Scheduling Tips for a More Effective Call Center
Scheduling is an important part of workforce management (WFM) within the call center, although it doesn’t seem that most users are aware of the weight that it carries, like reducing costs and significantly improving workflow.
To help those parts of the industry understand how scheduling works, Monet Software, a pioneer in scheduling software, has not only designed software to help organizations create a call center that reaches the highest levels of performance, but has also released an array of helpful scheduling tips that can be used in the call center about these issues.
- Flexible shift model: More call centers are switching from a fixed to flexible schedule shift model because of how much the number of calls and arrival patterns vary from day to day. So instead of having fixed starting times, end times and lunch breaks, call centers are being advised to implement a flexible schedule that can increase their service levels by 1 to 2 percent, which can result in a similar percentage of savings in personnel costs.
- Keep track of shrinkage: By reducing the volume of shrinkage (paid time but not taking calls), organizations can save up to $20,000. In order to do so, they must create a better match to call volume with agents available, increase forecast and schedule accuracy by including additional parameters, and monitor and improve schedule adherence.
- Include all activities in the schedule: It is important that all agent activities are factored into the forecast and scheduling, including breaks, skills, training and time-off. Otherwise it will lead to understaffing and abandoned calls.
- Track and improve schedule adherence: By educating agents on the importance of staying on scheduling, like taking their lunches at designated time and returning, and showing them how a 10-minute tardiness impacts other agents and the entire call center performance, it is more likely they will not stray away from the schedule set in place. Centers can track adherence in real-time, discussing how an agent is doing and rewarding them through recognition and bonuses to help this initiative.
- Cross-train multi-skilled agents: If a center can use skill-based routing and have more agents trained to handle multiple skills than it will be able to reduce the number of agents needed to handle the call volume; for example, have one group that handles call types A and B. According to Monet, this will result in a 10 – 15 percent productivity gain.
- Compare ACD long-on time: Call centers need to make sure that the agent’s log-in time corresponds with the clock time and might even want to consider using the ACD agent log-in and log-out times for payroll.
- Keep highest talent by ranking agents: Since the most talented agents will probably be the most loyal and productive organizations should create schedules based on how an agent ranks in terms of call completion time, calls per hour, etc. According to Monet studies show that a good relationship with colleagues drives motivation and performance in call centers, and a schedule should leveler this by teaming up the right people.
Watch these videos about cloud-based workforce management and see how your contact center can improve forecast accuracy, schedule efficiency and agent adherence.
Edited by Alisen Downey