System Eliminated $50,000 in Agency Temp Hirings in One Month Alone
ST. LOUIS, MO (April 22, 2003) – MBS Textbook Exchange, Inc. and MBS Direct, LLC (“MBS Books”), a wholesale and retail provider of educational materials and the largest textbook reseller in the U.S., has increased scheduling accuracy and reduced labor costs in its 150-seat call center by automating the agent scheduling process with Pipkins’ Vantage Point software. In one month alone, the company saved $50,000 by eliminating the need to hire workers through temporary employment agencies to fill seats during the busy season.
Vantage Point’s flexible skill-based scheduling capabilities have produced more cost-effective staffing by enabling MBS Books to incorporate part-time employees into the mix for the first time. The software has also increased agent productivity by more accurately matching staffing to call volume, and reduced administrative overhead through an optional module that allows agents to access their schedules and request exceptions online without supervisor intervention.
“Before we installed Pipkins’ software, we were using a manual ‘guess and check’ system that left us overstaffed at certain times, understaffed at others, and unable to hire part-time employees because we had no good way to schedule part-time agents,” said Joan Dutill, Director of Customer Services for MBS Direct, a division that sells textbooks directly to students. “Vantage Point has enabled us to structure our staffing to precisely match the wide variations that occur in our workflow by time, day and season.”
MBS’s call center, located near company headquarters in Columbia, Missouri, operates two shifts. The staff includes order processors and customer service representatives for orders received by phone, plus a dedicated team that handles mail, email and voucher sales. Roughly half of the agents are part-time employees who are hired during the peak fall and winter seasons and are available on an irregular schedule. Business volume is growing at roughly 35% per year, further complicating the scheduling process.
The company began using Vantage Point in July 2002 after an evaluation of workforce management solutions from 10 different vendors. In addition to ease of use and sophisticated scheduling functionality, key factors in the decision were Vantage Point’s support for MBS’s existing hardware and the ability to import historical data from MBS’s ACD to aid in forecasting call volumes.
“MBS Books is a striking example of a growing call center that needed to automate the scheduling process to run efficiently,” said Jim Hogan, Manager of Customer Care for Pipkins. “From savings in labor costs to new hiring flexibility made possible by the ability to deploy part-time personnel on any schedule that meets their needs, MBS has achieved significant advantages that would not be possible without a system like Vantage Point bringing order to an extremely complex staffing environment.”
About Vantage Point
Pipkins’ Vantage Point workforce management software forecasts workload and schedules staff in single or multi-site call centers using a proprietary optimization algorithm, advanced skill-based modeling, and exclusive historical trend analysis that fine-tunes call volume forecasts for special events such as mail drops. Optional modules are available for real-time adherence monitoring, Web-based agent access, Web-based time and attendance, and now IVR scheduling support. Vantage Point is also available through WorkforceScheduling.com, Pipkins’ Web-based subscription service.
Vantage Point integrates with leading ACDs, e-mail response systems and other multimedia queuing devices for data collection across multiple sites and time zones. It also provides a full complement of default and custom reports, with an open system design that allows managers to access call center data using any third party SQL reporting package.
About Pipkins Inc.
Pipkins Inc. (PIPKINS), founded in 1984, is the leading supplier of workforce management software and services to the call center industry. Its Vantage Point product enables managers to solve the complicated operational issues in today’s multi-faceted call center environment. PIPKINS’ systems forecast and schedule more than 100,000 agents in over 300 locations across all industries worldwide. The company is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. For more information, visit www.pipkins.com.