Achieving Service Level: A checklist for contact center managers

May 30, 2017 by Rija Raharinosy
Achieving Service Level: A checklist for contact center managers

All our contact center customers use Service Level (SL) as the most important Key Performance Indicator. If you are a contact center manager, it is imperative to consistently hit your SL target as it is the key ingredient of your customer experience. It is also good for agent morale and your planning team will likely thank you when you hit your SL targets. Without accurate forecasts, efficient schedules and good adherence tracking, hitting those targets moves further out of reach. And missing your SL target can be painful. It usually translates into expensive penalties for underperformance or worse, high staff turnover.

If you have deployed Office 365, Skype for Business and a native Skype for Business contact center, there are some easy things you can do to help hit those targets:

#1 Do your fixed schedules fit your staffing requirements?
Fixed schedules are great for staff but it could be at the expense of your customer experience. Do you find your agents are always set to be “Busy” on their Skype status around the same times of the day or week? This could be due to the lack of flexibility in their schedules which would allow them to ensure you have enough staff at the right time.

#2 Have you considered the impact of all your channels? What about web chat, emails social media and admin?
With Skype for Business, you can provide a balanced multimedia experience to your customers. However, as much as the technology allows it, it could be a challenge to find the balance. A backlog or queue on one channel can quickly overflow into another and it often leads into a firefighting approach of moving staff between channels on a live basis. Thankfully, our tools allow you to monitor your volumes live and plan which is essential to ensure you are using your resources correctly so that you can see where your staffing shortfalls are.

#3 Check your sources, where is your historical data coming from? Is it accurate?
With Anywhere365 and Skype for Business, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to data sources. Just make sure you are using one that is relevant and accurate. Ensure you have your WFM and Anywhere365 to use similar calculations for KPIs so you need to know which is the most suitable for your contact center. For example, if your target is to answer 80% of your interactions in 20 seconds, your WFM system may exclude calls that abandon on less than 20 seconds from its calculations for service levels and abandoned calls. In this case, you may prefer to use Anywhere365 as the source of your SL as opposed to your WFM tool.

#4 are your targets KPIs relevant?
Does your contact centre work to a service level of 80/20? If so, why? Is this achievable within your current business model or budget? The higher standard you set, the costlier each contact will be. In a tele sales environment, as you review your historical data, you may find that you can achieve the same rate with an average answer speed of 40 seconds, as you would with an SL of 80/20. This may offer you cost savings which would improve your margins and your profitability.

#5 Have you considered opening new channels, channel migration or shifting channels? Are there more efficient ways you can serve some of your contacts?
It is essential you support the right channel for your business type and customer demographic. More channel options for your customers is not always better. For instance, Millennial customers may prefer to use Social Media (Facebook or Twitter) – but the public visibility makes it a riskier option. Being able to respond quickly and resolve a customer complaint and query well on social media can be great PR for your brand but it can also be undone by one bad response. Webchat may be a better option, and queries can be resolved in real-time conversation online and avoid a downfall of emails such as delays from ‘email ping pong’.

#6 Do you customers want to self service and are you giving them enough options?
Self service is a fantastic option if you are looking to reduce costs as you try to meet customer needs. It will prevent unnecessary inbound contacts to your business. Skype for Business and Anywhere 365 will allow you to enhance your existing experience with your customers. Through those tools, you will give your customers more choices and not force them to use alternative solutions. By allowing customers to self-serve, you will decrease your overall volume which will allow you to spend more time talking to customers who opt out and potentially create a better experience that drives customer loyalty.

#7 Have you included extra support staff and enough management in your plan?
Ensuring your agents have sufficient support is just as essential as working your staffing requirements. If agents are unable to get support from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) or escalate calls easily, this will increase their AHT and start taking away the decrease in your forecast accuracy. Skype for Business has built in capabilities which will allow your staff to easily reach a SME and ensure that your agent AHT stays acceptable.

#8 if you current Contact Center solution configuration reflected accurately in your WFM?
Where possible, your call queues and agent skills in your WFO should be a mirror of your ACD configuration. This will improve the quality of staffing requirements as your forecast will match how calls are routed.

Skype for Business and Anywhere365 are two very strong alternatives to any legacy ACD / telephony systems that you can deploy to improve your SL targets. If you are curious how Solulan has helped other companies successfully reach their SL targets using Office 365, Skype for Business and Anwyere365, contact Solulan to setup a quick call and a live demo.

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