Published: July 29, 2014 | Comments
I can still recall the moment when I was offered the opportunity to be the operations manager of the Oprima-1 call center in Chicago. I knew it would be difficult, but I definitely underestimated the challenges I would face.
First, a little background about me. I love technology. Working with Excel, charts, designing templates and learning new software programs have always fascinated me. So the idea of being in the workforce management side of operations was an opportunity I couldn’t let pass by.
I’m a quick learner and within a couple of weeks became very familiar with the CRM, scheduling, and even helped train a new cohort of advocates! I thought to myself, “WOW! This is a breeze.” The thought of somehow trying to operate without a CRM seemed ridiculous. How could that be possible, even for a small, startup outsourcer like Oprima-1?
Well, I found out! When our cable industry contract expired, not only did we lose our largest campaign, but we also lost our CRM. That was the moment I first asked myself, “Who knew managing a small call center would be so difficult?”
But thanks to ICMI and the wonderful training available both through the OnDemand All-Access and at regional symposiums, I was able to put my Excel skills to use and continue providing operational efficiency.
There is one particular OnDemand course that has played a critical role in ensuring quality performance at both the manager and advocate levels: “Do-It Yourself Workforce Management: For Small Contact Centers Without the Fancy Software.” Through this course, I gained the tools I needed to forecast, staff, and schedule; all using Excel. The course has been instrumental in learning the back-end work that I took for granted with automated WFM software. Don’t get me wrong, WFM software is an amazing tool. But when the budget is tight or when things inevitably malfunction in the future, I now know how to get back to the basics of formulas and simple spreadsheets.
Unfortunately, some other problems still persisted but again ICMI stepped up with other helpful courses. Small Contact Centers: Forecasting and Scheduling helped with scheduling techniques that took into account our contact center’s unique characteristics…and challenges. And finally, Contact Center Operations: An Introduction to Seven Fundamentals helped me understand our entire organization from the importance of service levels to understanding how multichannel contacts such as social media and emails will impact our call center in the future.
So to answer the question I posed in the beginning, managing a call center is indeed complicated! But thanks to ICMI’s OnDemand All Access Pass, I’m gaining the knowledge and confidence to lead our call center and our advocates to success.