Call Center Staffing is About More Than Just the Numbers
Numbers matter, but usually they are not enough. When scheduling agents to staff a call center, there’s more than just the question of how many warm bodies to put in a room. While head count matters, there also are several other considerations that must be taken into account if the ultimate goal is profitability and effectiveness.
If not just phoning it in, so to speak, it is important to also consider aspects such as what skills the agents possess, what agent personalities mesh well together, and which agents are most effective and in what areas.
“Besides the key staffing and scheduling question about how many agents you need at any given time, you also need to think about what agent skills and expertise you need at specific times and types of calls,” wrote Monet Software in a recent blog post about call center staffing considerations.
Monet Software, which helps call centers optimize their workforce with affordable forecasting, scheduling, workforce management, call recording and quality management solutions, suggested three areas to consider: ranking of agents, matching personality and teams, and developing multi-skill agents and routing.
First, it is useful to rank agents according to several metrics. These should include call completion time, calls per hour, call quality, customer satisfaction or other performance measures.
“Creating a schedule by agent rank can be very effective in reducing costs and increasing sales,” noted the Monet blog.
A second consideration is putting together the right teams.
“Studies have shown that a good relationship with colleagues drives motivation and performance,” suggested Monet. “Your schedule should leverage this by teaming up the ‘right’ people.” This means paying attention to the makeup of the teams, and noticing which pairs of people “click” together and create a good workplace culture.
Agents need to be viewed first and foremost as people performing a job, not as human resource units that go together in any combination and any way. Recognizing each agent as unique better helps the ultimate goal of a job well done by acknowledging that some people work together really well while others relationships are tepid at best.
A third call center staffing suggestion offered by Monet is to develop multi-skilled agents and then putting together the right mix for optimal effectiveness.
“The importance of multi-skilled agents is that they form overlapping groups,” wrote the blog. “For example, having one group that can handle calls type A and B while another group takes calls type C and D can be substantially improved by adding a group that is able to handle calls type B and C (or one of the other three combinations).”
Monet wrote on its blog that the gains from giving each agent at least two skills easily can be from 10 to 15 percent productivity gain.
For more information about effective call center scheduling, read Monet’s white paper entitled, "Seven Tips for more Effective Call Center Scheduling."
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli