Implementing planning software to control costs

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Ellie Short , Design

With a less certain economic outlook and companies switching their focus to profitability and cost control, now is the best time to get planning software in place.

Managing a customer service team in the most efficient way possible is hard. It means always having the right number of people working on the right things. Done on a spreadsheet or having to manually jig activities on manual software makes it near impossible to achieve the right outcome. Both over and under-staffing can cause meaningful cost inefficiencies.

You want to avoid over-staffing because that means you’re either spending too much money on your customer service team, or it results in you sub-optimally using your team’s time. Overstaffing means you lose an opportunity to have your team work down a backlog, complete admin tasks, or partake in training and development at the right time.

Understaffing on the other hand results in a bad customer experience. It means your customers could be waiting a long time for you to pick up the phone, or weeks to get an email response. This costs money in a less obvious way. According to American Express, 33% of customers would consider switching companies because of one poor customer experience. After factoring in acquisition costs and possible onboarding costs, not focusing on customer service can be extremely expensive.

How does planning software help with cost control?

Implementing the right planning software (or workforce management software) means that you have accurate forecasts that indicate how many people you need online, and schedules your team to be online at the right time.

Good planning software will easily integrate into your existing ticket and phone systems to predict your contact volumes to avoid under or overstaffing. Surfboard customers tend to see a 20% improvement in forecast accuracy, resulting in a more efficiently organised team.

Best in class planning software will indicate how many people you have scheduled in comparison to how many people you need. This means you can manually tweak the suggested schedules with the ability to easily visualise the impacts of your changes.

And finally it’s costly to have team members spend a lot of time on scheduling. Surfboard reduces the amount of time customer service teams spend on scheduling by 75%. On average, the average team of 50 spends 10 hours per week on scheduling before using Surfboard.

Will controlling costs impact the agent experience?

Cost control comes with connotations of creating an unhealthy work environment. This can definitely happen if executed poorly, and is even more likely without good planning software.

A good example of this is mass layoffs without using forecasting data to really understand how many people you will need. Without planning software, this results in your existing team being overworked and without adequate time to properly resolve customer issues. With good planning software, you can use forecasts to indicate how many people you need to cover your seasonal peaks but also the intraday volumes you experience regularly.

Want to create a better team experience whilst reducing cost?

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