How to Optimize Call Center Scheduling
Sometimes doing call center scheduling can be like herding cats. There are a lot of different factors to consider and techniques to apply. And there are a variety of players to wrangle.
For example, you have to staff so the call center can adequately address changes in call volumes. You need to schedule agents who are equipped with the skills to serve customers using the channels they prefer and that your call center supports. You need to know when call center agents are available for work. And it’s great if you also know what their preferences are in terms of shift times and lengths.
That said, it can be extremely helpful to have systems and processes in place to optimize agent call center scheduling.
The first thing you’ll want do if you’re still using spreadsheets for scheduling is to stop doing that. Instead, consider adopting automated solutions that allow for more accurate forecasting and, thus, better scheduling.
Such solutions can also help enable real-time scheduling changes. They can allow call center agents to enter their scheduling preferences. And they can enable call center managers to build schedules with that in mind.
Scheduling and forecasting systems also help businesses more effectively analyze performance and work to improve it. It can reveal details about call metrics, after call work, time spent training, break duration, and more. And call centers can monitor such metrics in real time and adjust schedules as needed.
But it’s not just about metrics, optimizing call center scheduling is also about communicating, taking agent needs into consideration, and recruiting and organizing staff in the appropriate way.
That should include educating call center agents about your scheduling policy. That said, it’s great to give agents options. For example, offering flexible start and end times, and providing agents with the ability to use self-service tools to change or swap shifts can add to scheduling efficiency and build agent engagement.
When hiring, make sure your candidates of choice can be available when you’ll need them. Always schedule a core group of top agents to work during peak times.
Offer incentives for them to work during peak periods. And keep some agents on call in case volumes are greater than expected.
Edited by Mandi Nowitz