The role of a planning team
Targets for planners
The research shows that targets for planners are changing significantly, with a clearer focus on their effectiveness at forecasting, scheduling and service consistency. Service level and cost are still the areas where they feel able to make most impact.
- Only 30% feel they can influence first contact resolution, 40% customer satisfaction/loyalty, or 33% attrition/sickness (33%). The higher levels of team leader buy-in in Travel showed up in stronger scores for influencing sickness and attrition.
- 95% felt they had influenced service level/calls answered and 75% of planning teams are targeted on these metrics. This was common among most sectors and types of centre – reflecting the traditional focus of resource planning teams.
- 80% felt they had influenced productivity/cost – only the public sector had weaker scores in this area, perhaps reflecting less maturity in resource planning and weak buy-in from team leaders.
- There was also a very big move towards measuring the effectiveness of the contribution of planning. 72% are targeted on forecast accuracy and 44% on schedule fit, which were questions we asked for the first time. 39% are targeted on consistency of service – up from only 18.5% in 2009.
Ratios of planners to agents
The impact of a planning team is not only linked to the use and effectiveness of technology, but also to how the planners work within the business and their workload.
- The ratio of planners to agents is now 1:88. It was 1:100 in 2007. Larger centres benefit from a clear economy of scale. Operations over 1,000 agents have far more planning teams with over 100 agents to one planner.
- Centres under 500 agents are far more likely to have a ratio of 1:50 or less. Variation by sector mainly reflects the size of centre in each sector.
- The key driver seems to be business structure (e.g. the number of skills to forecast for, the need for extended real-time coverage) than by agent related tasks (e.g. administration of time off), because larger operations are more likely to have automated admin processes with self-service technology.
- Buy-in from Marketing is still the No.1 challenge for over 60% of planning teams, followed by IT and Finance. It is great to see that buy-in and support from senior managers and call centre managers is sufficient in over 80% of cases.
- Crucially, no in-roads are being made in the battle to win support from team leaders – still sitting at 64%. In fact only 10% regard team-leader buy-in as excellent, compared with 36% for other managers. There are marked variations between sector, with some clear evidence of good practice in outsourcing.
Planning team ratios by sector
- Public Sector 1:57
- Retail & Leisure 1:58
- Finance 1:104
- Outsourcing 1:75
- Telecoms 1:87
- Overall 1:88
The overall average without financial services is only 1:77
Obstacles to team leader buy-in and understanding
- Team leaders get sucked into the day to day
- Damaged credibility of systems and process
- Lack of training and education
- Lack of accurate data to support planning
- Resourcing/budgeting driven by Finance (top down)
- Maintaining effective control against pace of change
- Getting operational managers to understand the impact of adherence and the importance of planning in meeting targets
Not enough team leader buy-in
- Local Government 73%
- Insurance/Other FS 50%
- Retail/Leisure 44%
- Utilities 30%
- Travel 25%
- Banking/Retail FS 22%
- Outsourcing 18%
- CC Managers 36%
- SMs/Directors 36%
- Team leaders 10%
- IT 7%
- Finance 11%
- Marketing 1%
Training and development
- Over 56% of those in planning or MI related roles received no training or development in the past 12 months – a worrying figure given the technical aspects of the roles, even though this is down from 65% in 2007
- While 37% of teams reported that they had all received training, almost three-quarters were in small teams of 4 or fewer and in the larger teams (10+ planners) far fewer had received training
- Most benefit is being realised with 1-1 personal coaching and training, with 79% feeling this made a significant or extremely useful addition to their team’s ability. This may be partly due to the absence of formal professional training
- Training by hardware and software vendors scores poorly, with only 54% feeling they got meaningful results from the experience – perhaps where some courses feel ‘off the shelf’. In-house training scores worst at 34%, probably due to the specialist requirements of a uniquely technical team
Recruitment and selection
- 75% identified lack of suitable candidates as the major problem when recruiting
- Surprisingly, 56% still expect to have to train and develop new hires, primarily due to what is felt to be a lack of suitable candidates – as in 2008 (58%)
- Less surprisingly, recruitment has slowed up with only 46% having recruited analysts in the past 12 months, down from 81% in 2008
Top 3 issues when recruiting
- Lack of suitable candidates 75%
- Salary expectations 37%
- Career progression 23%
- Workforce forecasting
- WFM scheduling
- Multi-channel scheduling
- Adherence and forecasting
- A beginner’s guide to adherence management
- Forecasting and scheduling home based agents