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
Mobile backlog affects revenuesNew research shows that a slow approach to app development is increasingly damaging revenue opportunities in the enterprise. The study found that organisations are currently struggling with a significant mobile backlog and unable to cope with business demands. Read More
Kenya courts technology to woo investorsKenya, East Africa’s lead economic hub, has stepped up its efforts to woo investors through its rigorous incorporation and adaptation of technology to ease business transactions. Read More
‘Prepare for an explosive year ahead’ - Dac SystemsFrom a technology solution supply and reselling perspective, 2015 is going to be a bumper year, says Dac Systems. Read More
The Business Network is the futureHyper-connected business networks will extend business processes that used to stop at the walls of the enterprise, and will fulfill the promise of the real-time global networked economy to reduce complexity without sacrificing sophisticated work, says SAP. Read More
Africa SME Champions Forum: creating an ecosystem to support African championsThe Africa SME Champions Forum closed in Dakar last week, but its work in support of African champions is only just beginning. Read More
Deloitte: Africa GDP to top $3.7 trillion by 2019Africa’s gross domestic product will grow by 50% to $3.7 trillion over the next five years, says Deloitte. Read More
EOH CEO named All Africa Business LeaderAsher Bohbot, CEO of Enterprise Outsourcing Holdings (EOH) Limited, has been named Business Leader of the Year at the CNBC Africa All Africa Business Leaders Awards. Read More
Data revolution will shake banking sector, says NCC chiefThe Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Eugene Juwah, says Nigeria’s second revolution in data will have a significant effect on the banking sector. Read More
Qrent expands across AfricaAs organisations look to hire instead of purchasing essential equipment such as computers, printers copiers, LCD screens and projectors, the demand for Qrent’s services has grown across the continent. Read More
FEATURED STORYGSMA: half a billion mobile subscribers in SSA by 2020
The number of unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will pass the half billion mark in 2020, says a new GSMA report.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAfrica lags on digital migration
Only three African countries have so far completed the digital migration process, and serious issues are hampering the migration in other nations.