Many small and midsized contact centers still rely on Excel for daily forecasting and scheduling instead of workforce management software.
The question is why? Do they really just love spreadsheets that much? Or have they grown so accustomed to this system that they no longer realize there is a better way?
Excel was a time-saver – once. Today, it’s an imperfect system that is likely costing your call center money. How?
Two of the key drivers for cost savings are schedule adherence and optimization of daily agent rituals like breaks and lunches. Excel spreadsheets are extremely limited in the impact they can have on these crucial challenges.
With spreadsheets only limited spot-checking is possible. Without real-time adherence, shrinking will increase, and shifts are more likely to be over-staffed or under-staffed. When that happens resources are wasted and service levels are missed. But where Excel falls short, workforce management delivers real time adherence and monitoring. Result? Consistent, accurate service levels, and shrinkage cut by as much as 15 minutes per agent day.
The scheduling of lunches and breaks, and how well agents adhere to these schedules, can have a tremendous impact on ROI. At most call centers shrinkage rates can be greatly reduced with an effective WFM solution, depending on the size of the business. And when shrinkage rates fall, productivity and profits increase.
The More Agents You Have, the More You Save
While Excel is more commonly found in smaller call centers, we’ve also discovered that many of those with 100 agents or more are also using spreadsheets. Here, the inefficiencies of the system are multiplied, resulting in much lower customer service and higher costs.
When an increase as low as 1% in productivity can significantly impact the call center budget, it is imperative to identify areas where efficiency can be improved.
One of these areas is flexibility – the limitations of Excel result in fixed schedules that can produce higher shrinkage and overstaffing. But with WFM it is easier to manage start times, end times and breaks with an ease of flexibility that dramatically improves service levels.
Managers can also consult more detailed and accurate call histories with WFM, resulting in better forecasts.
Scheduling? Also much faster. Some managers can save as much as 25% of the time once devoted to filling in spreadsheets – time that can now be used for additional agent training or to attend to other matters.
Still love Excel? Perhaps it’s time to look for a new relationship.