It’s Time to Automate the Intraday Management Process

It’s 10 AM on Monday and call volumes are 15% higher than projected, email is backed up from the weekend, and the number of chat requests is three times what was forecasted. To add insult to injury, the surf is up and the sun is shining, and the absence rate (shrinkage) is 10% greater than expected. While this is a worst-case scenario, aspects of it will resonate with many contact center managers. In most contact centers today, it’s not a question of whether or not this will occur, but how to recover when it does.

It’s Time to Automate the Intraday Management Process 

Since we know that bad (or unexpected) things happen, as forecasting is both an art and science, the only way to fix the problem is to change the rules. (If the Cubs can win a World Series, anything is possible – and yes, I am a Chicagoan who doesn’t expect this phenomenon to be repeated in the foreseeable future.) Imagine a world where an intraday management system operates in real time on a fully automated basis. Instead of notifying management and workforce management (WFM) administrators that they have a “situation” (something that is pretty obvious), it advises them of the corrective actions it already took to “find” and staff additional agents or “convince” employees to leave early.

This may sound like a dream, but it can be done, or much of it can, with the automated intraday management modules known as adaptive real-time scheduling applications. These new solutions will alter the dynamics of the contact center by improving the customer and employee (agent, supervisor and WFM administrator) experience. These applications will become the “heart” of NewGen WFM and will allow enterprises to balance the scheduling needs of their contact centers and agents.

I recently participated in a panel on this topic and was thrilled to hear from enterprise users that the new generation of mobile-enabled, real-time intraday management scheduling modules is being rolled out in both union and non-union operating environments. Contact center agents, supervisors and WFM administrators have to be re-trained and motivated to use the new capabilities – once on board, they will not want to turn back. This is the easy part. The challenge is that once one of these solutions is implemented, a company cannot proceed with business as usual; instead, they will have to update and re-imagine how WFM is applied in the contact center.

Too many companies have been doing WFM the same way for as long as they’ve operated their contact centers (20 – 30 years in many organizations), and it is well past time to review, enhance and update their approach to this essential function. Give yourself and your agents a break and start planning to implement an adaptive real-time scheduling solution. Take a critical look at how intraday management is being handled (or not) today, and calculate the many ways that the new real-time scheduling solutions can vastly improve the dynamics of your contact center and reduce agent attrition and operating expenses.

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