How Do You Handle Today’s Schedule Exception?

It’s a situation that a call center manager faces every week – in larger call centers, it probably happens every day. You prepare to start a shift and realize that one or more agents forecasted and scheduled to work will not be coming in today. What should that manager do?

If he (or she) is using spreadsheets for scheduling, panic might be a good first step. But with the right workforce management (WFM) software, not only is the crisis averted, it never becomes a crisis at all. Choose a WFM solution with an Exceptions feature that streamlines the tracking process on no-show employees. Once the missing agent is noted, the list of assigned employees is automatically adjusted accordingly. This same capability also covers agents who miss part of their shift, either through a training session, a special project, or just because they were late. And for those enterprising agents that work overtime, their efforts are recorded automatically as well. Such data is about more than just staffing; it’s about measuring productivity, and making sure the records accurately reflect how many agents were taking calls at any specific moment of any specific day. By getting those numbers right, it’s much easier to create forecasts and schedules that match caller demand and other call center needs. For instance – perhaps you have discovered that customers waited an average of 60 seconds longer for an agent between 1pm and 1:30 on a Wednesday. A spreadsheet might just show 20 agents working that half-hour. But WFM data will show that two agents didn’t start their shift until 1:10, since the lunch service was slow at Olive Garden that afternoon. Now you know that only 18 agents were at their desks, which likely accounted for the delays. With a few clicks, a workforce management system delivers information about employee status and availability, and the schedule exceptions that are critical for accurate future planning. For more information, please watch this video about schedule exception planning and management.

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