Ask the Workforce Wizard

Ask the Workforce Wizard

Question:

I am looking for some input about the negative impacts of manually changing skills on the ACD. In my current organization, we are asked daily by leadership to remove skills or reduce priority of some skills to zero to “help” other skills where we are understaffed. I’m certain it is both a waste of time and probably just adds negative impact, but need backup to convince leaders. Thanks!

Answer:

We posed this question to some of our experts, and got quite a bit of feedback. Here are some of the responses:

  • Our WFM team used to do this about 12 years ago. We stopped and let our ACD route calls based on our desired performance. It was a faster and more accurate way to achieve the results we were trying to achieve. Automation is the way to go (although not without a cost). Some drawbacks I see with the manual changes based on my experience with it:
  • Inconsistency in service provided
  • Potentially forgetting to change skills back to “normal”
  • Time consuming/not value-added
  • Inability to explain (or confusion) when explaining performance
  • Here are some additional drawbacks based on experience:
  • This affects the accuracy of intraday reporting for scheduled and net staffing and therefore may be difficult to provide proper staff recommendations such as OT or VTO needs.
  • “Too many hands in the pot, too many cooks in the kitchen” can cause a lack of proper communication as well as confusion of expectations of who has ownership of reskilling to original, then days go by and it falls through the cracks, and Service Level (SL) is not met and it’s WFM’s fault….
  • If the agent doesn’t realize they were re-skilled to take calls (lack of communication), they get confused and frustrated, they walk away from their desk and then have adherence issues, or they stay on after-call work (ACW) for the next 10+ minutes and are no longer available to take the next call, then SL is not met and it’s still WFM’s fault.
  • When you start utilizing other departments to handle contacts, you definitely need to have reporting in place to measure average handle time (AHT) performance. When changing skills of agents that would be considered Overflow or Secondary agents, you are potentially creating additional AHT that may be making your service levels worse rather than better. This happens because inexperienced agents are taking longer on the overflow calls which could cause their primary queue to unnecessarily get calls on hold and impact service levels. Bottom line — you need reporting in place to make sure the positives outweigh the negatives for all their key metrics.
  • Before you go just intermittently changing skills on the ACD, you do want to think of how your reports and respective service goals will be impacted. Also, I think it would be imperative to understand what making these changes could do to your customer experience for the skill you are planning to deprioritize. Although you can make these types of changes with some ACD platforms, it doesn’t mean you should.