Tip of the Week

  • Get a new perspective on monitoring service levels.

    September 18 –

    As workforce planning professionals, one of our constant challenges is balancing service levels in the contact center—we don’t want service levels too low (high wait times) and it isn’t good if levels are too high (low occupancy). So this week, here’s a tip to help achieve the great balancing act by providing a new perspective on the way service levels are monitored.

    First, pay attention to intervals. Regardless of the most prominent range of how service levels are reported (daily, weekly or monthly), it’s prudent to pay attention to what’s happening on an interval basis. Then, to go beyond ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ against the target, try some good ol’ color coding: red for intervals where service level is too low, green for an acceptable range, and yellow for service levels which are too high. Here is an example, assuming a target of 80% within 20 seconds:

    • Red intervals = service level below 75%
    • Green intervals = service levels 75%-85%
    • Yellow intervals = service level above 85%

    Next, determine how many intervals should be set as the (informal or formal) goal. Since each contact center is different, it requires statistical research to determine where to place the benchmarks for the business—i.e., use interval parameters like those above in a robust sample size, and compare how many red, green, and yellow intervals are against the overall service level and occupancy results. Here is an illustration:

    • Red = 15% or less of all intervals
    • Green = 45% or more of all intervals
    • Yellow = 40% or less of all intervals

    The red-green-yellow interval performance is the actionable trigger for real-time function and as trending intelligence for scheduling. For example, too many yellow intervals today? Offer voluntary time off. If 10-10:30am is always red, move schedules or reduce shrink during the time.

    As part of the ongoing quest to balance service levels, by keeping an eye on intervals’ low/red, on-target/green, and high/yellow results, we will be more informed and better positioned to take action.

    Note:  This week’s tip is provided by SWPP John Campbell of CNA Insurance.  He may be reached at john.campbell@cna.com

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