Prevent Fires with a Real-Time Frontline

What’s the difference between tactics and strategy?

Strategy is what you are trying to accomplish, where tactics answer the question of how you will accomplish it. Look at it this way: strategy is doing the right things. Tactics are doing things right.

For most Real Time Analysts in today’s contact centers, every day is like fighting a fire.

RTAs are dealt the hand they have to play, but the game keeps changing – every minute.

They have a fixed set of assets to work with (agents), coupled with variable customer demand and volume. Even if the forecast that was done in the past is relatively accurate and the schedules were optimized, life happens.

Volumes ebb and flow during the day with peaks and valleys and agents who were scheduled don’t show or are absent. As a result, the RTA has to make tactical decisions around who should go to break and lunch and when – and who should be trained and coached when, if at all – so that they can accomplish service level and quality goals.

The scenario is all too familiar: Four agents call in sick and three others don’t show. Now you’re understaffed by seven agents and call volume is up 10%. You are cancelling training and coaching, asking for OT, and frantically moving breaks and lunches around.

All of these are tactical decisions that are made manually and done in reactionary mode.

The good news is that tools like intraday automation can change all of this, creating real-time frontlines and making the role of the RTA more strategic.

Most, if not all, of the tactical decisions RTAs must make can be recognized through a rules-based engine and automated to create a real-time frontline.

For example, with intraday automation, agent time is automatically matched to volumes. Based on custom business rules, training, coaching, breaks and lunches are automatically moved and OT requests are sent to agents through e-mail and text message.

Even better, all of the changes are automatically updated to WFM schedules.

This is a game-changer for the RTA. Eliminating the manual, stressful tasks RTAs are faced with every day frees them up to become more strategic, planning for the rest of the day and the impact of today on tomorrow.

Rather than managing today’s fires, they can instead look over longer horizons like tomorrow, next week, the rest of the month, next month and next quarter to plan so that future fires don’t start.

And if they do start, they are able to take the long view and may choose not to fight the fire at all, but to instead let it burn itself out.

About the author

Bob Fletcher

Bob leads the sales and solution delivery initiatives for Intradiem’s global business process outsourcing (BPO) clients, helping to transform their business models and drive profitability via Intraday Automation. He brings a wealth of operations, management and consulting acumen to the BPO practice, having delivered guidance to more than 1,000 call centers and trained over 5,000 managers and supervisors worldwide. Bob's experience includes executive management of Arvato's customer service operations and as executive vice president for Deutsche Telekom. Bob has also served in critical management roles in engagements with leading companies such as T-Mobile, Verizon, Pitney Bowes, TeleDenmark, Gateway of Dublin, DecisionOne, Delta Dental, Wells Fargo and Cox Communications.

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