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Workforce Optimization in a Hybrid Contact Center

  • Sweta Chakraborty
  • 02 March 2022

https://www.c-zentrix.com/blog/workforce-optimization-in-hybrid-contact-center

Workforce Optimization in a Hybrid Contact Center

Remote working has brought to light some supervisory challenges. With reduced visibility, especially for remote teams, certain tasks were getting hampered. It is important to increase workforce efficiency through optimization, to ensure increased visibility and communication. 
The time is right to have this discussion, as it seems that remote working is here to stay. 

Every new variant wave of the coronavirus is a reminder of why we need to work remotely. We must keep our employees safe to nurture the company’s health as well. It has become the season to opt for a cloud solution and invest in digital technology. In this entire rush, let's not forget about workforce management tools that can ensure a smooth-running during a hybrid setup.

Remote working or hybrid contact centers are a success only when they are aided with the right tools. To ensure adequate staffing, fewer performance issues, and improved communication, it is advisable to look into workforce management tools.  

Content:

What is Workforce Optimization?

What is the Impact of a Hybrid Contact Center on Workforce Management?

Conclusion

 

What is Workforce Optimization?

Workforce Optimization means managing the agent performance in a contact center to ensure that no customer ticket goes unread. In other words, operations must run smoothly. This is done via workforce optimization. 

What is the Impact of a Hybrid Contact Center on Workforce Management?

It is difficult to keep a track of what’s happening when working from a hybrid setup. Some days you are in the office with them, whereas other team members are working from home. It becomes harder to track, how many people are available, how adequately staffed you are, and more. Break times, login, and logout, all these time-related details become more important. The lack of visibility is a price we have to pay for the pandemic, but it doesn’t have to be a tough deal. With workforce optimization, you can predict your staffing needs, allocate agents flexibly and not lose sight of the progress. 

Furthermore, in a hybrid contact center, there is a constant switch between on-site and remote teams. This may lead to confusion on the grassroots level. Managers might struggle to coach, monitor or even track day-to-day performance. This doesn’t diminish the fact that working-from-home has witnessed a huge surge in employee gratification and productivity. However, some roadblocks do exist like managing an on-site and remote team at once. Especially when you are in a customer-facing role, your team must always be customer-ready, despite their site of work. 

A hybrid contact center has reduced a lot of operational costs. With lesser employees showing up to work, companies are saving up on a lot of infrastructural costs, without losing the quality of work. But to achieve complete authority over this new working model, a smart interplay of technology and management is required. 
 

1. Nurturing Trust and Communication In A Hybrid Model:

Employees are always accountable for their own productivity. While employee satisfaction and productivity have been positive during remote work, it is imperative to maintain or increase their productivity. To achieve this, streamlined communication, easy-flow-of instruction, and some amount of managerial control are necessary. This can be brought to practice in two ways:

  1. Using the right tools to eradicate friction between teams and employees.
  2. Nurturing a mindset of trust and communication, where employees feel responsible for each other and not just themselves.

When it comes to tools, it is obvious that the purpose is to unify your teams.  So, there are no silos of isolated information. A singular, omnichannel dashboard for your agents to collaborate, work and inform each other is ideal. A flexible application that will always show your status of work to inform your team is necessary for your senior management. A two-way communication stream, with features to enable easier working is the idea. 

While communication and trust are built, that shouldn’t be always the purpose. Your employees are humans who despite their circumstances, still belong to the community of your organization. It is important to engage them casually, especially the ones working from home to make everyone included and connected. In fact, instead of starting every day with chaotic meetings, engage in a light-hearted chit-chat and update on everyone’s life. Let’s be honest, nobody works for 9 hours straight. You can spare half an hour if it improves the work environment. 


2. Automate, Where Needed To Build A Better Ecosystem:

Processes tend to get knotted when working from different sites. In fact, a discussion taking place on-site, if not conveyed to the remote team, it will create differences. But it is not humanely possible to maintain productivity and relay every minute of information constantly across the teams. This is where automating your workflow and leveraging a cloud solution really helps. 

A good cloud-solution system will make a hybrid workspace sustain all climates. It will regulate information in real-time, and enable complete accessibility of data across any channel. It will allow you to automate tasks which create friction in the work, such as working on the same ticket or following up with the same client and more. When these tasks get automated, every employee can spend their time and efforts on better tasks that yield better results. 

 

3. Using Workforce Management Tools For Staffing Purpose:

A manager has to look after the agents working remotely as well as on-site. The manager needs to make sure that he is staffed appropriately on both sites with no setbacks. WFM tools will help your managers predict how many agents are required to manage the daily volume of calls. It can help you plan shift timings and availability based on the agent’s schedule and skill set. It gives you complete control over how you expect your daily operation to be. This way, you can even offer flexible timings to your agents and boost productivity.

 

4. Build For Growth, Scale For The Future:

As a remote employee myself in a city far away from home, I often felt disconnected. On top of that, I was a new joiner. I barely met everyone from the office, before the city went into lockdown. It obviously made me feel isolated from the remaining team who was well-acquainted with each other. While it did not impact my work, the morale was always low. This is a common feeling that hybrid teams might experience as well. With distance, comes the need to be seen. To ensure that you are building for growth and scaling for the future, it is important to nourish your team.

Nourishing your team means, acknowledging them, building relationships with them, offering a personal touch in every employee interaction, and lastly incentivizing their performance. For example, when I was facing a crisis during a lockdown, my manager ensured regular communication and acknowledgment of good work. It made me feel appreciated and connected. Small initiatives can go a long way.

When building relationships with employees, maintain transparency, and offer them the room to speak. Everybody wants to grow in an organization. When nurtured right, agents will develop a growth mindset be it at home or on-site. It is a manager’s duty to inspire and engage the employees for better, by building trust, accountability and excellence.

 

Conclusion

Businesses shouldn’t shy away from remote working or hybrid contact center setup. It is becoming a more normal practice than working from onean office. To facilitate this process, investing in digital technology and workforce management tools is important. It makes remote coaching, monitoring and tracking much easier. All this will keep your operations running without any setback. 

 



Author Bio:  Sweta is a passionate technical writer with experience in digital marketing. Outside work, she is a devoted Esports advocate.



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