In order to meet customer demands, workforce planners need to make sure they have the right number of agents with the right skill sets available at the right time. And this starts with having the right resource planning techniques in place.
With customer contact channels increasing (email, web chat, SMS etc.), workforce scheduling has become a complex and labour-intensive job. Let’s not forget to throw into the mix variables such as absenteeism, holidays and staff-work preferences. Spreadsheets and Erlang C tables can still work well in helping you schedule if you are a small contact centre.
However, if you’re a contact centre managing multiple different contact and skill types, it’s important to remember that excel will fall short in many areas and this is where you will need to introduce a Workforce Management system.
Tip: If you’re deciding on whether it’s time to move away from spreadsheets, answer these 13 simple questions to help you decide!
Brought to you by our team of experienced WFM consultants, here are our top resource planning techniques to get you through those peaks and troughs:
1.Types of Scheduling To Consider
Considering different types of shift patterns and scheduling can be a huge benefit to ensuring your service levels are being met whilst also providing work patterns that are in line with your employee’s work/life balance. Below we’ve listed the different types of shift patterns and the pros and cons of each for you to consider:
Split Shifts – shifts with an early segment followed by an extended ‘lunch’ (>2hrs) followed by a late segment
- This can help with covering start and end of the day coverage
- Provides flexibility for employees with children at school for example
- Has been shown to be very unpopular with ‘regular’ contact centre workers
- The benefits of the ‘extended lunch’ are more than offset by the disadvantages of the shift span
Rotations / Rotas – employees work a repeating consistent pattern of shifts over a period of multiple weeks
- A well thought out rotation can give excellent shift coverage
- It is the ‘fairest’ and employees can plan their life around work
- Potentially zero ability to react to customer changes without employee agreement
Flexi Shift – contracts are based on allocating hours at short notice to cover peaks
- You get flexibility you need for last minute changes
- Employees have little control and cannot plan their life schedules around work
Shift Trading– Allowing agents of same or similar skills to swap shifts
- You keep control of your schedules
- Employees are given some degree of control over their schedules
- Can penalise highly multi skilled employees
Preference Based Scheduling – Employees express a preference of when they would prefer to work and the WFM application tries to accommodate
- In theory most of the time employees work when best suits their life schedules
- Has been poorly implemented in most systems (e.g. system doesn’t schedule you at all if you do not express a preference; system gives you a random shift if your preference isn’t available rather that ‘next best’)
Tip: When scheduling, make sure you take agent skill, specialisation, preference and type of calls handled into consideration.
2. Scenario Planning
Another popular resource planning technique is scenario planning. Some Workforce Management tools allow you to run ‘what if’ scenarios which will improve your risk level.
An example where running a ‘what if’ scenario can come in handy is when you may have increased demand on the business. Let’s paint a picture – your organisation wants to take on a new contract which will mean demand will increase.
If you win, will your contact centre be able to cope? Do you have the capacity and if not how many more people will you need to make ends meet? Running a ‘what if’ scenario will help you identify the impact this will have on your business such as how much more staff you need and when you will need them.
Here are some more examples where running ‘what if’ scenarios could come in handy:
3.Be Pro-Active For When The Unexpected Occurs
Sometimes, despite factoring in accurate volume and scheduling in your contact centre, life is unpredictable and the unforeseen can always occur. Here are some resource planning techniques to keep in mind for when this happens:
Regardless of the industry you operate in, there are changing expectations from consumers. Consumers are demanding a level of service which is above and beyond and they will not settle for much less. Smart businesses have come to realise that improving their resource planning capabilities and looking for feature rich technologies such as Workforce Management to help them do just this, sits high on the list of variables paving the way for exceptional customer experience.
If your looking for advice on your resource planning strategy, our team of experienced WFM consultants will be able to help so get in touch today.
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Publish Date: March 13, 2020 5:00 AM
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CCube for Business Intelligence
CCube by Comsys is a business intelligence application, developed for enterprise contact centers. It delivers powerful, and dynamic reporting that enable managers to gain insight into their business. CCube is natively compatible with Aspect Unified IP and Cisco Unified Contact Center (UCCE/UCCX) platforms
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