Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
May 19, 2008
Call Center Scheduling Prevents Chaos
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Most people would be hard pressed to find an individual consumer who has never had the privilege of interacting with a call center. Stories can be both good and bad, but chances are that most of us have had the pleasure of waiting on hold for the “next available agent.”
When this message is heard, have you ever wondered if there is a party going at the call center and that is why you have to wait; or are you waiting because they have to connect you with an overseas agent and it just takes that long for your call to get there? OK, so we all know that technology has advanced past that point, but it doesn’t help our frustration level when we have to wait and we don’t know why.
One of the most likely culprits when waiting for the next available agent is that the call volume is too high for the scheduled agents to handle. This is a common problem in the call center where manual scheduling is the normal practice and variables that can impact volumes are forgotten.
So, what is the impact when call center scheduling is not at the optimal level? A less than efficient call center that is either unable to handle the volume of calls properly, or agents sitting idle because too many have been scheduled to cover less volume than expected.
When scheduling is not made a priority within the call center, customer service suffers, agents are tasked or bored, resources are wasted and the overall environment takes on a less than motivating feel. Such a tone within the call center helps to create problems among the staff and paints a more costly picture for the organization.
Call center agents already have a tough job and it is up to management to be sure that they have the tools that they need to perform the job properly. Proper scheduling plays into that philosophy. To ensure that scheduling is accurate and performed according to the needs of the call center, an automated system should be considered.
A robust call center scheduling system allows for consideration of all variables that can impact proper call center operations. For instance, it will assess needs according to anticipated call volumes based on upcoming campaigns and historical data, the number of agents and their skills and availability, and the times of day when more coverage is needed.
Another important element with call center scheduling is that it frees up significant management time to focus on the duties of the call center. If agents are properly scheduled according to needs, the call center can maximize its resources and deliver a better experience overall for both staff and customers.
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