While the “call center” designation is likely to stick around for a
while, agent interaction via telephone is now just one component of
customer communication. Today, the public may reach out via email,
online chat or social media. All of these additional channels are
ultimately beneficial, but many call centers are just beginning to grasp
the impact they will have - from a customer engagement perspective, but
also from a workforce management perspective.
exchanges of information, whether via email or text chat, have become
commonplace. However, these channels work best with simple questions and
conflict resolutions where a few sentences from both participants will
suffice. Once the point has been reached where the number of exchanged
messages tops 5-10, it might be advisable to switch to a telephone
With online chat, it may take longer to complete a
customer interaction, simply because it takes longer to type a message
than to say it. However, online chat agents can manage up to five
sessions simultaneously, which will impact productivity and scheduling.
If five proves too many (measure response times to each customer to
determine this), three ongoing sessions might be a more practical limit.
When it comes to workforce management scheduling, you will want
chat agents with proven written skills. While the Internet has done no
shortage of damage to the disciplines of spelling, grammar and
punctuation, it is vital that any written communication from your
company to customers is free of such errors.
Facebook page and a Twitter account are great ways for companies to
announce new products and specials and exchange ideas with customers.
They are less effective for such traditional call center functions as
handling orders and returns or resolving disputes. However, this too is
If the call center is to take the lead on
establishing and maintaining a company’s social media presence, adequate
resources must be made available to do so, to make certain pages are
updated, questions are answered, and ongoing communications are having a
positive impact on branding and customer loyalty.
with creating and scheduling a social media team based on experience and
training. Agents should not just be familiar with these outlets, but be
well versed on the company’s social media strategy and best practices.
as with email and online chat, choose agents and experts with written
communication skills, and when a problem arises try to route that
customer back to a call-in situation where it might be easier to resolve
the situation verbally.
Each of these new communication channels should get included into your overall forecasting, scheduling and staffing planning process.