Better Scheduling = Better Call Centers
Call center scheduling is like juggling plates. It involves lots of moving pieces. And if you don’t do it just right, things can really fall apart.
That’s why call center agent scheduling is so important. And it’s why call centers need to use scheduling tools in the most effective way.
Only that way will businesses benefit from call centers that
• deliver the best possible customer experience,
• ensure adequate staffing at all times,
• get the most value out of their resources,
• have the right people with the right skillsets in place to get the job done,
• keep their employees engaged, and
• provide the information and tools to keep everyone on the same page.
Making sure you have enough warm bodies to address incoming calls is table stakes, of course. But even something as simple as that can be a real challenge in call center environments.
Absenteeism in call centers is high. So is agent churn.
But effective call center scheduling can address both of the above, and help encourage employee engagement and great customer experiences.
For example, call centers can provide agents with a mobile app through which they can easily check their schedules. Apps can also enable agents to input time off requests. These requests can be for a sick day, a future event like vacation, or whatever else.
And call centers can employ mobile apps to send agents alerts when new workshifts become available. That way they can easily reach agents where they are and in real time. And agents can quickly and easily respond if they are available for work.
Providing this measure of control and information can make agents feel more invested in their work. That’s important, because employees who have a sense of empowerment tend to be happier in their work. And happy employees tend to make for happy companies.
Call centers might also consider to offering agents flexible start and end times for their shifts. And they can allow agents to work remotely when it makes sense.
Cloud- and IP-based solutions now provide call centers with the ability to enable agents to work from home. That benefits agents by providing them with greater flexibility and no commuting costs. And it benefits call centers by expanding their pool of agent candidates, and bringing agents online faster when call volumes are higher than expected. That’s because agents won’t have to travel to a physical office before beginning a new shift.
This can also help businesses ensure they can call on their top-performing agents during peak calling times. Whether top agents work remotely or at the physical call center, it’s important to have some of them involved during peak times.
Only then can call centers deliver the best possible experiences to the large numbers of callers. That said, call centers will want to consider using incentives to get their top performers to work during peak call volume times.
Recording and analyzing call metrics to assess average speed to answer, call abandonment, and first call resolution can help call center managers identify their top performers. That can also provide valuable data on what kind of calls various agents are the most skilled at addressing. And call center managers can then leverage this intelligence both in their scheduling and by doing skill-based routing.
Edited by Mandi Nowitz