Contact Center Supervisor Automation Is Key to SLA Upkeep, Sytel Says

Sytel, a contact center-as-a-service (CCaaS) platform, predicts that as automation is introduced to manage service levels in the contact center, the need for supervisor intervention will be reduced by more than 90 percent.

"Automation of inbound operations is a logical step forward. What is surprising is that it has taken the industry until now to achieve it," said Sytel CEO Michael McKinlay.

Supervisors and team leaders aim to keep queues properly staffed during shifts, but this can be derailed by unscheduled events like absences, shrinkage, or spikes in contact volume. This can keep customers waiting longer in queues, causing frustration, and can break service-level agreements (SLAs) for outsourcers.

McKinlay continued, "Preparation is essential, of course. Workforce management (WFM) is invaluable in predicting the right staffing needs in advance. But once a shift has started, what do you do when demand outstrips supply?

"WFM can only tell you there's a problem. It's usually up to supervisors to figure out where to get extra resources without causing more trouble," he goes on to say. "This job has become increasingly complex, even impossible. That's especially true for larger contact centers needing to manage customer engagements across voice as well as web chat, email, SMS, WhatsApp, etc."

Contact centers have traditionally coped by bringing non-front-line staff in to handle calls and offering to call customers back while keeping their place in the queue, but McKinlay says that is not the answer either.

"These practices maintain the illusion that service levels are under control," he says. "But really they create more short-term demand and increase the cost of servicing by failing to resolve issues first time. These should be methods of last resort, not everyday occurrences."

To help with these situations, Sytel is releasing the Sytel Real-Time Automation (SRA) solution, which automatically assigns agents to work on queues where the service level is under threat, no matter the media type.

"Does SRA put supervisors out of a job? Automation will do some of the work supervisors currently do and do it much more efficiently. But no supervisor wants to spend their time stressing about where to pull agents from to help a struggling queue. Automation frees supervisors for higher value tasks, like coaching, encouraging their teams and quality monitoring," according to McKinlay.

"The best answer? Automation! SRA is making the best-possible decisions automatically, literally second by second, so that any supply/demand imbalance is shared between queues and no single service level falls off a cliff. Automated service level management ensures that no agent time is wasted, keeps wait times for customers low, and, crucially, offers supervisors freedom from the stress of managing service levels manually," he continues.

"The brain at the center of Sytel's CCaaS platform is the Automatic Session Distributor, which holds the current state of everything in memory; all agents with their different skills, all sessions in all channels, all queues, each with its target service level. It has authority to take action across all work queues, outbound as well as inbound. And it is the brain that is providing the resources to SRA to do its dynamic management, constantly updating all queue states and assignments second by second.

JRC in Brazil, which provides a wide range of products and services to support major national infrastructure projects, is a long-time user of Sytel's automation. Its CEO, Jose Rubens Cavalari, commented, "Our customers love the way Sytel Real-Time Automation solves, once and for all, the issue of how to control SLAs and customer wait times in a busy contact center."