Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
April 15, 2014
It's No Longer a Pen and Paper World in Call Center Scheduling
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
When I took on my first job as a teenager working at the mall, the best source of technology was the register we used to scan items customers purchased. Everything else was done on paper, from checking in inventory to staff scheduling. As I worked my way through to store manager of a different line, technology improved. We received weekly specials through a DOS-based computer and timesheets were entered through the POS system. Still, I scheduled staff with pen and paper.
This method worked back then for a number of reasons, the primary being there was no other option. It also helped that my staff numbered less than 15. Corporate did provide guidelines on how we should schedule our staff and I had to work within budgeted hours to ensure the proper coverage. If a community event brought unexpected traffic to town and thus to the mall, we could easily find ourselves understaffed and scrambling to find someone to come in and help.
The same thing is a common occurrence in the call center. While a number of organizations have chucked the pen and paper approach to call center scheduling, far too many are still relying on the spreadsheet – a system that can easily fail in a pinch. In an industry where productivity and efficiency greatly impact the bottom line, there is one area where management shouldn’t skimp on technology.
Let’s take a look at some reasons why it’s time for a robust call center scheduling solution:
- Just 1 percent increase in productivity can significantly impact the call center budget.
- Flexibility has to be a priority in the call center to ensure unexpected peaks in call volume don’t leave customers stranded.
- Fixed schedules – common with the spreadsheet approach – produce overstaffing and higher shrinkage.
- Start times, end times and breaks are better managed with an online call center scheduling solution that can greatly improve service levels.
- Scheduling histories are readily available, making it easier for management to accurately forecast.
- Managers can save up to 25 percent of their scheduling time with an online approach.
The potential advantages with a robust, online approach to call center scheduling expand beyond this list, but the cost benefits alone make it worth consideration. For the larger call center especially, it’s time to do away with an archaic approach to scheduling and ensure the center is prepared to deliver the kind of service customers expect.
From what I understand – even the retail world is now using online scheduling to centralize the process and ensure stores have the coverage they need. Wouldn’t it make sense that the call center follow suit?
Edited by Stefania Viscusi