Call Center Scheduling: 5 Important Tips

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) has been an invaluable resource for helping contact centers get the most out of their agents and managers. Recently, the ICMI offered five valuable tips on call center scheduling that are worth your time. Some of this you may have heard before – but it’s so easy to get off track when sometimes it’s all you can do to keep up with the day-to-day pressures of personnel, technology, forecasts, scheduling and adherence. A refresher course is always welcome. You can click on the link for the full story, but here are the basics: 1. Clarity Senior management, supervisors and agents all need to be pulling in the same direction. That means clearly delineated procedures and professional values that will guide the schedule-making process, and contingency plans for when a schedule goes awry. Having these conversations first can resolve numerous issues later on. 2. Testing Sample schedules and dry-run scenarios can be useful in testing schedule accuracy and catching problems before they impact customer service. Experiment with different alternatives until you find one that achieves all of your objectives. 3. Inclusion Scheduling should incorporate not just calls, but all of the activities and practices associated with that process, as well as other projects that require time from your agents or managers. 4. Conflict Resolution Scheduling is never immune to issues from agents, new product/service launches, unforeseen changes in shifts and other outside factors. How well a contact center adjusts to these scheduling challenges will indicate whether it is performing well. However, if conflicts become too frequent, that suggests a systemic issue that should be corrected. 5. Flexibility Related to #4 above, scheduling should be fluid but not so loose as to create confusion. Adjust schedule horizons as needed if those created two weeks away frequently prove inaccurate, take agent preferences into account when possible, and have alternatives in place before they become necessary. If you would like to learn how to implement these tips, please also watch our workforce management videos and see how clarity, testing, inclusion, conflict resolution and flexibility are “built-in”.