The scheduling of agents in a call center can have a major impact on the operation's success. In particular, agent scheduling can have a tremendous impact on customer service and satisfaction levels. Your loyal customers are the key to your financial success as a company, so it’s important that effectively manage the schedule of each of your agents. In this post, we’ll share our top 10 essential call center scheduling tips so you can implement them in your business and experience the benefits of a fully-staffed workforce.
Keep an Agent's Availability in Mind
One of the biggest things you need to keep in mind when scheduling your agents is their availability. If you find that you have gaps in your schedule where agents aren’t available, hire agents that can cover these times. You want to ensure that you’re fully staffed so your customers never experience the strain of an understaffed support team.
Offer Benefits for Agents Working Undesirable Shifts
As a business, there are shifts or hours that you’re open that may be undesirable for an agent to work. Holidays and late-night shifts are just a few examples. Incentivize your agents to work these shift so you’re not only fully staffed during these times, but your agents are happy to be working for extra pay.
Make Sure You Account for All Skills Needed During a Shift
Scheduling your agents is not just having bodies in seats, ready to answer the phone. It’s about making sure you have specifically skilled agents working during the times they’re most needed. Make sure you either have enough trained agents to work, or you cross-train your employees to cover any gaps you may have.
Test Your System
One way to make sure your scheduling tactics are working well is to test your system. Consider making test phone calls (as if you were a customer) to see if your needs can be addressed with the way agents are currently scheduled. Call in with different problems at different times to ensure the agents with the skills needed are always available and that you’re helped quickly.
Consider Scheduling Agents On-Call
With on-call shifts, you can give your agents more time off, but ensure that you're fully staffed at all times. During these shifts, agents should know that they may be called in to work in case you’re experiencing a busy time, but they have the benefit of knowing they make actually have the day off.
Breaks May Need to Be Specifically Scheduled
A lot of times, businesses don’t specifically schedule breaks for their employees. Instead, they’re taken as needed. If you’re having scheduling issues, however, planning out your agents’ break times may be helpful. This will let you see exactly where gaps are and when certain agents will be available.
Time of Day Routing Can Be a Useful Tool
The automation tools that come with your call center software solution can also help you with scheduling your agents. Time of day routing is one tool that can help you ensure that customers will reach an agent available in their time zone, regardless of where they are in the world.
Watch Your Metrics and Track KPIs
Call center software also offers call reporting tools that can help you track your metrics and measure KPIs. Factors like average hold time can tell you a lot about your scheduling needs. For example: if hold times are long during a particular time period, you may need to consider scheduling more agents during this time.
Forecasting Can Help You Plan for the Future
As a call center manager, you’ll start to recognize trends in your business. This information can help you forecast for the future. You need to plan for times where you expect an influx of calls and then, schedule your workforce during these times. You also want to forecast for times when you may be slow and thus, you can let agents have time off.
Clearly Define Each Agents’ Role
An important part of scheduling agents to work is letting them know what their role is during their shift. Are they focused on one specific trouble-shooting topic? Or are they playing a general “catch-all” customer service role? Make sure agents know what to expect before they walk into their shift so they’re prepared for that day’s events.
The 10 tips above are provided because they can have positive impacts on scheduling of your call center agents. You want to make sure you’re fully staffed with knowledgeable and successfully trained agents so your customers are getting the best service possible. Consider implementing a few of these suggestions in your all center and experience the benefits of true schedule adherence.