Call Center Agent Shift Swapping
Shift swapping is an inevitable occurrence at every call center, and is one of the more significant agent staffing challenges that management must oversee. In general, allowing agents to swap shifts solves more problems than it creates. With this arrangement, agents have more control over their working hours, and that flexibility can encourage employee loyalty. However, if this privilege is abused, it can lead to staffing confusion, lower productivity, a shortage of agents for unpopular shifts, and inconsistent customer service. Agent Staffing Solutions While shift swapping should be offered as an option, some center without the right processes in place try to discourage this. They achieve this by built-in incentives for agents to work the shifts to which they are assigned, and by limiting swaps to, say, three a month or five in each quarter. Call centers should have a reliable process in place that tracks shifts and instances of shift swapping. This will not only make the process easier for agents and management, it provides managers with insight into which agents may be abusing this privilege, and how working different shifts impacts an agent’s job performance. While some last-minute shift swaps are unavoidable, as emergencies do happen, a center should require that agents request swaps at least three or five days in advance. That way, managers can adjust schedules accordingly so productivity is not impacted. For example, if an agent who is particularly adept at handling customer complaints swaps shifts with an agent who is not as qualified in this situation, the call center may wish to bring in another agent from a different shift with that same specialty. The ultimate objective is to satisfy the needs of the center and the needs of the employees, and to make any staffing changes as convenient as possible. The Role of Workforce Management Software Shift swaps are yet another function that should be handled through a workforce management solution – through a simple self-service tool that includes shift bidding. An effective system will allow agents to search for shifts to swap, and instantly know if there is a conflict with their arrangement. Supervisors will then have the ability to approve or reject the swap request, and find out if there are any issues with weekly minimum or maximum restrictions on work hours should the swap be approved. To learn more about agent shift swapping and supervisor collaboration, please follow this link to our main website. With effective workforce management, the system that allows shift swaps should be efficient, transparent and controlled by management with the limitations necessary to maintain service standards.
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