Call Center Management Feature Article
December 26, 2013
When Contact Center Workforce Scheduling Simply Needs to Work (and Work Easily)
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
In the contact center, there are things that simply need to work. Computer equipment and applications must work. The telephone system must work. The agents must be actively working. The problem is, however, that for a contact center to run efficiently and provide customers with the kind of service they demand, these things must work without being continually maintained and micromanaged.
While it’s questionable whether a contact center manager will ever be able to experience a single day without coping with agent issues, when it comes to the necessary applications that help support operations, managers cannot spend a lot of time troubleshooting them.
Contact center managers of old used to spend an inordinate amount of time building schedules. They used spreadsheets and complex mathematical algorithms, studying traffic call traffic patterns, to build something that they hoped would be sufficient to meet service levels without understaffing or overstaffing.
The last decade has seen a lot of innovation here, with many companies moving to software-based workforce management and scheduling solutions. They applications study historical data and take many other factors into consideration in order to build a schedule that is as closely matched to real-world needs as possible.
Many of these solutions haven’t been completely trouble-free, however, and have raised some of their own workability issues. Since agents have become used to being governed by workforce management solutions, they assume that asking for different shifts can be accomplished relatively easily. In a recent blog post, Monet Software CEO Chuck Ciarlo notes that many contact center managers find agents at their offices all day with questions about which shifts are available, if they can change their Monday schedule to Wednesday, etc. Luckily, there is a technological solution for this problem.
“An automated solution delivered through a Web portal will allow agents to bid on shifts, swap or cancel without taking up a manager’s time,” writes Ciarlo. “The system will have parameters in place, set by the call center that will approve or reject such requests automatically.”
This frees up managers to spend their time on more critical processes that can improve efficiency and quality. With a solution that offers schedule bidding and swapping, contact centers can ensure that they are prepared to meet service level requirements at all times while at the same time offering agents a degree of self-governance and flexibility that helps them remain satisfied in their jobs. And as conventional wisdom tell us, satisfied agents are effective agents.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker