It’s conventional wisdom in the contact center industry that there is no quicker way to send your customers into the arms of your competitor than slow, inefficient call answer rates: long wait times for agents leading to high call abandonment. Improving these key performance indicators (KPIs) may be the single biggest pivot point for completely turning around an under-performing contact center. One organization, South Carolina Federal Credit Union, was experiencing an epic call abandonment headache that was leading to significant member dissatisfaction and negatively affecting agent morale.
The credit union ultimately turned to workforce management and performance management solutions provider GMT Corporation, and within four months, the company reduced its average speed to answer by more than 90 percent, significantly lowering abandonment rates in the credit union's contact center.
GMT's Chief Executive Officer Simon Angove hopes South Carolina Federal's success will spark other credit unions to consider automated workforce optimization solutions as a way to improve workforce performance to meet member demands.
“Today, fewer than 20 percent of credit unions are using workforce optimization solutions to improve member service and balance labor needs,” said Angove. “By optimizing its workforce and workload, South Carolina Federal is now in a better position to deliver on its promise to help members lead more simplified lives.”
In early 2010, South Carolina Federal, the largest credit union in the State of South Carolina with more than 143,000 members and over $1.3 billion in assets, realized that it needed to make some technology investments to help improve member service. In particular, members calling into South Carolina Federal's contact center found themselves in lengthy queues waiting to speak with a call center agent. This led to a significantly higher than industry average call abandonment rate and, as a result, some very dissatisfied members.
The credit union ultimately chose the GMT Planet workforce optimization solution to improve contact center management during peak times and improve agent productivity. Within four months of implementation, South Carolina Federal not only reduced average speed to answer and abandonment rate by more than 90 percent, but the organization was able to improve visibility to workload and workforce needs and enhance work-life balance for employees.
“We have seen dramatic improvements in our contact center operations in particular,” said Jessica Williams, contact center manager for South Carolina Federal. “We saw our average speed to answer drop to a more reasonable 20 seconds, and our average abandonment rate is now less than two percent. We discovered that we were significantly understaffed during high volume times of the day. Our implementation of GMT Planet not only helped us identify those key times when we needed more – or fewer – agents, but also provided us the tools by which we could measure performance and hold our contact center and branch management accountable.”
GMT Planet offers a simple graphical interface known as “workload fit.” This is a continually updated measure of how closely workforce supply matches member service demand. Managers can easily discern whether they are overstaffed, which results in excellent service, but at a higher cost of service, or understaffed, which means members are waiting – either on the phone or in the branch queue – resulting in diminished member satisfaction.
“The results we have received from GMT Planet are remarkable. We have experienced significant improvements in our contact center and branch operations,” said Williams. “We have greater visibility across all of our staffing, including our floaters, and our employees love it. We expect to roll out GMT to other departments including front line employees and support staff in the near future.”
For more information about GMT Planet, visit www.gmt.com.
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Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by John Lahtinen