If you are planning to work in a call center, either as a supervisor or as a manager, scheduling your employees is going to be one of your most tedious tasks to accomplish. Generally, a call center operates in two environments, single queue and multi-queue. Here are some tips to make your employee schedules a lot easier to supervise or to manage:
Know the specific skills of each of your employees. Yes, each of them. Why? In a call center, each queue pertains to an employee. However, an employee, depending on his skills and trainings, can handle or be assigned two or more queues. So, you need to be familiar with your employees and see who among them are cross-trained. They are the ones who can be considered to cover for two or more queues. Don’t forget that your primary task is to assign your employees to the queue and not the other way around.
Plan your schedule. Begin by identifying the number of hours that you need per queue. Then, determine how many employees you are going to assign to conveniently cover the queues that you have just identified. After that, find out how you can maximize your manpower pool. Who do you think can be scheduled to take two or more queues as required by our work plan?
In special cases, some queues are isolated. That’s due to your contract specifications with your clients. However, if your call center permits cross-trained employees to take two or more queues, as long as they are available for it, you may do so.
Know your peak hours. You can do this per queue. For example, you found out that calls become heavy around lunch time, say between 12 nn and 2 pm, then, adjust lunches before that. If you have an employee who reports at 5am, then, his lunch should be by 10 am. He can basically help cover the peak hours before finishes his day by 2pm.
Schedule most of your employees during peak calling periods. You need to serve your clients, not your employees or yourself. You don’t want your clients to be staying or holding the line forever because your employees are still out and enjoying a nice, relaxed lunch. That’s an easy way to lose your business.
Format your schedule details. The easiest to do is the Microsoft Excel. Simply open a spreadsheet.
Show that you are the schedule master. Your employees may flood you with personal requests, adjusting their schedules to fit their routines. Manage this properly. Explain tactfully that schedules are meant to address the needs of the company’s daily operations, not theirs. Say firmly that you are simply doing your job and making sure that they are around when those important calls come around.
If you need to further polish your scheduling skills, get assistance from your telecommunications department. They have statistical reports that can help you figure out some ways to improve your manning plan. Using a software may be very costly.