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Is your contact center business showing a drip? Are customer complaints increasing every day? Or the number of calls on hold is growing like never before? It can be an aftereffect of enormous call volumes, office politics, organizational policy or manager’s behavior, etc.
It is an unsaid truth that contact centers come with immense pressure on agents and supervisors. Subsequently, employees are often seen missing out from the office, coming late to the office, not attending team meetings and more. This situation is popularly known as shrinkage. Let’s try to understand more about this condition and how to get the business back on track.
Shrinkage is the fundamental factor of resource planning. It considers or calculates the paid time or work time when agents are not available to take calls even when present in the office. And, the reasons for this can be numerous, broadly categorized internal and external.
Internal shrinkage – It generally occurs when the agents are engaged in not so important tasks. These aren’t a part of the work routine that’s included in the monthly plan. Including training, team meeting, call wrap-ups, breaks, etc. These can be planed judiciously and pulled out of the routine timelines so that the agent skill set can be used to the fullest. They can be further engaged in other projects or tasks.
External shrinkage – A situation is termed as external shrinkage when the agent is not present at the desk or in the contact center. Sick leaves and vacations being the major ones. But late in and early out get hard to deal with for an organization.
External and internal shrinkage factors can be further classified into planned or unplanned. Such as training, public holidays, team meetings, etc. Whereas, system downtime, sickness, lateness are termed under the unplanned shrinkages.
You would never want your business to face a dip in revenue. So, it is essential to monitor and control shrinkage. It further helps you get the planned/scheduled activities set accordingly. Else, shrinkage can leave a severe impact on the operational cost.
Here are some contact center shrinkage management rules-
1. Understand shrinkage – Categorize the in-office/planned and out-of-office/unplanned shrinkage elements. The former includes training and meetings whereas the latter includes vacation or absenteeism. This helps analyze where more agents are being involved. Further, based on this data, improve or plan the actionable.
2. Adherence to schedule – You need to put in place a schedule for your agents that helps you track their in-time, out-time, breaks, targets achieved in a day and so on. Here agents should be able to mention the time spent in activities other than work. These time logs help you calculate shrinkage and identify the unnecessary activities that take up the time. Now, you can know the employees who are the major cause behind the increasing shrinkage.
3. Monitor attendance – Lateness and absenteeism is a serious issue, especially if becoming a habit. This could be because of the work pressure, behavior, no consideration and more. To save your contact center from a decrease in efficiency and lowered productivity, there need to be some immediate steps implemented on engagement.
4. Keep agents engaged – You cannot load the agents with more and more work to keep them seated at the desk. This might even increase your call center shrinkage. So, keep them motivated and inspired for consistent working. A clear view of personal and professional growth opportunities for individuals will keep them more engaged in work. Instead of setting sole responsibilities, focus on creating team tasks that give agents space for socializing without effecting the work output.
5. Reward the performers – Just regular appraisals* are not enough. There needs to be some motivation for the agents putting the extra bit of effort into your business growth. The best performers should be rewarded for their achievements. From monetary incentives to coupons, anything can be a delight for them.
6. Supervise agent performance – Timely monitor agent performance via supervisor desktops to analyze the amount of pressure on every agent. This will help in balancing the workload and save agents from getting stressed that further effects performance and increases shrinkage. Also, the underutilized agents can be identified who are majorly involved in taking planned/scheduled shrinkage.
7. Forecast and prepare – Unscheduled events are not in our control, but by observing the trends, you can decide on the hiring to save existing agents from sitting idle or working under immense seasonal pressure. Trends can include seasonal highs, business insights, real-time scenarios, etc. Such activities can be part of capacity planning or real-time adjustments. This forecasting is best done with workforce management software.
8. Be transparent – As a part of workforce management (WFM), keep the discussion related to shrinkage transparent with the employees. You can have a healthy competition where teams can be compared on the grounds of better performance with lowered contact center shrinkage. Such feedbacks grow positive adjustments and performance of agents.
9. Improve presentation – Make use of contact center wallboards to inform the teams about each other’s performance. Make sure you don’t round off the small decimals as it can be a huge differentiator among agents. This can be a big motivation for the masses who are putting in the extra effort to make your business grow really big and the ones who were ignoring it.
10. Don’t assume – Tracking tools such as Supervisor Desktop or WFM software can help you get the correct numbers for shrinkage. It saves you from assuming a condition for all agents. The individual analysis helps to define a plan to reduce shrinkage for every agent resulting in higher productivity.
11. Try variations – Different contact center businesses or even departments have varied reasons for shrinkage. Don’t mistake to stick to the one-size-fits-all concept. Try different ways to deal with people since everyone carrier a unique mindset that needs to be molded at times.
To wrap up, managing and monitoring the workforce is an imperative need of every contact center. This helps the business to get the best from all its agents with optimum utilization of their skill set. There are various contact center software such as Unified Agent Desktops, agent scripting tool that help keep the agents motivated by easing their everyday work and fix issues of call center shrinkage.
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