Seasonal surges are par for the course in the BPO and contact center industries. In just a few weeks, the new agent headcount can go from a few hundred to a thousand. For the bigger BPOs, the numbers are even more staggering.
It's usually around peak seasons, like holidays, when a contact center’s need to scale becomes the most urgent. This ramp-up period can be hugely stressful for human resources, operations, and IT leaders, presenting many challenges.
Human Resources, Training, and Operations Challenges
"Contact centers face expected, intense spikes of up to 10 times normal call volumes during periods such as holidays, promotional events and vacation seasons," according to Gartner.
Therefore, having a trained and engaged workforce with the tools and know-how to offer excellent customer service is fundamental to handling such high volumes.
That presents a daunting challenge for human resources and recruiting staff: finding enough qualified prospects to fill seats these seasonal spikes require. Identifying high-quality contact center agents is a time-consuming process, not to mention that scheduling in-person interviews can be an administrative nightmare.
Once hired, the training staff is responsible for onboarding this new crop of agents quickly and efficiently. Understanding that a certain number will fall by the wayside during training and nesting throws HR and recruiting back into the mix to find and qualify more candidates to replace them.
Once on the floor, operations managers take over the onboarding process, preparing these newly-minted agents to respond to real-world customer questions and complaints.
IT Department Challenges
Having enough people to fill seats isn't the only key to handling increased volume during seasonal spikes. The right contact center software and technology solutions are also essential. That presents IT leaders with a different set of challenges than the other departments faced.
Now that things are moving back to in-office or hybrid environments, more of the new agent training and onboarding is occurring on-site, requiring many devices.
Every agent needs the full complement of tools, including desktop workstations. But with contact center infrastructure budgets stretched thin, the challenge to do more with less becomes imperative.
Because BPOs may have several clients for which agents are onboarded, IT teams need to re-image a device and set it up with the next client's configuration. They may also have to go back and forth, reconfiguring the machine several times throughout the day.
This repetitive action becomes a huge drain on resources. Worse, the tedium can lead to data leakage between client environments, a major breach of data compliance regulations. As a result, contact centers typically employ a one-agent-per-device policy.
However, that means you are placing a hard cap on how many agents you can train at once, given the 1:1 ratio between agent and device. It severely limits your capacity to scale, especially during peak hiring times when the need for quick onboarding is critical.
ThinScale Reduces Complexity to Scale Onboarding
ThinScale has developed a solution to the training and onboarding device challenge: enabling fully secured shared desktops. Agents can securely log on to their specific clients' environments using their login credentials. That means any number of agents can use a single device, even across multiple clients, with complete data and resource segregation.
For example, 500 devices used across three shifts or training sessions can accommodate 1,500 agents. This innovative technology application means contact centers can rapidly scale hiring and onboarding sprees, even with a limited number of devices.
This secure, shared desktop solution benefits BPOs and contact centers in several ways:
- Organizations transitioning from a remote BYOD environment back in-center can reduce hardware expenditures. Software is much less expensive than buying computers, after all.
- It ensures organizations can handle rapid onboarding and seasonal capacity without adding IT complexity and reduces the need for additional support staff.
- Seasonally-hired agents can onboard faster due to greater device availability.
ThinScale Smashes the Ramp-Up
Maximizing agent training and onboarding capacity during busy, high-volume seasons is a mix of art and science. The art lies in finding enough qualified agents, and the science in providing the right tools to enable scalable onboarding.
It's up to HR, training, and operations to get agents ready to engage customers. But once recruited and trained, IT must ensure the capacity exists to handle high volume and seasonal overflows. When all parties work together, smashing the ramp-up becomes routine.
IT leaders can depend on ThinScale's secure, shared desktop application to ensure efficient, secure device usage across a range of client configurations, regardless of the time of year.
Learn more about how ThinScale can help your organization train and onboard hundreds of new agents per day and reduce onboarding times from days and weeks to hours and minutes.