By Jenina P. Ibañez
AUSTRALIAN workforce management company Call Design is launching the first workforce optimization and management service programs in the Philippines to help contact centers manage staff efficiency and costs.
In a recent interview, Call Design Executive Director Sean Mather said that Philippine contact centers struggle to retain skilled employees due to block scheduling that hampers work-life balance.
“One of the key things that we find is contact centers — over here specifically, but around the globe — suffer with attrition. One of the key reasons they suffer with attrition is they’re not managing or aim to help people manage their work-life balance,” he said.
He noted that call center agents receive good salaries and benefits but do not have schedule flexibility.
The service provides software and workforce process consulting to help employees manage and switch shifts on their mobile devices. Workforce management would help assign and reassign employees based on their skills and knowledge.
Mr. Mather said workforce management programs would help employers reduce 10% of labor costs by reducing overstaffing on particular schedules.
“Part of it is about cost, but more of it is about efficiency and helping the agent community to be more engaged in work and keep the skill level there,” he said.
The contact center workforce is changing as automation would require workers to upskill to more complex tasks that cannot be done by computers, Mr. Mather said.
“Agents don’t cost less — they cost more because they are dealing with more complex transactions. They take more training, which is why when you lose them, it hurts.”
But he also said that workforce management works best for process-oriented rather than complex work, because preferential scheduling allows employees to easily trade shifts in process-based work.
“When one person finishes their shift, another person can come in and do that,” he said, which is not always true for more complex work.
Even with a shift to complex work, Mr. Mather said that he still sees an increase in need for workforce management.
“At the end of the day, workforce management says ‘I’m going to have a certain number of requests. Those requests can be categorized in a particular way, by the information they’re looking for. And to answer those requests, we need to have a number of resources — some are human, some are machines — to answer those requests. And we need to manage that.’”
Call Design has been operating a contact center in the Philippines to support its global operations since 2008. The company was founded in 1999.