Contact Center Pipeline August 2022 August 2022 | Page 14

Occupancy is the amount of time the agent is utilized ( busy ) handling calls and work associated with that call . Occupancy is impacted by proper scheduling to meet the “ load .” This includes agents adhering to schedules , agent availability , shrinkage accuracy , size of the Center ( smaller Contact Centers have lower occupancy ), and Service Level .
When a queue ( e . g ., VIP or Concierge line ) is going to be assigned a high Service Level , tradeoffs must be communicated . Occupancy or per agent productivity will be lower . Also , smaller Contact Centers see lower productivity at mid- to high-range Service Levels . So be particularly careful of anyone who publishes anything about “ standards ” for number of calls handled per agent as an objective ( which is a bad idea no matter how you use it ).
Larger Contact Centers with mid to high Service Levels will see higher occupancy at the agent level . When planning is underway , you must determine what is an acceptable occupancy target . Most organizations operate between 70 % at the low end and 90 % at the high end . Occupancy is impacted by the number of agents scheduled . When agents are tardy or absent that load is reallocated to those who come to work ; hence their occupancy goes up and likely Service Level goes down . The plan has been damaged by no shows . It is important that everyone in the chain understands this dynamic .
The higher the Service Level the higher the cost . Higher Service Levels are achieved through additional agents per shift and / or improved processes or performance that reduce call handle time . In revenue-based environments , the additional cost of staff or technology investments is offset by gains in revenue .
Lead with something more interesting during budget season : “ With this budget we intend to impact Customer Experience , Frontline Agent Experience , Cost , and ( when appropriate ) Revenue Objectives .”
When you think of Back to School reviews that kick off a student ’ s school year , why not add a review of how your Contact Center uses Service Level during this back to school season . Is Service Level used as a primary planning tool ? Is it a means to educate and influence senior management ? It is what you make it , so make it count !
Kathleen M . Peterson is the Chief Vision Officer of PowerHouse Con sulting , a call center and telecommunications consulting firm . www . powerhouse1 . com
@ PowerHouse603
But even though I ’ m a trainer myself , I will never stop being a WFM student . There ’ s always something new to learn . The most recent thing I learned about was the “ 9 / 80 Work Schedule ”. That ’ s a schedule crossing a two-week span working nine hours / day on Monday through Thursday , then either working an eight-hour schedule on Friday or taking the day off . Working the extra hour on four days each week earns an extra day off every other week . I love alternative work schedules and have been collecting these for years . I was happy to add this one to my list , but I know it won ’ t be the last . There are still unexplored options out there waiting to be imagined and discovered .
My favorite training source of new WFM information is the annual SWPP conference , especially the case studies where WFM vendors and their companies present their success stories together and tell us how they got there . And I always enjoy the 60-Ideas-in-60-Minutes session , which is like speed-dating with workforce management ideas . I also look for free training opportu-
14 CONTACT CENTER PIPELINE nities , like Contact Center Expo , because I love to hear other voices in the industry . This year they had a session by Todd Gladden called “ What Can You Offer Me ? Hiring the Next Generation of WFM Professionals ,” which addressed The Great Resignation and options for retaining WFM staff . ( Pro-tip : Conduct STAY Interviews !)
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CrmXchange . com hosted a free virtual conference for Workforce Management and Performance Optimization last year . They offered live sessions on Setting Strategic Goals , WFM in the Digital World , and Innovative Ways to Schedule , just to name a few . Their next event happens in November ( 7-11 ), and it ’ s always free . They ’ ve been around for 15 years and commonly have free webcasts , roundtables , and other WFM industry events , which makes this a good mailing list to be on .
The pandemic has left us in a job seekers ’ market , meaning there are more available jobs than people looking for one . If you ’ re looking for a WFM job , you ’ re probably in a stronger negotiating position now to ask for things like ongoing training and a paid membership to organizations like SWPP that offer ongoing WFM training , such as their Fundamentals of WFM web seminar series that is presented every year .
And of course , continuing a subscription to Contact Center Pipeline , which will always be your # 1 source for best practices , current trends , and all the leads on upcoming training opportunities . We will always tell it to you like it is !
Tiffany LaReau is a Certified Workforce Manager and Owner of Human Numbers . She has written 50 articles and 1 book on the subject of WFM . E-mail her at Tiffany @ HumanNumbers . com