BT Retail

Improving agent performance - efficiently and cost-effectively

BT's contact centres are busy 24 x 7 operations. Every day, BT Retail uses Planner from Silver Lining Solutions to schedule training and meetings for up to 8,000 agents and 570 managers. Over the past 12 months, this equates to 16,000 classroom sessions, 60,000 classroom based trainings, 96,000 '1-2-1s', 6,857 team meetings and 59,248 Team huddles - and all this across multiple sites!

"BT Retail's primary driver has always been to provide good, consistent service to its customer base. But, to do this, the right agents - armed with the right skills and knowledge - must be in the right place at the right time," explains Dave Hill, Head of Planning, BT Retail.

Dave Hill works in a dynamic environment. Responsible for scheduling agent resource across BT Retail's contact centres to serve one of the UK's largest customer bases, Dave has a significant - and important - task on his hands.

"First of all, BT Retail is very innovative which means that we frequently bring new products and tariffs to market. Secondly, today's market is highly competitive and social media, review sites, online communities and price comparisons mean that customers are often more informed than the agents that are serving them - yet quite rightly still expect consistent and high levels of service. Last but not least, strong customer services skills are needed to earn and maintain customer trust and satisfaction," continues Dave.

To achieve its customer service ambitions, BT Retail decided to revamp its entire workforce management infrastructure and began to look at workforce optimisation technologies that would forecast customer demand and schedule agent resource, and, crucially, enable agent skill and knowledge optimisation cost-effectively.

Improving customer service whilst driving down cost After a robust procurement process, BT Retail selected Genesys for its workforce management platform. To meet BT Retail's training, coaching and '1-2-1' scheduling requirements, Genesys introduced specialist employee performance optimisation partner Silver Lining Solutions.

Working with Silver Lining Solutions is a complete breath of fresh air. In the midst of a massive software deployment, the team quickly got to grips with the task in hand and installed, configured and launched their unique training and meeting planning software quickly and efficiently. Although the speed of implementation was challenging, things went very smoothly indeed.

Dave Hill, Head of Planning, BT Retail

Planner integrates with Genesys' workforce management solution and plans, schedules and manages complex training programmes, coaching and one-to-ones for even the largest workforces. Target service levels and agent, trainer and training room availability are blended to deliver optimal training schedules that have no impact on service levels, yet reduce the staffing costs required to meet them. 'No shows' are quickly identified and re-scheduled. You can see in real time which training initiatives are on track and delivering ROI. "We can select, quickly and easily, which individuals or groups need to be trained, what training is required, how the training needs to be delivered, by whom and by when, which is saving us significant time and money. The software comes with a web portal that allows employees to view their individual training roadmap and see why, when and where their training is taking place and trainers can view and manage their own training schedule and confirm employee attendance at their training courses. This functionality has been really well received by all our staff as it gives them ownership of their development, making them feel better prepared and more engaged," says Dave.

Rapid and compelling ROI

In just over twelve months, BT realised the following benefits:

  • Significant reduction in forecasting and scheduling headcount
  • Significant scheduling efficiency gains including:
  • A change in classroom scheduling time for 3,000 agents from a manual iterative process carried out over a 3 week period to a automated scheduling run taking 25 minutes
  • Reduction in e-Learning scheduling time for 600 agents from > 7 hours to < 1 hour
  • Scheduling coaching, team meetings and '1-2-1s' in Planner has moved from a manually intensive process impacted by variable attendance patterns to a fully automated, bespoke allocation feeing managers to focus on service levels and supporting front line staff
  • Enabled, engaged front line teams

"Silver Lining Solutions helped us realise considerable and tangible benefits extremely quickly - in short, they have put us in control. Their software and expertise has delivered massive efficiency gains by automating an intensely manual process which, in turn, cut out substantial overheads. In terms of Silver Lining Solutions' working style, I'd sum it up with 3 words: focused, passionate and efficient," concludes Dave.

Silver Lining Solutions and BT Retail have a strong partnership and work together on an ongoing basis to improve performance and reduce costs. Future initiatives under consideration include the correlation of business outcomes with agent competencies to both identify specific training requirements and inform intelligent call routing. "Understanding which training courses deliver ROI and what training is really required for individual agents - a source of dramatic cost saving - is within our reach. Combine this with a genuine ability to route customers to the best possible available agent and we're talking genuine transformational capability which will benefit customers, agents and BT Retail's bottom line," concludes Dave.