Better service starts with better agent management
BUSINESS| July 9, 2012, 3:31 p.m.
Business competitiveness leans on better customer service. And better customer service starts with better contact centre staff management, says Elingo CEO Ian Goss-Ross.
The importance of contact centre schedule adherence is vastly underrated in South Africa, says Goss-Ross. Often, the task of managing shifts and schedules, and planning for peaks and troughs, is handed to a supervisor or agent as an additional duty. Scheduling is often compiled on a simple spread sheet.
“Too often, this is the case,” he says. “Workforce management as an afterthought is short sighted. It makes it difficult to assess historic and current performance in real time, and doesn’t allow for proper planning.”
Without effective schedule adherence, a contact centre is left with a situation where customers may sit on hold for an unacceptably long period; where insufficient agents are deployed at peak times; and where productivity levels are below the required service levels.
In an industry where staff churn is an ongoing problem, poor agent management can also contribute to employee dissatisfaction – which results in yet more expensive staff turnover.
“Ideally, a call centre should use an agent scheduling system that is fully integrated into all its systems,” says Goss-Ross.
“This allows for automatic scheduling of agents to meet forecasted activity levels at any given time and allows for the adjustment of schedules based on any sudden changes of activity levels. When fully integrated into the rest of an enterprise system, a scheduling system will also allow a contact centre to allocate tasks according to staff skill sets – so that suitable agents handle particular interaction types – and to take into account factors like meetings, sick leave and annual leave.”
“To be effective, a contact centre needs to ensure it has the right people in the right place, at the right time for the right interaction type,” says Goss-Ross. “This not only improves customer satisfaction, cost control and efficiency – it also results in better working conditions for staff.”
And without productive, enthusiastic agents, your contact centre is not likely to respond satisfactorily to customers. “With resources being expensive, effective scheduling and automation in the contact centre maximises investment in these resources, and delivers tangible cost savings,” Goss-Ross says.
“To make better scheduling effective, the process needs to be managed by a manager who really understands their contact centre. In addition, agents need to be incentivised and rewarded for adherence,” says Goss-Ross.
MORE BUSINESS NEWS
BITC invites ICT investorsThe Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) is casting its net wide to appeal to players in the Information Technology sector to invest in the country. Read More
Yudala ‘an unstoppable movement’, says Zinox chiefThe opening of Yudala outlets, combining an online shopping platform with retail stores, has been described as a game-changer in Nigeria. Read More
Travelport, TTS sign reseller agreement for Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific regionTravelport and TTS have signed a sales and distribution agreement for TTS products in the Africa, Middle East, and Asia Pacific regions. Read More
Airbnb to expand further across AfricaAirbnb, the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company, announced that its CEO, Brian Chesky will attend GES 2015 to meet with entrepreneurs from around the world and explore the sharing economy’s impact and expansion, particularly on the African continent - which represents a huge opportunity for the company. Read More
What African entrepreneurs wantOn the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, GeoPoll, the Global Entrepreneurship Network, and the U.S. State Department have released a survey of 1,000 business owners throughout sub-Saharan Africa on entrepreneurship in their countries. Read More
ISON eyes 25,000 jobs, $400m in NigeriaISON Group has projected the creation of 25,000 new jobs and $400 million revenue within space of one or two years in Nigeria. Read More
NEC invests in XON to accelerate regional African growthNEC Europe, a wholly owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation, has invested in XON, the sub-Sahara African ICT group, and the two organisations will have an integrated market approach that will combine their local expertise in the region to provide greater sales coverage in the sub-Sahara African market. Read More
Orange, Airtel in talks on acquisitionsOrange and Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV, have entered into an exclusive agreement to explore the possible acquisition by Orange of four Airtel subsidiaries. Read More
Equitel seeks a share of Kenya’s lucrative telco marketEquity Bank’s subsidiary, Finserve Africa, has launched Equitel, a new mobile payment and banking platform for its customers, which officially brings to the fore the convergence between mobile and banking services in Kenya. Read More
FEATURED STORYBatswana dragging feet in digital migration
More than a month after the deadline for the digital migration from analogue television, few people have shown any pronounced enthusiasm in entering the new digital TV realm.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAs curtain falls on MDGs, what next?
Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, speaks to Biztechafrica about setting smart targets.
COMPANY NEWSMTN Business App of the Year submissions closed
Entries for the annual MTN Business App of the Year Awards taking place on 13 August in Johannesburg have closed, and an expert panel of judges that is adjudicating ...