This week we have a guest blog from Debbie May, General Manager, Silver Lining Solutions, Americas. Here Debbie discusses the findings from Silver Lining Solutions’ recent report, in partnership with Teleopti. The report explores how contact centers are keeping up with the growth in internal (‘offline’) activities, all of which need to be efficiently scheduled and communicated.
Silver Lining Solutions, supported by Teleopti and The Forum, recently conducted a global research initiative* into offline activity scheduling. While it seems that a variety of systems are being used to schedule offline activities for a wide range of different job roles, the research revealed that scheduling might be being left behind in how it is being integrated with other increasingly popular and effective measures. Let me share some of the findings:
- Only a third of respondents can currently schedule based on event triggers from other systems such as Voice of the Customer or Speech Analytics. This apparent lack of integration is supported by the continued use of standalone tools such as Excel and Outlook alongside WFM systems for planning, communicating and monitoring offline activities.
- Unsurprisingly, a combination of increased demand and disconnected systems means increased stress on resource planners. A quarter of our sample reported the need to schedule more than 500 offline activities per week, with 10% reporting more than 1000, and some of those more than 3000. As a result, the amount of time dedicated to this is correspondingly large with 42% of respondents spending at least one day per week (20% of their time) solely on this activity. 4.4% spent more than half their time planning and scheduling offline activities.
- 9% reported a need to ramp up resources (and hence increase offline scheduling activity) in response to seasonal, competitive or regulatory imperatives. These external requirements, especially regulatory directives, often need activities to be recorded, with about half of those polled reporting this as a requirement, and 59.8% of respondents reporting that they have to both ensure offline activities are either completed or rescheduled.
- Last but not least, nearly 80% of the sample stated that they would like to free up resource planning time to focus on more strategic activities.
So, it would appear that organizations that do not optimize the management of ‘offline’ activities are missing a trick. Automation delivers significant cost savings and frees up management time to focus on more strategic activities, while greater integration can enable outcome-based metrics that are very effective to target employee optimization activities. Scheduling based on these metrics would allow improvements to be focused and specific rather than generic and therefore, potentially, unnecessary.
*The survey’s 103 respondents were split just about 60/40 in favor of EMEA vs the Americas, with a very small number of responses coming from the Asia Pacific region.
Teleopti comment on the findings
“Having observed the growth of employee engagement as a prime focus for businesses, and the impact that this has had on attitudes to workforce management across our customer base, it is not surprising that there are high levels of internal (‘offline’) activity scheduling. It is also pleasing to see that 73% of Teleopti respondents use WFM to plan these offline activities, along with an above average number using WFM and/or task planning software to communicate requests and meetings with staff. However, much greater efficiencies – and the associated benefits – are possible, and as the integration of systems to plan ‘offline’ as well as ‘online’ activities increase, we hope our solution can be there to assist such scheduling.”
Lotta Müller, Senior Consultant, Business Development at Teleopti
DOWNLOAD THE REPORT – where you will also find more detailed analysis of Teleopti-specific customer responses.