THE CANADIAN DIFFERENCES
Canada has a distinct set of laws , regulations , and practices from healthcare to language , measurement , and to privacy , to name a few . The country also has labor laws that vary from province to province ; the federal government sets them for those industries that are under its jurisdiction , like air and intercity rail , communications , and financial services .
So , what are , if any unique characteristics of Canadian contact centers as compared with their American counterparts that affect their needs and challenges of attracting , training , retaining , and optimizing contact center workforces ?
And how best should Canadian contact center decision-makers respond ?
TRUDY CANNON , VERINT : Most contact centers face the same workforce challenges in the U . S . as in Canada .
Among commonalities is the business need for real-time forecasting to ensure adequate staffing while offering schedule flexibility to agents .
The difference is the need for tighter schedule adherence and enforcing rules within the WFM system to comply with regulations that may vary by region or country .
DARYL GONOS , COMMUNITYWFM : There is a strong emphasis right now on WFM in Canada . A study last year from Ernst & Young
mentioned around 80 % of Canadian executives were planning to increase their investment into WFM and it was a top priority for their businesses .
Contact centers in Canada cost more to operate than in many parts of the U . S . The minimum wage is at least $ 2 higher in Canada , which means forecasting and staffing mistakes are more costly for contact centers in this country .
It ’ s also important to be aware that Canada does not have “ at will ” employment like some areas of the U . S . This means contact centers need to get creative with agent productivity , such as reskilling a poor phone agent to email or chat .
Modern WFM software can easily track all agent skills so changing what an agent does is an easy process from a staffing perspective .
The last thing is to choose WFM technology with flexible overtime capabilities . Agents in Canada don ’ t start earning overtime until 44 hours are worked in a week , not 40 hours like the U . S .
DAVE HOEKSTRA , CALABRIO : Canadian contact centers have a unique set of challenges in comparison with their neighbors to the south — especially when it comes to scheduling .
Rule sets , labor laws , and scheduling requirements are more stringent in Canada , so a good rules-based engine for scheduling is a must !
By incorporating robust schedules with built-in flexibility , Canadian contact centers will have a competitive advantage when retaining top talent .
• Supportive employers . Enabling career advancement by streamlining feedback and performance review processes helps agents gain a clearer picture of metrics , KPIs , and expectations , preventing surprises during the yearly review process .
Realistic goals , hands on coaching , and real-time feedback all provide a supportive , transparent environment for growth and improvement .
An encouraging and constructive workplace environment breeds goal-oriented employees and empowers them to address issues and improve in real time — all of which decreases employee attrition and creates confidence at work .
WHAT ARE YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS TO ENABLE CON- TACT CENTERS TO MAXIMIZE THEIR WORKFORCES AND OPTIMIZE THEIR USE OF WFM APPLICATIONS ?
TC : Brands can optimize their workforce and improve customer and employee engagement by taking a unified approach to WFM systems .
This means one workforce using an integrated set of WFM solutions and processes on one platform that allows employees to access the same tools and knowledge to support their customers without going outside the solutions : which lead to customer data silos and inefficiencies .
This approach orchestrates all aspects of digital-first engagement and WFM under one platform roof , helping brands create positive and personalized experiences for their customers and employees .
DG : Choose a WFM provider that focuses on training , education , and production . Applications like this aren ’ t a minor widget or add-on .
WFM is the engine that powers your entire contact center . With the expanded footprint of modern WFM , it has an impact on efficiency , productivity , agent engagement , self-service , and reporting on key metrics .
The importance on successfully adopting this technology can ’ t be overstated . Ensure the provider and platform you choose offers a legitimate path to success .
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