It’s the end of the year. A time when your corporate partners are taking time off to rest and recharge. They’re building their plans, getting ready for next year. How can they grow the business? How can they deliver even more customer value?

What about you?

For many B2C contact centers, this is the busiest time of the year. Even many B2B centers can barely take time for coffee, as they’re struggling to keep up with the volume.

While your product teams and marketing peers rest and prepare for the next year, you have your people working overtime just to meet today’s demand – never mind thinking about tomorrow.

But the new year is coming. Despite working morning to night, your boss is still looking for your plan. How are you going to improve next year? How will you provide even more customer value?

Maybe you’ve asked for more head count.  In fact, you probably have. If you can just get those few extra people, that will let you get ahead. With a few more on your team you can keep up. You can use the newbies to free up your existing employees to take that training they need. You can have those new people work through the backlog of manual work that’s been piling up.

If you’re like the typical contact center, you’re always a few people short.

What happens if you don’t get that extra headcount? Since the economic downturn, companies are reticent to hire. They’re worried about over-investing. You might not get the people you need. Then what do you do?

You need to go back to the drawing board and look at how your team operates. Let’s face it – you’re probably not going to get to expand the department. It’s hard enough just to backfill existing roles. It’s time to think differently.

It’s year-end. You need to find the time to plan. I know it’s hard. But getting yourself away from the center – even for just one day – is critical.

But as you leave, bring your data. Look through it for ways to automate your basic tasks to free up time. I know it’s hard to believe, but self-service (done right) can actually be your friend. Self-service can free up the time-consuming “quick” calls, allowing you to focus on those that add the most value. Dynamic call scheduling can help you find the time for training, or for staffing multiple channels. But these both take time to plan.

Remember the definition of insanity?  It’s doing the same thing over and over again, looking for a different result. Does that describe your life?

It’s time to plan, and then to add automation in your contact center. Because manual processes are so 2015.