How important is it to provide contact center representatives with a 360-degree view of the customer, and what types of systems enable that? What metrics are the most important in helping banks track the productivity and effectiveness of their call center staffs? How is social media changing banks' contact center activities, and ultimately, what is the role of the call center in the 21st century multichannel financial institution? --Peggy Bresnick Kendler
It is not enough to know how many agents you need to hire -- selecting employees who are more likely to offer better customer service is key. Behavioral assessments built into hiring solutions improve decisions and systematically enhance the overall quality of the workforce. This selection science helps predict a candidate's likelihood of success in the role.
Steps to optimize the workforce for a superior customer experience do not end there. It also is critical to manage planned and unplanned absences as well as extended leave. And trying to guess the correct number of employees needed to cover a shift or the best workers to fill it is error-prone. Automated labor forecasting and scheduling technology help support an optimized workforce deployment.
Traditional metrics are focused on handle times and speed of answer. These are important, but in order to measure productivity, call centers should consider quantifying actual costs. According to a Mercer survey, absenteeism costs can exceed 35 percent of payroll costs. There also needs to be metrics around productive and non-productive time. How much time are employees spending taking contacts versus off-phone work? Understanding direct and indirect costs of that time can help measure effectiveness.
Call centers today focus more on consultative, personalized interactions. And many agents work from home, enhancing the need to track time and work completed. There are many angles to consider -- for example, how do you track time worked for wage and hour compliance, or how do you ensure that proper breaks were taken while still meeting appropriate service levels?
Malysa O'Connor is director, service and distribution industry marketing at Kronos.