According to a landmark study in the Managing Service Quality Journal back in 2006, call center managers faced a few common resource management problems across the industry.
This article will take a brief look at the issues that the study flagged up and check in on how the industry has changed to deal with some of these problems. Here are the four resource management issues identified by Jack, Bedics and McCary in their report:
Efficient Deployment and use of Labor
Call center management is essentially an interpersonal role. The cutting edge of a call center’s operation is the agents who actually communicate with the customers. A good call center manager is able to efficiently distribute work among agents without overworking or under-motivating them.
Call centers have long had a reputation as places synonymous with modern drudgery. Call center agents are often under-motivated, overworked and prone to inefficiency. It doesn’t have to be this way. Efficient management of agents comes not from policing their actions meticulously, but by giving them an actual reason to work hard. Respect is key.
In recent years, some call center managers have taken this to heart – ditching the high-stress competitive atmosphere and constant surveillance in favor of trust-based systems of motivation.
Effective Leveraging of Technology
This is an area that has improved greatly since the publishing of the 2006 report. Modern call centers are making use of integrated cloud storage in order to avoid data silos, data analytics to improve efficiency and video conferencing to give customers a face-to-face experience. The effective leveraging of technology is essential if a call center is to become efficient and effective at dealing with inbound or outbound traffic. Learn more about improving the customer journey at https://www.aceyus.com/call-center-analytics/.
Capacity management is about predicting how much work will be required of a call center so that staff and resources can be properly assigned. It isn’t easy to predict how much work there will be in a day, but there are ways of improving capacity management through study. Recently, big data analysis has been instrumental in allowing call centers to predict surges and dips in demand so they can adapt their capacity. By knowing just how efficient a workforce is and really knowing their capabilities, an accurate picture of the necessary staffing level for a shift can be generated.
In much the same way, demand management is about the analysis of likely demand. It is also concerned with the use of technology to mediate and distribute work. One way in which this has been achieved is through the use of automated questionnaires. These can direct customers away from a call center if their query is irrelevant, thereby removing some of the demand on the center so that it can deal with more important enquiries. These automated questionnaires have a downside, however. They can prove infuriating and confusing to some customers, who may well end up escalating their enquiry as a result – which creates more demand.