On Dec, 17 2021
Any contact center workforce management (WFM) analyst has experienced a day like the one below. You sit down at your desk ready to start another morning, coffee in hand, and the schedule has been turned upside down. One agent is running late, another is out sick, and two agents thought they swapped shifts but confused the dates. Instead of getting to work on planned activities for the next month, your morning is spent fixing these agent issues.
A scenario like the one above is a major reason why so many contact centers have turned to automated scheduling solutions within their WFM software. Below are a few reasons why automated workforce scheduling remains a secret weapon for success in any contact center.
Immediate schedule changes – With automated scheduling the days of playing phone tag with agents to fill a shift are a thing of the past. Solutions such as automated schedule adjustment plans (ASAP) for intraday management can be initiated when an agent calls in sick so a mobile notification is pushed to all qualified agents letting them know that work is available.
Improved agent communication – Even the best agents can run into scheduling issues because of poor communication. Automated technology greatly improves both scheduling accuracy and communication. Agents can see in real-time if a shift change went through or when a time off request was accepted. Best of all, these scheduling updates are available both within an agent portal and a WFM mobile app. Working through WFM software to meet the scheduling needs of agents is ideal because it keeps all of the communication in one place.
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A modern approach to agent monitoring – Automated scheduling capabilities don’t stop when an agent shows up to work. Solutions such as the automated schedule attendance monitor (ASAM) allow WFM analysts to know at any time which agents are late and which agents are clocked in and working. It’s a great way to understand how your schedule is performing throughout the day and if any changes need to be made.
A boost to agent morale and efficiency – Leveraging automated solutions for scheduling can also be utilized to improve agent relationships. For example, instead of dictating schedules to agents, a solution such as shift bidding can be implemented. This allows agents to choose specific blocks of shifts they prefer to work during an upcoming week via a bid process. The bidding process can even include unique options to prioritize seniority or performance metrics. Contact centers can also improve agent morale by keeping track of which channels (phone, email, chat) an agent prefers to work on and scheduling them on their preferred channel as much as possible. Implementing the right technology to keep your agent retention rate high can make all the difference within a contact center.
To summarize, automated workforce scheduling is a secret weapon for contact center success because the technology is a way to strengthen communication, operations, and agent relationships. A contact center risks overspending and running off their best agents if they continue to work through scheduling in a manual way, even if their current method is functional. It’s important make the most of automated scheduling sooner than later to keep up with both the customer and employee experiences offered by competitors.