Fewer Call Center Employees Means More, Not Less Difficult Scheduling
If you’re like many -- actually, probably most -- small to medium size call centers, you still use spreadsheets to forecast and manage call center schedules and workforce planning. You think hey, this is an okay way to do it, since we have fewer agents. We don’t need all that fancy- schmancy software, it’s not like we’re trying to ride herd on 10,000 agents here.
You probably think that. And you’re probably wrong. Staffing is the most expensive resource in the entire call center budget (60 to 80 percent), therefore, even a 1 percent increase in productivity will significantly impact the bottom line.
According to officials of Monet Software, it’s actually more difficult to manage fewer agents in a small to medium size center. Truly.
Why, you ask? Good question.
For one thing, the behavior of individual agents have a bigger impact on overall center performance. If you’ve got one problem agent you can cover that with someone else in a bigger operation, but if that one agent is a significant portion of your entire work force, well, you have to find a way to live with it.
And it can be a genuine problem, since with fewer agents they need to multi-task, making skill-based scheduling more complex -- you need this agent to do this but also that, so you need to rejig the schedule so she can be there, because she can’t be off when this other agent’s on...
And probably the most important reason why it’s more difficult to schedule with fewer agents, it’s more difficult to correct the schedule once it has been upset by unexpected events.
Earlier this year TMC’s (News - Alert) Susan J. Campbell wrote that “Call center scheduling – it is perhaps one of the most stressful of all the call center manager’s tasks, and yet it is also one of the most important. Once an accurate forecast has been determined, the call center manager then has to select the right candidates for the right shifts according to their availability, skill level and knowledge. It can be a complicated dance to determine the best scheduling arrangement to deliver the most value for the call center.”
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Chris DiMarco