Workforce Management Feature Article
February 03, 2012
Maximize Your Workforce Management Investment with a Flexible Shift Model
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
As a call center manager, you spend most of your time coaching agents, monitoring calls, checking performance levels and reporting on key performance indicators. With so much to do, you rarely have time for forecasting and scheduling activities. In an ideal world, you should be able to build out your schedule on a spreadsheet and expect smooth operations. In reality, you need workforce management.
This Monet Software blog explores the challenges of the call center environment and why workforce management as a key technology investment is essential. The reality in this market is that no organization can afford to let their customer service or quality initiatives slide. Every call, every customer interaction and every dollar counts.
To help streamline the scheduling process and allow you to gain the most value from your workforce management investment, Monet Software has created a list of seven best practices for call center scheduling. The purpose of this list is to help you keep the call center running efficiently, while also maintaining service levels, revenue growth and the customer base.
For our purposes, let’s look only at one of Monet’s tips for best practices, namely the implementation of a flexible shift model. Every call center environment can benefit from the flexible shift model, but how do you effectively manage this model with a spreadsheet approach? You could find yourself spending too much of the workday managing the schedule instead of the call center. Workforce management allows you to automate many of the scheduling processes, significantly cutting down on the amount of time spent on the schedule itself.
With the flexible shift model, you can easily allow for variations in call volumes. You no longer need to implement fixed starting times, lunch breaks, end times, training sessions, etc. that can lead to over-staffing and higher costs or under-staffing and lower service levels and revenues. Workforce management allows for the implementation of the flexible shift model as it supports the automation of specific scheduling activities.
Simply implementing a flexible shift model with a workforce management platform is not enough, however. You’re making a change within your environment and that change must be managed effectively. Therefore, the first step is to ask and inform your agents, surveying them about their preferences and needs.
When you have effectively matched their needs with the needs of the business, you can then begin to gradually implement a flexible shift model. Consider offering a bonus program for those willing to be flexible. Over time, you’ll be ready to move everyone to the flexible schedule, but be patient – not everyone likes change.
Making such a change not only brings more value from your workforce management investment, it can also increase your service levels by one to two percent, producing a similar rate of savings in terms of personnel costs. Such savings alone are enough to investigate the potential for workforce management and the flexible schedule within your environment.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, happening NOW in Miami, FL. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO registration click here.
Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.
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 Rich Steeves