Optimizing Call Center Agent Productivity with Scheduling
It was Al Pacino who once claimed that football, like life, is a game of inches. Simply put, in a world of big ideas and dreams, it is often the little things that end up making a world of difference. This logic can also be applied to contact centers. When looking for an edge, sometimes managers should focus not on mass overhauls, but smaller tweaks to their scheduling that can put their agents in the best possible position for success. While no method is foolproof, there are some things that managers can try that have shown success in the past.
Utilizing regular competition can be a great tool to increase productivity. Humans are competitive by nature, and will push each other to work harder and at higher quality in a competition setting. Having a weekly, monthly or quarterly contest (for example, who can resolve an issue within a single call most frequently) and making the results of those contests public will yield more effort and better results. Scheduling time into the workday (perhaps the last Friday of the month) to review the contest results and celebrate the winners can go a long way in increasing productivity.
In a similar vein, transparency with regard to data analytics can also be valuable. Data analysis of customer interactions provides a wealth of information about length of interaction, subject matter discussed, and sticking points. Displaying this information publicly and allotting meeting time to discuss it will work similarly to the scheduled competitions to motivate agents to improve themselves. In addition, having more eyes on all of this data will make it easier for agents to improve their own craft by being able to visualize the struggles of others and the group as a whole.
A final approach that managers can consider is one that seems simple but is all too often overlooked: allowing time in the schedule for short breaks. People generally do not like to sit still for extended periods of time, and as a result get fidgety and frustrated. This can especially be true when dealing with customers. Building an understanding into the schedule that it is okay for agents to sometimes take a few minutes to stretch their legs or get some fresh air will help to reduce stress and lead to a healthier work environment and better customer interactions.
None of these changes would be considered sweeping or revolutionary. However, they can yield large benefits to the productivity of the call center. Managers should consider trying some of these techniques in their contact centers and see what gets them the best results.
Edited by Alicia Young