Make Scheduling Easier By Giving Agents More Power
Call center scheduling is no easy task, and supervisors who manage to make it through an entire week unscathed are practically saints. Juggling requests, trying to be fair and managing in-office and remote workers simultaneously can get to be a lot for managers, even the most experienced ones. You can’t make everyone happy and, some weeks, it seems like no one is.
Unfortunately, when workers are unhappy with their schedules, performance is often negatively impacted. Unhappy call center agents aren’t good for anyone—both the customer and the call center can have negative experiences if there are unhappy agents involved. To solve this, supervisors need to get to the root of the problem and fix it, but it’s often difficult to accommodate one person’s schedule without messing up someone else’s.
It’s a complicated process, but luckily there are tools available to help. Monet Software’s (News - Alert) Chuck Ciarlo discusses this very topic in his blog post titled “How to make a call center schedule work for your staff.” He points out that a call center can only be successful if the team is somewhere between satisfied and extremely happy with their assigned shifts. That’s not easy to accomplish, yet failing to do so can have consequences. Chuck suggests the following tips to help supervisors keep agents happy when it comes to scheduling:
- Shift Bidding: Chuck suggests either opening up for bidding every six months, or having it become part of the regular scheduling process by making it a more common occurrence. Although frequent bidding can be hard to manage, tools are available to supervisors to make it easier for them to collaborate on shift bidding and trading.
- Shift Trading: Speaking of trading, this is one of the best options because it can be done without a lot of administrative work. Agents can trade shifts on a day-to-day basis. However, it’s important to make sure that this doesn’t happen too often, or else it’ll become hard to keep track of who’s working when. Agents should be limited to a few trades per month in order to avoid confusing weekly swaps.
- Flexible Start- and End-Times: This option allows agents to start their days when they want. Think of it kind of like scheduling college classes—some people enjoyed signing up for 8 a.m. classes, while others were horrified by the thought of starting before noon. People are more productive when they’re working during time slots they enjoy, so why not bring that flexibility to the call center? Managers just need to make sure that not everyone schedules themselves in the afternoon, leaving no one in the morning.
So, although call center scheduling can sometimes be a trying task, it doesn’t have to be. Although not everyone is guaranteed to be happy every single week, there are a few tricks call center managers can implement to improve the process. By giving agents more power, supervisors are making scheduling easier on everyone.