Organisations missing out on benefits delivered by automation and integration with enterprise systems
Birmingham, 29 November 2016. Silver Lining Solutions will today launch the findings of its global research survey into the management of ‘offline’ activities in the contact centre at The Forum’s annual Planning Conference in Nottingham.
While it would appear that a variety of systems are being used to schedule offline activities for a wide range of different job roles, the survey reveals that scheduling might be being left behind in how it is being integrated with other increasingly popular and effective measures.
Only a third of respondents can currently schedule based on event triggers from other systems such as Voice of the Customer or Speech Analytics. This apparent lack of integration is supported by the continued use of standalone tools such as Excel and Outlook alongside WFM systems for planning, communicating and monitoring offline activities.
83.9% reported a need to ramp up resources (and hence greater resultant scheduling activity) in response to seasonal, competitive or regulatory imperatives. These external requirements, especially regulatory directives, often require activities to be recorded, with about half of those polled reporting this as a requirement, and 59.8% of respondents reporting that they need to both ensure offline activities are either completed or rescheduled.
Unsurprisingly, a combination of increased demand and disconnected systems means increased stress on the planning resource with a quarter of our sample reporting a requirement to schedule more than 500 offline activities per week, with 10% reporting more than 1000, and some of those more than 3,000. As a result, the amount of time dedicated to this is correspondingly large with 42% of respondents spending at least one day per week (20% of their time) solely on this activity: 4.4% spent more than half their time planning and scheduling offline activities.
Last but not least, nearly 80% of the sample stated that they would like to free up resource planning time to focus on more strategic activities.
“While the rewards of ‘online’ WFM automation are, by and large, proven and recognised across the industry, it would appear that the management of ‘offline’ activities is not achieving a similar degree of automation, and associated benefit,” comments Phil Andersen from specialist membership organisation, The Forum.
Amanda Westwood, CEO of Silver Lining Solutions comments, “Organisations that do not optimise the management of ‘offline’ activities are missing a trick. Automation delivers significant cost efficiencies and frees up management time to focus on more strategic activities, while greater integration can enable outcome-based metrics that are very effective to target employee optimisation activities. Scheduling based on these metrics would allow improvements to be focused and specific rather than generic and therefore, potentially, unnecessary.”
[The survey’s 103 respondents were split just about 60/40 in favour of EMEA vs the Americas, with a very small number of responses coming from the Asia Pacific region. Download the report.]