One of the tenants of running an effective contact center is that you forecast and manage the totality of the center’s workload. Even in organizations that do a good job of handling primary contact channels, we too often find subsets of work that are unexpected, ill-defined, or not reflected in plans and schedules.
Three questions can help you define and anticipate customer-facing work:
1. Which customer interactions carry the expectation of an agent-assisted response? An inbound phone call obviously will. But what about tweets, posts to our Facebook page, comments in customer forums, and others? Some are intended to be between customers only, while others carry an implied expectation that we’ll respond.
2. Should they be handled as they occur or can they be deferred? Those handled as they occur are defined as “service level” interactions, while those that can be deferred are reflected in “response time” objectives. We’ll need to account for both types of work in forecasts and plans.
3. Which interactions require a single exchange, and which will require a series of exchanges? Many calls and emails require only a single exchange, while chat and some social interactions usually involve a series of back-and-forth messages. Again, you’ll want both types of work to be accurately reflected in staff plans.
These questions can help you anticipate customer-facing work—and ensure it’s crunchy enough that you can reflect it accurately in plans.