Vital Call Center Scheduling Tips
Proper scheduling in a call center can make or break the efficiency for the day. More so, it can directly impact the customer service level delivered. Whether it is an availability issue, understaffing, overstaffing, or lack of teamwork, keeping agents happy is key to a productive call center; scheduling is central to that. How can a manager handle scheduling in a more effective manner?
Always make sure to follow an agent’s availability. By scheduling outside of availability, a call center runs the risk of being short-staffed and having no-show agents, which only adds unnecessary stress onto the team.
There will always be shifts that no one wants to work, especially in 24/7, 365 day a year call centers. Overnights and holidays may be undesirable but to keep quality and customer service up, scheduling the best agents can be advantageous. Offering benefits such as time and a half or double time is a great incentive while keeping momentum up.
On-call agents are an essential scheduling practice. It gives the security of knowing the call center will always have a full house. The agents are aware that they could be called in, but will be given enough notice if they are not needed. In the rare event that an on-call agent is needed at the very last minute, throwing in a gift certificate or letting the agent pick their on-call shifts for the following week is good incentive to show appreciation.
Being fully staffed is great but what about being fully skilled? Ensure the full staff is mixed with agents of all skill sets, even cross-skilled to handle all issues that come across the table.
Call center software measures KPIs. These statistics can alert management to wait times so peak hours can be scheduled more efficiently; it’s about alleviating the gaps. That is also where forecasting can be beneficial. Tracking trends will allow the scheduler to prepare for peak times.
Finally, role playing should occur on a constant basis, especially with the holidays coming up. More customers will be calling with issues and concerns so it is best to ensure agent’s preparedness. Make mock calls and give different instances to see how each agent handles the caller. By doing this, employers can see who needs more training while seeing who is best adept at handling all issues. Those are the agents that can be scheduled any time of day.