Flexible Call Center Scheduling Can Boost Performance
Call center scheduling is an important part of any successful operation. It makes tracking PTO easier, (hopefully) keeps agents happy and allows managers to track remote and in-office agent hours more easily. However, call center scheduling also has another purpose: boosting agent performance.
One of the most important elements to consider when creating agent schedules is peak call time. Every call center has a time of day or two that’s busier than the rest of the day. Lunch time, for example, tends to be a popular call time for most contact centers, especially the ones that close at 5 p.m., because that’s one of the only times people with 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. jobs can call. So, when creating a schedule, managers need to keep any and all peak times in mind to ensure that they have enough agents working.
However, peak times can be draining on agents, especially if there are several angry callers in one day. Therefore, although it may be tempting to continually put the same, veteran agents on for those times, it’s important to have a rotating schedule. Some agents may be better at dealing with peak time stress than others, but they’ll still get burnt out if they have to work during those times every single day. Plus, how else will the other agents learn to deal with that stress, if they never have the chance to work during peak times? Managers can even go a step further by offering incentives to those employees who do work during peak times. This should keep agents motivated, even during days where the phone calls seem to never end.
Flexibility is also an important component of effective call center scheduling. Just as some agents won’t want to work peak hours every day, others will want to vary their shifts constantly. Some will wants to work nights one day and then mornings the next. Offering a bit of variety in the scheduling process can help keep agents happy, which ultimately results in better customer interactions. Allowing agents to put in shift requests is always a good option, and some call centers even offer flexible start and end times. Or, better yet, allowing agents to work from home a certain number of times per month is a great way to keep agents happy and working the hours they want.
These may seem like simply suggestions, but you’d be amazed how many call centers give their agents no say in the scheduling process. Happy agents perform better because they actually want to be at work. By giving agents no say in their hours, managers are ultimately creating poor customer service representatives.
Edited by Maurice Nagle