The Contact Center is a key component of a financial services firm's customer service effort, and is often the primary point of customer contact through which the service offering is defined. Contact Centers tend to be highly automated and rely on various commercially available software packages to determine staffing requirements and scheduling. While these tools are vital, the technology represents only one component of the optimization effort.
Most Contact Centers use skill based routing, which consists of programming the telephone system to automatically route calls to the most qualified, available agent. It is immediately obvious that the more highly skilled agents available, the lower the labor cost component of the Call Center will be (if a call requires a certain skill, the client must wait if there are no agents available with that skill, and the client has no relief from the waiting if there are other agents free who do not have that skill). What is not so obvious is that the incorrect balancing of training cost (for more skills) against the better call distribution (requiring lower number of agents) may actually increase the overall Contact Center cost.
The analysis of call duration and the evaluation the call content offer significant labor savings opportunities. Shortening the call time (by bringing the proper tools to the agent’s workstation or re-engineering the call process) decreases call times. The benefits gained are disproportionate to the call time reduction. For example, shortening the call time by 10% may remove 15%-25% of the labor hours from the servicing effort. Increasing the first call resolution (solving the issue while the client is on the telephone, obviates the need for call transfer or follow-up) also yields significant savings. Dealing with the sources of the call (source cause analysis) could eliminate the call entirely.
LoBue has had a number of consulting assignments involved in the planning, optimizing, merging and / or relocating of Contact Centers. One major assignment involved a large US Regional financial institution planning to optimize and merge three large Card Serving Contact Centers . LoBue analyzed the various transaction types, re-engineered the key processes and shortened average call times by 5% - 20%. To support the optimization effort, automated solutions were designed and implemented, which included several skill based staffing simulation models. The bottom line included the reduction of Center staff by 28% and the operating cost by 19%.