Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
September 27, 2013
Today's Workforce Management Charts Provide Schedule Compliance at-a-Glance
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
While a call center manager requires a lot of skills to succeed, forecasting and scheduling are possibly the two most critical. Without an accurate forecast based on historical data and knowledge of how the day is likely to go (depending on various external factors), a manager can’t build an accurate schedule. Without an accurate schedule, a contact center simply cannot operate.
Call center scheduling is both an art and a science. In the earliest days of call centers, the schedule was prepared on graph paper based on complex algorithms, and distributed to agents in paper format. Managers had to cross their fingers and hope the day went something like what the schedule indicated. If it didn’t, it was difficult to tell. Companies often learned their call centers were frequently out of adherence in monthly reports long after-the-fact. The solution? Hire more agents, cross your fingers and hope for the best.
For companies still using old legacy systems or even manual workforce management, the knowledge of compliance with the schedule still comes when the reporting is done at the end of the day or the end of the week. But modern workforce management solution helps companies work smarter in forecasting, scheduling building and ensuring adherence to schedules, according to a recent blog post by Monet Software’s CEO Chuck Ciarlo.
“In the case if workforce management (WFM) software is in use, you get this in real-time and see it on your dashboard,” writes Ciarlo. “Without it, checking forecasted results vs. actual results is a much longer, more tedious, and less accurate process -- and there is no way to update the schedule or make other necessary changes.”
The key is not only to know when the contact center is out of compliance…it’s knowing about it AND being able to correct matters quickly so that the rest of the day can go according to schedule. The charts provided by modern workforce management solutions can alert managers to a number of things, says Ciarlo, such as:
- The number of calls forecasted for any day or time interval, compared with the number actually received;
- The forecasted average work time (AWT (News - Alert)) in seconds (average talk and average after call work time), compared with the actual AWT;
- Forecasted service level (estimated percentage of calls answered under the threshold delay), compared to actual service level;
- Forecasted number of required employees vs. actual employees scheduled after adjustments and exceptions have been entered.
By keeping an eye on all these ratios, expressed in an easy-to-read format right on the desktop, managers can ensure that the call center is sticking to the schedule and service levels are being met. It’s a far cry from the “old days,” when this knowledge was uncovered at the end of the month or the end of the quarter…if at all.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi