Up until 2006, South Carolina Bank and Trust
(SCBT), a $2.4 billion community-based bank with 45 financial centers in 16 counties, was using spreadsheets to schedule the agents in its call center.
One reason the bank was still using manual systems was because it was using a legacy PBX (News
) that didn’t allow for integration with the leading workforce management systems.
But in 2006, the bank upgraded to VoIP and a new call center platform, thus opening the door for it to start reaping the many advantages of modern-day WFM system. After evaluating several call center workforce management solutions the bank ended up selecting GMT Corp.’s GMT Planet
, which is available as both a hosted and on-premises solution.
Prior to the upgrade, SCBT faced numerous challenges in scheduling its call center agents. For example, the bank cross-trains its agents to handle different channels, including email and Web chat, in addition to phone. Because some agents are better at verbal communications, meaning they are best suited for the phones, while others are better at text-based communications, meaning they are better suited to channels like email and Web chat, the company faced a challenge in terms of scheduling the proper “mix” of agents for each shift. Ensuring that the right number of agents was available to handle the volume for each channel type was essentially a “best guess.”
But with GMT Planet’s advanced analytics capabilities, the bank’s call center managers can now forecast, with a high degree of accuracy, how many agents will be needed for any given shift, based on skill set. Through integration with the call center ACD, as well as email and Web chat systems, GMT Planet can extract historical call volume data, apply predictive algorithms, and accurately forecast upcoming peaks and valleys. This, in turn, enables call center managers to create more accurate schedules, based on the forecasted volume.
Another challenge the bank faced, prior to deploying GMT Planet, was that the call center managers had very limited visibility into its call center performance, making it difficult to know if and when agents should be scheduled for training. This resulted in some agents not having as many skills as desired to ensure total customer service. In addition, some agents felt frustrated because they could not expand their areas of expertise.
But with GMT Planet, call center managers can schedule agents for training and coaching sessions automatically, without having to worry about the impact such scheduled activities could have on service levels. For example, should call volume come in unexpectedly higher during a period when an agent has been scheduled for training, the system can be programmed to automatically send an alert to the manager and the agent, canceling or re-scheduling the training session so that the agent can continue working -- thus avoiding a potential resource problem that could result in long hold times and decreased customer satisfaction.
But the more impressive benefits of the GMT Planet solution come in the form of improved metrics: For example, after the solution was deployed the bank’s agent occupancy rate improved from about 80 percent to now 99.5 percent, meaning that each agent is pending more time handling customer calls, as opposed to waiting for calls to come in. In addition, SCBT’s average speed to answer (ASA) dropped from 45 seconds to 10 seconds, and the number of abandoned calls dropped from 18 percent to less than six percent. These improvements occurred without a staff increase and even with a 25 percent rise in call volume from 1,600 per day to an average of 2,000 each day.
Perhaps most important, the bank avoided the need to add three new agents to its call center staff – a savings of around $100,000 a year.
SCBT’s success with GMT Planet is chronicled in a customer case study posted to GMT’s website. To download a free copy of the informative white paper and learn more about how GMT Planet can reduce your call center operating costs while at the same time improving customer service, click here
Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard