Tips on Optimizing Call Center Schedules
It’s not easy being a contact center agent.
There’s very little down time. Frustrated callers can be difficult to handle or even downright cruel. And inflexible people and systems can make agents feel unappreciated.
This illustrates why call center employee churn is often high. And that translates into additional recruitment and training costs for call centers. Plus it means that call center facilities are staffed with less experienced agents.
The good news is that processes and solutions are available to allow for greater agent scheduling flexibility – and to enable call centers to make the most of their resources. Jeff Canter, senior vice president of services for inContact, mentions a few of them in his recent Contact Center Pipeline piece.
Asking agents what shifts they’d prefer is a foolproof way of both giving them a sense of greater control, and gaining insight into their desires and productivity suggestions, Canter notes.
Allowing for more flexible schedules, even if an organization doesn’t make that change across the board at one time, is another thing call centers may want to consider, he adds. For example, he says, the call center may want to institute, or at least test, introducing part time shifts. He adds that a so-called slope schedule could enable a call center to increase agent hours during the course of the week, assuming the call center’s volume increases later in the week.
Of course, intraday scheduling is a way to address volume variations within the call center’s day. “Partner with the operations team and supervisors to develop an action plan for dealing with staffing variances,” Canter suggests. “This will alleviate the need to get approval or consensus in most situations, allowing the [workforce management] team to take rapid action to deal with the variance because prior approval has been granted.”
Edited by Mandi Nowitz