Society of Workforce Planning Professionals
Become a Member: JOIN NOW
On Target Winter 2023
Tracking WFM’s Call Center Cost SavingsSusan2023-04-01T14:24:40-04:00
Tracking WFM’s Call Center Cost Savings
Often the value of WFM projects are undervalued by leaders outside of the WFM team. However, this is largely because we quantify successes with internal definitions.
For example, we report that the new adherence to schedule process has lowered agents After-Call Work usage by 16 seconds. While this is technically true, a more convincing way to portray this information exists.
Try to quantify successes in a language that every business speaks — head count and money. The above example could have been more effective if the cost savings were portrayed by saying that the new process has saved the company four FTEs, which equates to $200,000 annually. Knowing what your audience needs to hear is more important than providing the technical answer.
This information can also be useful if your team finds itself in a position to defend the size of its staff, or the need for expansion, not to mention the impact that the results can have on the morale of the team, e.g., our efforts have saved the company from unnecessary hiring.
Think outside of the box when you are establishing metrics for your Workforce Management team. Most WFM teams have metrics that they are reliant on others to help them meet (example: service level, ASA, abandon, etc). Although these are metrics they can influence, they can’t always control them, which can sometimes be a challenging discussion during the year-end review cycle.
Consider adding behaviors you want the team to exhibit alongside those measurable metrics. Have your team participate in the development of these behaviors and encourage them to track specific examples of how they exhibited these behaviors throughout the year so they are prepared to discuss during 1:1’s or quarterly reviews.
These behaviors can be more instrumental than hitting that numeric objective and can really influence your organization in a positive way.
Note: This tip is provided by SWPP Board Member Jessica Harris of EPIQ. She may be reached at Jessica.email@example.com.
Schedule Your Own Day, And Include Time for SWPP Tips!
As WFM professionals, we are often making sure other people are in the right place at the right time…but how many of us manage ourselves in the same way? It’s difficult to balance what gets our attention throughout the workday. Just like meetings, doctor’s appointments, e-learnings, and PTO have to be scheduled for others, I encourage you to schedule out your own day with time for TikTok scrolls, email responses, and SWPP tips and tricks.
I’ve started devoting 20 minutes of my day every Monday to read over the SWPP tips. Sometimes, there’s no action to be taken – it’s just time to process the info that takes 5 minutes to read. Other times, I spend that 20 minutes sharing with Supervisors, Leads, or Managers that might not have paid as much attention. Most importantly, though, are the times when they are actionable tips. That’s when I look at my weekly schedule and block out an hour of focus time with the SWPP tip included in the event. This allows me to mull over the words that were said, almost like talking it over with a mentor.
A recent tip regarding attrition caused this focus time and I was able to create visual representations of how many people we had lost due to positive attrition from our contact center. This extra time spent then reinforced to higher-ups the proof that investing in the contact center (even during a hiring freeze) was worthwhile as it was a direct pipeline of well-trained employees that knew our products for other lines of business.
There are a number of different terms in the industry to identify elements of how well the staff sticks to the planned schedules. Two that come to mind are schedule “conformance” vs. schedule “adherence.” Vendors and call centers sometimes use the same word but mean something quite different.
However, there are essentially three things we care about regardless of what word you use to describe them:
Did the agent deliver a day’s work for a day’s pay? If the agent is scheduled to be at work and available for 7.5 hours today, did the agent actually log in for that 7.5 hours? The agent might log in 30 minutes early and leave 30 minutes early and would still have delivered 7.5 hours. This is the primary concern of payroll.
Did the agent work the specific details of the schedule? This focuses on the details of the shift and the variance of start, end, and break times. This is focused on having the right number of people available at the right times to meet the customer demand and deliver on the speed of answer goals.
What percentage of the day did the agent make themselves available to perform customer-affecting activities? This includes not just the time available for incoming calls but other times they might have been doing off-phone work and is sometimes referred to as “utilization.” This is often critical in organizations that bill their services back to other departments or clients, but can just be an element of budget planning as well.
Are you measuring all of these? Each one is important in its own way and gives the center useful data to determine the best staffing model and realistic assumptions about shrinkage and non-call work elements, no matter what you call it.