While workforce optimization solutions have always been critical to call centers, these days, they’re truly becoming the go-to technologies that make or break a call center’s success. Why? Because the very nature of the call center is changing.
Once a large “boiler room” in which rows of agents sat toiling all day long while managers stalked the aisles listening for irregularities, today, the call center is more of a concept than a place. Technology has enabled companies to build virtual call centers made up of people distributed all over the state, all over the country or even all over the world.
Some agents may work from home. Others may be brought online from another location to help handle call spikes. In any case, the job of call center management has gotten harder.
This is where workforce optimization comes in. It’s the force that holds it all together, wrote CallCopy’s (News - Alert) Barry Knack, director of Education and ProServices, in a recent Call Center Times article about the role of workforce optimization in the call center today.
“Without physical visibility, management must ensure agents are performing the proper duties, diligently protecting customer information, and are actively engaging with the company as a whole to learn about new product and service offerings and desired call handling practices,” said Knack. “In a traditional call center setting, managers often conduct ‘management by walking around’ (MBWA), which does allow them to gauge the tone and speed of the agents, and provide real-time guidance or to intervene if necessary. This approach does not apply with the at-home agent model, so managers need to adapt in order to bring the order and uniformity of the traditional center into the remote agent’s workspace.”
So how do you build a virtual version of MBWA? With the proper workforce optimization solutions that can provide built-in call monitoring solutions. Most notable are today’s call recording solutions that are a far cry from the ones of the past. While most call centers only recorded a small portion of calls (it was too expensive to do otherwise), today decreases in digital storage costs have made 100-percent call recording the industry standard. (And particularly important for home-based agents, who may be unaware that the television on in the background is intruding into the call.)
Screen capture is also important: it helps complete the manager’s picture of an agent’s performance.
These features, combined with state-of-the-art analytics to make it easy to search for and find relevant performance-related content, are helping virtual and distributed call centers around the world keep quality high while reaping the benefits of remote workers.
“Technology means that remote workers do not need to be at a disadvantage in terms of training and mentoring,” wriote Knack. “An advanced WFO suite will include a peer-based quality management system that allows senior representatives to provide tips and coaching for other staff members. Such an approach enables much more ground to be covered than is possible with just supervisors, and it can be framed as a learning exercise instead of a more formal review of performance.”
Welcome to the brave new world of global call centers.
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Edited by Braden Becker