Three Common Operating Mistakes in a Catalog Contact Center
During a 500-call hour a call center will be able to achieve significantly higher productivity than in a 100-call hour (i.e., 13 percent greater at a 50-percent service level, and 28 percent greater at an 80-percent service level). Basically, the larger the center, the more productive the reps.
The chart also highlights the cost of good service versus bad with an 80-percent service level costing about 8 percent to 22 percent more to staff (depending on the call volume) than a 50-percent service level.
How to avoid this: The right way to calculate staffing is to use a metric such as average speed of answer or service level, in conjunction with a statistical traffic model, such as Erlang C, which takes into account call volume fluctuations when calculating appropriate staffing levels.
Although this type of staffing calculation may appear complex at first, it can be accomplished fairly easily and inexpensively through the use of contact center workforce management software that is commonly available on today’s market.
Mistake No. 3: Maintaining a Permanent, Full-time Contact Center Workforce
Even given accurate call and staffing forecasts, some contact centers still are unable to operate cost effectively. The primary reason? Their workforces are comprised of permanent, full-time reps. As a result, catalogers have a tough time adjusting to the fluctuating call volumes throughout the day and week.
How to avoid this: Well-run companies often maintain a permanent flex-time contact center staff by hiring individuals willing to work four- to six-hour shifts, three to five days a week. The company guarantees this flex staff a minimum number of hours each week (e.g., 20 to 24 hours) and gives the staffers the flexibility to choose their hours from an inventory of available hours. In turn, they require the flex staff to expand their hours during periods of peak activity.