Getting it Right with Call Center Scheduling
In the workplace, people come and go. They may find new opportunities elsewhere. They take time off for family or health issues. Or they may want to get away for a little R&R. At the same time, the work at contact centers rises and falls, sometimes in unpredictable ways.
All of the above can make it a challenge to get contact center staff scheduling just right. But flexible schedules, intraday schedule management, and workforce management systems can help organizations with that, as Jeff Canter, senior vice president of services for inContact, explains in a recent blog.
He begins the conversation by urging contact centers to optimize time. “Before running any schedule, make sure you understand your shrinkage and include that data so your staffing requirements are accurate,” he says. “Shrinkage impacts both scheduling and intraday management, and inaccurate data will invalidate your plan.”
It can also be helpful to partner with operations teams and supervisors to create a plan for addressing staff variances, he says. He also suggests that organizations enter absences as they occur, consider trying flexible schedules and/or part-time shifts, and be prepared in how to deal with overstaffing and understaffing when they occur.
Introducing more flexible contact center schedules doesn’t have to happen all at once or across the board, he says. Instead, organizations can dip a toe in the water to offer just flexible breaks and lunches, he adds. Or they can put only new hires on flexible start times.
Better yet, he says, organizations can use flexible schedules as an incentive. Offering this perk to high performers can build morale and motivate others to improve.
Of course, no system is foolproof. So when overstaffing or understaffing do occur, it’s important for organizations to know what to do.
When a contact center is understaffed, he said, it may want to consider offering overtime. Meanwhile, organizations might consider offering voluntary time off in overstaffing situations, Canter says. Another option on this front, he says, is to provide staff members with other things to do – like watching training videos or completing other tasks – during what would otherwise be downtime.
Edited by Alicia Young