Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
January 24, 2014
The Importance of Scheduling Lunch and Breaks into Call Center Operations
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
As contact centers strive to improve the customer experience in order to differentiate themselves from the competition, many of them are missing the first steps of the process. To build customer engagement, companies must first build employee engagement. It’s quite literally impossible to build a first-class customer support infrastructure with disengaged agents who are overworked, undertrained, burned out or just plain bored.
Building employee engagement, of course, starts with good managers. It also requires a high quality performance management solution as well as a flexible workforce management solution that can ensure that agents aren’t being overworked. But many workforce management solutions are failing to take employee needs and preferences into consideration when it comes to scheduling breaks, and instead treating employees like robots.
According to a recent blog post on the Web site of field service solutions provider Euclides Technologies, workforce management has been used with some success when it comes to ensuring that field service personnel are getting the breaks they need throughout the day to keep them well engaged with their jobs.
“By deploying flexible lunch breaks, organizations can provide their dispatchers and engineers with the ability to control planned lunch breaks as well,” wrote Euclides’ Erez Glinansky. “The benefit is huge: from improved compliance with work regulations and a more accurate schedule, to accurate monitoring of actual lunch break time for management.”
When a schedule becomes tight, or service levels are in danger of not being met, it’s tempting for many contact center managers to move or squeeze out employee breaks. This is a “penny wise, pound foolish” move that will cause far more damage than the small, temporary benefit it might gain. Burned out agents are bad agents and bad agents damage customer relationships permanently.
By using a flexible scheduling product, contact center managers or operations personnel in charge of workforce management can ensure that employees receive the breaks they require in order to remain alert and ready to meet the many challenges they face daily while at the same time ensuring full coverage of call and other queues during the day. Some solutions even add in default lunch breaks to ensure that all employees are receiving the time off they need during the day to give themselves a mental reset (and no, taking bites of a sandwich at a desk while doing after-call wrap up work doesn’t count).
Workforce management and scheduling solutions are the greatest tools a contact center can make use of to ensure that employees are finding the proper work/life balance. And happy employees make for happy customers.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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