Why Contact Centers Should Adopt a Flexible Shift Model – And How to Do It
As every contact center manager knows, there is stuff you can control and stuff you can’t.
You cannot control the number of calls received every day – though a workforce management solution can deliver accurate forecasts to remove much of the guesswork.
But you can control agent start times and end times. It’s up to the manager to decide whether these should be fixed, or if it is preferable to adopt a more flexible shift model.
Based on feedback we’ve received from many of our clients, it seems those that opt for flexible shifts are seeing positive results, including:
- Fewer incidents of overstaffing and understaffing
- Increased service levels
- Lower agent attrition
The reasons for this should be obvious. If shifts are created based on forecasted caller demand, there is less likelihood of agents having too many calls to handle, or having nothing to do while getting paid. Service levels go up because shifts are staffed and timed to meet customer demand. And when agents have some say in which shifts they are assigned, they find it easier to balance work, school and home life obligations, and are likely to stay longer with a job that fits their lifestyle.
Ready to make the switch? Here’s how to get started.
First, use the WFM data you’ve collected to determine what type of shifts best fit the call patterns at your contact center.
The variations here are infinite – perhaps you’ll need 8 hours on peak days and 7 hours the rest of the week, or four 6-hour shifts and three 4 hour shifts. The idea is always to schedule more hours at peak times and fewer on slower shifts or days.
As you make the transition, keep your agents informed, and invite their input into which schedules they would find easier to work. Offer incentives to fill out the tougher shifts. And make the change gradually so everyone has time to adjust. New hires, of course, will acclimate more quickly.
Once you have the flexible shifts in place, you may wish to tweak the schedule from time to time if your call volume varies by season, or based upon other variables.
If you do switch from a fixed to a flexible schedule, let us know how it works out!
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