Workforce System Boosts Golfsmith’s Contact Center Efficiency

When Golfsmith was facing challenges with staffing in its contact center six years ago, it decided to implement a workforce management system. The golfing products merchant went with GMT Planet. Has it helped?

Since it was implemented in September 2004, GMT has helped Golfsmith match the supply of agents on an interday and intraday basis, with the ever-changing stream of calls generated by its variable pipeline of catalog drops and other promotional offers.

Golfsmith can now forecast call volume and create detailed staffing schedules with more accuracy, since GMT’s system captures the merchant’s historical data, such as expected conversion rates and other key data points.

Gillian Felix, Golfsmith’s senior vice president of human resources and the contact center, says GMT software enables the company to staff to 15-minute intervals. “This allows us to stagger start times, break times and lunches to ensure that we have the optimal amount of staff to cover call projections reducing agent downtime.”

What’s more, Felix says the company can forecast call volume based on direct mail campaigns. It can make staff adjustments by running intraday forecasts, which evaluate current trends and conditions to make staffing decisions in real-time, she says. “All of this allows us to manage our workforce extremely closely reducing our overall cost per call.”

Golfsmith’s Austin, TX-based contact center includes an inbound sales and a customer service departments. It now has 60 seats between the two departments and flexibility to match the seasonality of its business. Felix says the facility has evolved in the past year to include click-to-chat agents, remote agents and a dedicated retail support help desk.

“As our customers use different vehicles to communicate we have adapted to meet their demands,” Felix says. “We currently have almost a million contacts per year.”

Before implementing a workforce solution, Golfsmith did not have a way to track schedule compliance, Felix explains. “Holding our agents accountable to schedule compliance ensures that we maintain the highest service levels possible.”

What’s more, Golfsmith’s average call abandon rate improved 35% by optimizing schedules to fit call patterns, she says. “Using a multidisciplined workforce, we flex agents between e-mails, click to chats and phone calls to achieve our established service levels.”

Being able to accurately forecast call volume is vital to a successful center, Felix says. Understanding when the calls will arrive and making sure that you have coverage during those times is critical for providing exceptional service and profitable sales.

You also have to determine key metrics, and hold your agents accountable for those metrics. “We have a daily report card that lists the metrics and ranks each agent,” Felix says. “Therefore, every agent knows daily how they did the previous day.”

Keep the contact center energy high, and when the register rings, “let everyone know – excitement breeds excitement,” she says. “Constant competition between agents means freshness and a desire to win. Let people know how they are doing and provide constant feedback.”

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