Recent Study Reveals: Contact Centres Disregard Scheduling of Multimedia Work

The recent major study “The UK Contact Centre Operational Review” (5th edition, 2007) of over 200 contact centres carried out by ContactBabel, has found that only 29 percent of operations use workforce management solutions to manage their multimedia tasks.

Findings within the “Information and Planning” chapter of the report, sponsored by Invision Software, show that while the majority of contact centres use workforce management solutions to measure adherence to schedules, and to run ‘what-if’ scenarios, few are currently using it to forecast and schedule multimedia work, such as answering emails and engaging in text chat. Neglecting to do so means that multimedia channels are left to look after themselves, creating a disappointing customer experience and poor service levels, with 59 percent of emails taking more than one working day to answer. Almost one-third of UK contact centre agents deal with both email and telephone calls in their daily work, yet the majority do not have specific time allocated to handle their multimedia workload.

The report’s author, Steve Morrell, comments: “One of the reasons that the proportion of multimedia interactions has hardly risen in the past five years is underinvestment in technology to route and handle such requests. However, another major inhibitor to multimedia take-up is that most contact centres are not giving their agents sufficient time to deal with non-telephony work. The result is that emails are being ignored or answered too late, with these disappointed customers either ringing the contact centre with their request or going elsewhere entirely with their business. Contact centres should be forecasting their multimedia workload and scheduling agent time accordingly, otherwise they might as well not bother offering an alternate channel to traditional telephony.”

InVision Enterprise WFM (iWFM) offers easy-to-use scheduling for multi-skill, multi-media contact centres. To enable truly demand-oriented planning, iWFM takes into account the skill-sets of individual employees and the pooling efficiencies offered by multi-skilling. It is also able to take into account peaks and troughs in inbound ‘abandoning’ contacts such as telephone calls and optimally schedule blocks of time for agents to be devoted to non-abandoning contacts such as email or back office work. All of this is achieved with a fraction of the setup time and a fraction of the run-time of earlier workforce management systems. This unique optimisation process is based on a patent pending technology developed by InVision Software.

About “The UK Contact Centre Operational Review” (5th edition, 2007):
The 270-page online or paper report looks in depth at salaries, attrition, training, multimedia, IP, self-service, strategies, outsourcing, planning and many other elements that are key to understanding how contact centres can best be run. Displayed in over 200 data tables, the results have been segmented by industry sector and contact centre size, so that readers can compare their own operations with those that are most similar. The free Executive Summary and more details of the full report can be downloaded from www.contactbabel.com.