Workforce Management Feature Article
September 14, 2011
Migrate to a Flexible Shift Model to Drive Effective Workforce Management
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Have you motivated your call center team today? Have you helped to create excitement about a campaign? Are your agents excited about showing up for work every day? If you can’t answer to the affirmative on these questions, it may be time to implement workforce management.
Monet Software offers a full range of solutions designed specifically for the dynamic call center. This recent blog highlights the importance of implementing the right strategy for workforce management, including software solutions that help you to schedule according to your needs, as well as those of your agent base.
This is not to suggest that scheduling for the call center is an easy task; on the contrary, scheduling a full staff of multi-skilled individuals to handle call volume forecasted on historic and campaign data is nothing short of an interesting dance. Monet Software suggests that making this process a little easier could start with a workforce management focus on the flexible shift model.
The flexible shift model serves as a viable alternative to the standard 8AM – 5PM followed by all agents on the floor. The flexible shift model enables you to derive more value from your workforce management platform as you can easily schedule agents according to anticipated volumes instead of the traditional workday. Agents can be scheduled for a later start time or a later stop time, according to your forecasting models.
The flexible shift model also allows you to more easily schedule around lunch breaks, training and coaching sessions and requested time off. This approach to workforce management helps to prevent over-staffing, which can result in higher costs, and under-staffing, which can result in lower service levels and revenues.
While this approach to workforce management can produce significant benefits for your call center, it can also be a challenge to implement if you don’t follow the proper steps. Survey your agents regarding preferences and personal needs. If you work with them to match those needs, they feel like a more valuable member of the team. This form of motivation can be one of the most successful.
Next, take the gradual approach to implementation. It can be frustrating for your agents to adjust to a rapid change, even if it provides them with clear benefits. The gradual approach also allows you to measure the success of this workforce management strategy. Consider offering a bonus program, one that provides incentive for those who go to a flexible model. You can also gradually add new agents that want flexibility in their schedules. Over time you can move the entire call center, enjoying greater success with the migration.
Believe it or not, this change in your workforce management can measurably improve your operation and reduce your costs. What else would you expect from a call center solution?
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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell