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UK Utility: Weathering the Storm with Real-Time Automation

Published: September 5, 2018 | By: Jennifer Lee

Mother Nature doesn’t adhere to WFM planning processes, and can unleash nasty storms with little warning or time to prepare. Real-time spikes in call volume due to storms and outages are a reality of life in the utility industry. To be prepared, many utility companies choose to staff a surplus of agents and run call centers at low occupancy rates, sacrificing efficiencies for the sake of service level protection. Today’s story is an example of one company who decided to take action to increase occupancy in their environment, while making their workforce more effective overall.

The Problem – Balancing Customer Needs and Agent Development
This company wanted to make sure customers could reach agents during unexpected storms and outages. The only way to do this was to schedule extra manpower in anticipation of unpredictable needs. While running at low occupancy was costly, real-time analysts struggled to pinpoint pockets of availability quickly enough to fill that extra time with off-phone work like training. With volumes shifting real time, it seemed there was never enough time to analyze, react, and respond in order to make efficient use of idle time.

Quickly training agents on new services was top priority, but a challenge to achieve. Scheduled training was cancelled during high volume. Postponed off-phone work took a long time to get back into the schedule. One 50-minute training session often took three weeks to plan. Sound familiar?

Having so much down time without an efficient way to use it led the team to consider real-time workforce automation.

The Solution – More Training, Reduced Handle Time with Automation
Through the use of real-time automation, agents now receive coaching and training during idle time. Automating the real-time queue analysis steps and delivering training real-time vs. pre-scheduling it, ensures agents get trained quickly on new processes without impacting service level. Workforce managers can make quick and easy adjustments when things like weather shift demand.

With automated adherence rules, workforce managers spend less time monitoring canvases and heat maps to see when agents are lingering in off-phone states. Agents receive reminders if they have been in a certain state for too long, without any manual intervention from WFM. As you can imagine, this automation greatly increases the speed at which the center can react to these shrinkage contributors! The impact is real. Within a week of implementing adherence rules to tackle ACW states, the company saw a 10 second reduction in AHT.

Want to know more? Watch the webinar to access the full customer success story. You’ll hear more about their challenge, solution and process for deploying the platform.

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