last thing you want is to be opening and closing screens and switching between systems to compile the data you need. You want something intuitive, that shows you very clearly where you have staffing gaps to fill, and allows you to drag and drop the relevant info onto your roster.
Again, one less thing to worry about.
Workforce management is the backbone of your call centre, helping you to create the structure that ensures every campaign is worked to maximum effectiveness. It’s also a very handy tool to help you keep your staff happy, motivated and (hopefully) staying put.
If your call centre has your agents firing on all cylinders, this is not only going to improve your productivity, it’s going to give you the all-important competitive advantage. Your prospects will finish a conversation with your team with that elusive feeling that they were speaking to someone who a) knew their stuff; and b) liked their job.
That sort of positive energy can be hard to come by when dealing with the frontline in customer service, but by optimising your workforce management system you can make sure that your team feels heard, valued and motivated.