Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
February 04, 2014
4 Tips to Improve Call Center Scheduling
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Scheduling for the typical workday is a challenging task, even in the calmest of environments. The unexpected can happen and leave you unprepared; customer traffic could increase without warning, leaving too many unserved; and productivity can suffer if too many are on hand without enough work to keep them busy. When this activity is in the call center, all of these variables are multiplied.
When it comes to call center scheduling, management has to balance call center capabilities with agent needs, all while accounting for exceptions and shrinkage. There will be times the agent isn’t doing something according to schedule, which can hurt your adherence percentage. Fortunately, there are workforce management solutions that can streamline the process. But before you make the investment, let’s consider a few tips that can improve your outcomes.
Throw out the spreadsheet – there are too many things that can change throughout the course of the day, week or even hour. If you’re trying to optimize schedules according to forecasted volumes, agent availability and the needs of the center, a spreadsheet is not robust enough to handle the volatile activity.
Track activities both on and off the call – there are plenty of things the agent has to do while on the phone with a customer; that’s a given. At the same time, there are things that must be completed after the call before closing out the contact information. Likewise, agents need breaks, to participate in training and coaching sessions and even collaborate with leadership. Work these times into the schedule and track them so you can more accurately account for time both on and off the phones.
Remember to be flexible – while it’s true that call center scheduling has to abide by specific rules to ensure customers don’t wait too long in the queue, you also need to be flexible so you can make changes on the fly. If someone calls in sick, volumes don’t hit expected levels or a problem breaks out with one of your market offerings, demand can quickly change. You have to be able to quickly respond to that change for positive outcomes.
Respect agent preferences – while it is important to schedule according to the needs of the call center, you also need to remember the requests of your agents. This is not to suggest that every wish, whim and complaint gets worked into the schedule. Instead, do your best to honor their reasonable preferences so as to protect motivation opportunities and generate happier agents.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of little things you can do to improve call center scheduling outcomes before you implement a workforce management solution. If you partner with a provider like Monet Software, you can leverage the expertise they bring to the table to make other little changes that can improve your outcomes. If you’re looking for measurable improvements, you won’t be disappointed.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi