Scheduling and Quality Monitoring During the Seasonal Madness
Retail stores are in “seasonal hiring” mode. It’s November, and holiday marketing is already in full bloom, even if actual holiday shopping always lags a little bit behind. For contact centers bracing for holiday sales (followed by holiday returns), ramping up of the workforce should already be in place. Managers have different ways to bring contact center staff up in their numbers during the holidays, and there is no one-size-fits-all policy for taking on extra seasonal help.
Some companies keep a ready list of stand-by agents who have worked for them in years past, according to Monet Software (News - Alert) CEO Chuck Ciarlo in a recent blog post. This is a great approach because it’s easy and cuts down the amount of time you need to spend retraining them.
“These are the folks that are accustomed to working a couple of months for you and then moving on until you need them again,” he wrote. “If they have already spent time at your call center they will just need a refresher rather than the full training regimen, and can get up to speed very quickly.”
Other companies may approach temp agencies at this time to bring extra staff in place, and assign them to more basic contacts and tasks, leaving the more complex calls to experienced agents. This option will still involve a lot of work, says Ciarlo.
“That means new recruiting, hiring and training, all of which take time,” he wrote. “Even though you are hiring temporary, likely part-time help, use the same procedures you would to qualify a full-time agent hire.”
Still more companies may choose to contact a third-party outsourcing business and bring manpower on temporarily. The upside to this approach is you’re getting temporary access to already-trained agents, and you can pay for performance…and only what services you require.
Regardless of which approach you choose, you’re still going to have some scheduling challenges on your hand. Whether you’re using familiar temps, home-based agents, new hires or even a third-party teleservices provider, your schedule is going to explode a little during the holiday season. Call routing is also important in conjunction with scheduling so you can ensure the right agents are handling the calls.
“Since you’ll have so many new faces on the floor, it’s a good idea to also have your best agents available during peak periods,” wrote Ciarlo. “They can pick up the slack and help the newcomers as well. When you have a mix of full-time and temporary agents on the floor, have a system in place to route the more complicated calls to experienced agents, leaving new hires free to handle more basic transactions.”
For many organizations, ensuring they have a cloud-based workforce management, scheduling and quality monitoring solution is critical, since it’s easy to “ramp up” for the holidays and return to original size after they’re over without having to pay for licenses you don’t need during the rest of the year.
Most important, writes Ciarlo, is to continue robust quality monitoring. This way, you’ll know which temporary agents are your best assets, and you’ll be in a good place to either hire them full-time as needed, or invite them back next holiday season.
Edited by Alicia Young