A few weeks ago, I blogged about Workforce Planning in Back Office and branches and mentioned that I would be interviewing a number of people who have moved to Workforce Planning roles outside the contact centre. I have since been talking to a number of people from insurance, banking and government organisations and the below information is a summary of our discussions.
Operational efficiency has become increasingly important particularly in today’s unstable economic climate and so it is that Workforce Management and the drive to improve efficiency and performance has become an enterprise wide initiative.
One of the key differences however, for the Workforce Planners who have moved to these areas is the availability of data. In the majority of contact centres the technology to record and report on the number of contacts, average handle time and performance from individual to aggregate levels is readily available and in most cases has already been deployed. Elsewhere in the organisation this is rarely the case and many organisations are still getting this information through time in motion studies. A significant investment in technology is thus required in order to automate data collection however the ROI is significant and may be worth it.
In contact centres, forecasting is typically done at a 15 or 30 minute interval basis however outside the contact centre this level of granularity does not appear to be as necessary at the moment and many areas are beginning their forecasting on an hourly basis. This may also be due to the longer service delays and backlog that typically apply to back office processes.
Culture is another area that is significantly different. The ability to forecast workload, measure and monitor staff in contact centres has been available for many years however this capability is still met with resistance in other areas of the business so a shift in culture is also a necessity.