Call centers historically have been viewed as costs rather than business assets, which explain the recent focus on operational cost reduction through workforce management. Performance management provides unprecedented visibility into call center operations so that line-of-business and call center managers can make informed decisions about issues that are strategically relevant to the enterprise.
Business Managers of consumer-oriented organizations are changing the way they view and manage call centers. Many of them have started to improve call center efficiency by spearheading workforce management initiatives that optimize human capital resources for customer-facing activities.
Some companies have significantly reduced call center-related operational costs; they are still largely unable to correlate the budget allocated for operational costs. The most innovative companies are taking the next step — adding performance management to the mix to improve call center effectiveness.
Through on-demand, event driven capabilities, managers can accelerate efficiency and understand how the call center affects the overall organization from business, financial, and operational perspectives.
Team leaders can also visually monitor activity levels, observe changes in the quality of operations, and take required action with greater speed and precision than is possible using traditional enterprise applications with or without workforce management capabilities.
Enterprise applications are self-contained, meaning that they include the features and functions necessary to improve one or more specific business activities. Some applications come with their own historical reporting tools, so line-of business managers can make retrospective adjustments or improvements.
Performance management takes call center operations to the next level of effectiveness by providing visibility across applications and detailed information about business processes. Managers concerned can make informed decisions about operational changes and improvements.
A leading telecommunications company traditionally used agent incentives to terminate their in-bound calls after a certain length of time because the time spent for customer assistance was too lengthy. What the management did not know was the correlation of the call duration with the up sell of high margin products and ultimately the call center profitability!
The motivation for considering shorter call duration was efficiency so as to answer more customer calls. If the shorter call duration was correlated with lower sales volume or diminished service level, it may in fact have been offset by a proportional loss of profitability. Therefore the decision would not have been cost effective.
Performance management solutions not only reveal which incentive programs are working and why, but they also enable sales managers to adjust incentive programs on the fly.
Conversely, if organizations lack visibility into the actual reason for increase or decrease in performance, quality, revenue, costs, or profitability, the reason for success or failure is a mystery.
Performance management provides organizations with deep insight into call center effectiveness the higher levels of intelligence enable call center managers to maintain tighter control of schedules and conformance.
Performance management also provides new insights into organizational behavior by providing shared visibility across job functions, departments, and applications. In the event of an out-of-bounds condition where an activity exceeds or falls below an acceptable range, root cause analyses can be performed with greater precision using drill-down and event-driven capabilities. When the analytical insight is shared across operational roles, immediate action may be taken to correct any negative exceptions. The added visibility also enables call center managers to correlate quality of service and up-sell performance by agent, group, or location so best practices can be aggregated across the call center, enabling the continuous improvement of call center operations.
Brand name consumer companies are improving the corporate bottom line by taking advantage of the higher levels of call center intelligence performance management offers. Line-of-business managers can monitor the performance of individuals, groups, and departments based on aggregate data from all critical business applications. In doing so, they are taking workforce management to a whole new level. The combination of workforce management and performance management, large organizations and service providers are improving the effectiveness and profitability of call centers while increasing customer satisfaction and revenue per customer