Paul Stitt explains how Software as a Service (SaaS) has made workforce management more affordable.
Fact truer than fiction, many contact centre resource planners still work long, unsociable hours, number crunching on spreadsheets and Erlang calculators, trying to ensure that workload is accurately forecast and agents are optimally scheduled to meet 80:20 service level goals.
It would be fair to say that such planners even pray for divine intervention so that staffing is perfectly aligned with customer demand. Any planner worth their salt knows that having too many agents on shift results in overstaffing costs and too few means customer service suffers.
Staffing just the right number of agents with an occupancy rate of around 80% should allow the resource planner to maintain an Average Handle Time (AHT), Average Speed of Answer (ASA) and high retention rate that keeps agents, customers and management happy.
The last thing any resource planner needs is their agents leaving in their droves and having to explain to management what went wrong.
Recruiting new agents is often seen as a remedy, but with the industry average totalling 7% for expenditure surely preventative measures make much more sense.
The answer is to stay in control and keep management happy. How? Explain that you can achieve improved forecasting accuracy results using workforce management (WFM) – with no need to torture the bank manager for a loan…
Obtaining budget for WFM
Many planners are often shy, even fearful, about approaching management for budget, especially when it comes to capital expenditure which could be career limiting should it all go wrong.
Some fears are well-warranted, as WFM systems traditionally came entangled in long-term contracts with ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs built in.
It is not unusual to see quotes for WFM in six figure sums, so with huge pressure on resource planners to select the right WFM tool, it is not surprising many stay wedded to their beloved spreadsheets even if they are error prone.
However, this ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’ ‘we’ve always done it this way’ mindset is not the answer for improved performance.
Switching from Capex to Opex
SaaS, software as a service, has been the answer for many resource planners and contact centre managers.
Cloud-based SaaS WFM can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of traditional ‘on premise’ legacy systems, with no need for long-term contracts and it is procured via the operational expenditure (Opex) budget.
Procuring WFM software as a service reduces the risk in making the wrong procurement decision as there are often no upfront costs for training, hardware and implementation.
Resource planners can also test out the product using their own data in a live environment – proving the concept and even pulling the plug should it all go wrong.
This scenario can be a win-win for the vendor and client user, as risk (even though low) is shared and the onus is on the vendor to continually keep the customer happy.
And there shouldn’t be a catch! In fact, there shouldn’t even be an order form, just an email stating when you’d like your service to begin!
With thanks to Paul Stitt at injixo