WorkForce Management applications are useful tools not only for scheduling inbound operations in contact center, but also for telesales and telemarketing planning and management. Do we use the same algorithms to inbound and outbound? Advanced WFM systems, as offered by Comtrust, use different parameters for handling inbound and outbound contacts. What are the parameters and why they are different – we explain in this brief guide below.
Investment in WFM for telesales and telemarketing organization is recommended due to the increasingly difficult business environment. Operating costs are rising and profitability is lower – that’s why there is huge pressure on managers to cut costs and generate more sales at the same time. Managers have to provide the same, even higher level of service, with less employment. Economy and efficiency are more and more important so call center companies invest in advanced management tools. Important is that the call center industry’s revenues is falling due to cuts in marketing budgets, customer migrations from one company to others, extending payment terms, unpaid bills, legal restrictions, etc.
The role of WFM is to help companies to exist in this increasingly challenging environment, thanks to optimization of supply and demand and reduction in fixed costs. Using WFM call center managers are able to offer services which meet customer needs and SLA (Service Level Agreement) – they have right people with right skills, at the right time. WFM tools are used to balance supply and demand and to optimize costs. Investment in WFM is to provide the best service with optimal agents number, regardless the changes in calls/contacts intensity.
To sale or take care of SLA?
Outbound WFM algorithms are more complicated than inbound one. This is mainly due to the different needs of outbound campaigns, where productivity and efficiency are more important than providing a high level of service. Outbound organizations in contrast to hotlines do not focus on average call-answered-speed or response time. Why? Typical outbound organizations are highly specialized, implement campaigns focused on results. Telemarketing and telesales have completely different requirements and indicators than hotline has, for example: closed sales, effective debt collection, reaching the widest possible people number, etc. The agent’s objective is a specific outcome not SLA. Therefore, traditional algorithms used for inbound contacts can’t be used for outbound traffic planning.
New WFM outbound algorithms
When planning outbound campaigns main goal is to have competent agents ready to work. Then the chance to achieve concrete results is the highest (high rate of RPC – Right Party Connects). WFM tools suggest managers the optimal way of scheduling agents – to get their effectiveness and work efficiency. It improves the performance and reduce the overall business costs. Outbound campaigns are precision and more effective, resulting in better reaching customers, increase in sales or debt collections.
“Our WFM goes one step further – says Joanna Pytlakowska, Sales and Marketing Director in Comtrust. It not only adjusts the schedule agents to the most optimal hours from the database point of view but also provides tools for score-oriented-planning. What is very important for managers – the system introduces the new indicator for outbound traffic planning: business results.” After WFM and contact center integration there is a special platform created that allows you to associate business results with every outgoing call. WFM evaluate RPC (Right Party Connects) and creates business results BOPC (Business Outcome Party Connects). It allows you to plan appropriate agents in relation to results. For example, in telesales you can have a good ratio of reaching customers from the database (high RPC), but poor sales performance (low BOPC). In this case, the system analyzes other factors which affect the final result of the campaign, for example this may be the time of day. This means that better is to rely on BOPC forecasts and graphics than RPC indicators.
Wrong scenarios, expensive blending and other challenges
WFM can generate not only the best scenarios (based on RPC and BOPC), but also wrong cases (WPC – Wrong Party Connect). Managers can compare different hypothetical scenarios (good/bad) and study how potential errors may influence the final result. This helps not only to schedule but also to optimize the whole call center operations. In this way, companies get better results with the same fixed costs, because the team intensifies work when RPC and BOPC indicators are the highest.
And what happens with blending? “In contact center systems incoming calls are with higher priority – continues Joanna Pytlakowska, Comtrust. For example, SAP Contact Center after exceeding certain numbers on hotline automatically pauses agents in outbound campaigns, to the support hotline in unloading queues. When the amount of incoming contacts returns to standard levels, agents automatically comeback to outbound campaigns. Blending, although its many advantages, carries a higher risk of excessive employment. For those organizations WFM can offer the greatest savings. “