Is Your Remote Contact Center Properly Staffed? Learn What Metrics Can Help You Understand Peak Volume

May 19, 2020

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To ensure your remote contact center is able to handle peak volume times, you need to always have the right number of agents ready to answer calls. Adequate staffing is essential for providing callers the best possible customer experience. You also don’t want to make the mistake of overscheduling and wasting resources. So, what metrics should you look at to understand peak call volume?

Why Optimized Staffing Is So Critical for Contact Centers

Staffing for a contact center is different than staffing for other workloads. In a warehouse, retail store, or a restaurant, managers schedule staff around typical work patterns. Generally, there is a sequential movement to the workload. This is the case per day and seasonally.

With a contact center, the workload is often random. It’s based on when a customer decides to call. This is why, in physical call centers, managers aim to have extra agents on hand to absorb the random nature of the workflow.

With a remote team, your contact center has an advantage because you have greater staffing flexibility. Instead of scheduling blocks of work for a traditional workday, such as an eight-hour shift, it’s possible to schedule more remote agents to be on-call during your forecasted peak hours. For example, if you have a peak period in the morning and another in the evening, you can schedule extra agents for these periods and scale back during the rest of the day.

There are also seasonal advanatges to having a remote contact center team. For example, if you run a flower shop you are going to see a spike in orders and calls around the mother’s day and valentine’s day timeframe. Having a remote workforce gives you the ability to have staff who can work from anywhere, meaning you can very quickly address those peaks without disappointing your customers when they need your service the most.

The key to effective contact center management is to then closely monitor the right metrics for understanding peak volume times.

3 Peak Volume Metrics to Track

To gain the clarity you need surrounding call volume, these are the metrics you’ll want to watch.

Number of Calls

The first metric is the number of calls or the call volume. You’ll want to track how many calls come in for each 30-minute or one-hour period, every day. As contact center call volume can fluctuate a lot, it’s important to look at historical data too and compare it to your current and recent data. This is how you can watch for larger trends in call volume.

For example, you can look at the number of calls per hour for May for the past two years to help identify when peak volume may happen in May of this year. Then you can also look at your call volume data over the past couple of months, March and April. Next, assess how this metric has changed when compared to the average for March and April for the past two years to see if you should be ready for similar changes in May of this year.

Average Time for a Call in Queue

This is an important metric for assessing peak times, as well as the overall caller experience. Looking at the average time in queue can shed light on when agents struggle to keep up with higher call volumes and when callers are stuck waiting for an agent.

If your contact center software doesn’t show this metric on your dashboard, you can still find it manually. Divide the total time callers wait in queue for a set period by the total number of calls answered. When you find trends with this metric, you’ll gain more insight into when peak volume times are and where staffing adjustments may help you to better manage the contact center.

Average Handle Time

Another important metric to track is the average handle time or AHT. When deciding how many agents you should have on for each hour block, you need to know how much time agents typically spend on a call. Then you can look at your expected call volume and schedule your remote staff accordingly.

What Reporting Features Should Your Contact Center Software Have?

When managing a remote contact center, you’ll need a lot of easy-to-digest reporting to help you understand call volume, caller experience, and agent performance. Make sure your contact center software offers an insightful dashboard showing real-time metrics and detailed analysis.

You’ll want to be able to see detailed queue statistics and agent performance metrics, such as talk time intervals, first call resolution, and daily transfers. To get a wider view, you’ll also want tracking reports for agent and queue performance per day, week, month, and year, as well as department reports. Ideally, your contact center software solution offers high-level features such as custom reporting and a real-time dashboard. The more insight you have, the more you’ll be able to make impactful management decisions.

Josh Bryden

Josh Bryden is Director of Technical Support Operations at Intermedia

May 19, 2020

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