Unavailability is a Contact Center Reality, but ACD Software Can Help
June 12, 2012
“What is a top area of operational optimization that you would recommend we start with in order to get the maximum value for our efforts?” is a question that inContact’s Lane Wineward gets a lot. Like most good business formulas, Lane’s top optimization technique is simple, direct, and associated with long-standing best practices including the use of Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) software.
“We all battle it, work around it and try to eliminate it with a dire vengeance, and sometimes (hopefully most of the time) we try to correctly manage it; what I am talking about is the bane of all call centers: Agent Unavailability,” he explained in a recent inContact blog post.
Contact centers hire agents with the idea of having them handle client interactions for the shift they are assigned, but in an eight hour day an agent might just handle interactions for only five and a half hours or less.
“I have been in contact centers where agents only handled contacts solidly for just over three hours a day out of an eight hour span. When you do the math on this, the numbers are shocking,” he said. “For every hundred agents who are not able to take calls for two hours out of an eight hour day, we end up missing out on 200 hours per day of productivity, and that translates into 1,000 hours per five day work week.”
Additionally, during the 1000 hours you could potentially be losing the cost of payroll to keep them working as well as be losing revenue brought in by purchases that would have been made through the agents.
Unavailability is a reality that contact centers have to deal with regularly. All ACD software Wineward has ever used has had the built-in ability to track unavailability. Also, all reporting tools offered along with ACD systems have a capacity to report on agent unavailability. Well over 85 percent of the contact center managers Wineward has consulted with have confessed to a minimal understanding of proper methods to manage unavailability into a profitable state.
There are Basic Six Sigma principles point to the fact that “Whatever we cannot accurately manage, we cannot change,” according to Wineward. In order to increase agent availability (and by definition, agent profitability) we have to learn to accurately define the correct agent states to use, properly implement unavailable code policy, and optimize tracking and managing of unavailable codes.
Edited by Rich Steeves
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