Showing posts with label intra-day scheduling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label intra-day scheduling. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Call Center Management Throughout the Day - What’s Important?

Annual stats, monthly stats, weekly stats, daily stats – all of this information is important for tracking progress on quality assurance and customer satisfaction goals.

But when you review the daily stats, you may find situations where a real-time response could have improved customer service, rather than finishing a shift with a staffing issue. All it takes is a few hours to lose a lot of customers.

That’s why it is critical for call center management to also keep track of key metrics throughout the course of the day. It’s a practice made considerably easier through workforce management software. Dashboards provide visual displays of call center data, providing insight into every key WFM process:
  • Forecasts – did unforeseen circumstances render your predictions inaccurate?
  • Schedules – Too many agents this shift? Not enough? Did more agents than expected call in sick?
  • Adherence – Are one-hour lunch breaks becoming 90-minute breaks? Did an agent leaves ten minutes before his shift was over?
Workforce management dashboards provide call center management with an instant snapshot of what is happening at every moment throughout the day. Now you have the information you need to make changes before the customer experience can be affected.

To find our more, check out Monet’s intra-day workforce management demo.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Call Center Schedule Exceptions

Handling exceptions is a key component to workforce schedule compliance. Exceptions must be managed in a way the minimizes their impact on productivity and availability, since both will have a negative impact on service levels and also quality of service.

There are four types of exceptions:

Pre-planned
These would include vacation days, training days and work time spent on other necessities such as team meetings.

Unplanned
Sick days and downtime due to technical issues would qualify as unplanned exceptions.

Unplanned but pre-approved
These are schedule deviations initiated by management to maintain performance levels.

Unplanned and not pre-approved
These tend to be reactionary, caused by meetings that run long or added coaching sessions.

Regardless of the exception type, the goal remains the same – customer service consistency and meeting company goals for schedule adherence.

call center schedule exception calendar - Monet Software
Call Center Schedule Exception Calendar







 
This can be achieved with workforce management software, which provides real-time adherence data that streamlines call center schedule exception tracking, making it easier for managers to maintain service levels, to know which agents are excepted at any given time (and the reason for the exception, whether it’s a day off or time spent in training) and to review reporting data. The solution should also provide an easier method for shift swapping, with management approval.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Call center schedule exception handling made easy

Every day call centers have to deal with exceptions and find a way to minimize the impact on their schedule and service level. There are either planned exceptions such as planned time-off and planned training sessions, or mid-day exceptions that are typically not planned. Let's take a look at some examples and describe how to deal with those.
Call center schedule exceptions handling
Example: Schedule a meeting with multiple agents
while minimizing impact on service levels
  • Agents call in late
  • Agents leave early for emergency
  • Agents leave early with vacation time
  • Agents in training session
  • One on one meeting with supervisor
  • Multiple agent meeting with supervisor
  • Agents staying late for overtime
Many Workforce Management systems have integrated exception planner, that make scheduling agent exceptions such as time off and one-time or recurring training meetings a simple process.  For example Monet WFM Live provides a color-coded availability calendar that displays a real-time summary of time off, making it easy for managers to see whether to grant an agent's time off request.

Complete schedule integration ensures the center will be appropriately staffed if the time off is approved and that you will continually meet service levels. Exceptions can be scheduled far into the future or recorded as recurring exceptions. The Exception Planner has also support for mid-day exceptions too, taking them into account when choosing shifts and scheduling breaks and lunches. A manager can easily schedule an agent to attend a training meeting from 11:00 - 1:00 on the second Friday of every month, or set up a rotating schedule where agents have different days off on alternate weeks. The exception calendar enables managers to see how existing exceptions affect their staff availability. They can select any set of dates from the year and see agent requirements and availability, along with the number of exception hours, broken down both by agent and exception type. This tool is particularly useful when deciding whether or not to grant a vacation request.

Efficient and effective management of exceptions is crucial to achieve and maintain your service level. If you would like to learn more, feel free to watch a demo about intra-day schedule management or contact us.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Schedule adherence alerts - do you get status alerts in real-time?

Schedule adherence tracking and monitoring is important, tracking in real-time is even more important. But, do you get alerts if agents or teams are our of adherence or have a different status than what they should be in? Getting notification in real-time allows you to make changes that have an immediate impact on the call center performance. The faster you can react, the easier it is to achieve and maintain your targeted service level.

Wouldn't it be great to get status alerts based on the various activities and exceptions you have set up? Wouldn't it be nice to define custom states and exceptions that are aligned with your unique call center requirements? Wouldn't it be nice to get either pop-ups, email or text message alerts based on thresholds you set up?

Call center schedule adherence status alerts

There are many scenarios and use cases for an adherence status alert system as you can images, here are just a few examples:

Agents not adhering to schedule: There could be various reasons for out-of-adherence and an alert can help call center managers and supervisors to find out how to improve the situation.


Agents return late from break or lunch: If this happens often, it might have a big impact on your service level. An alert will help solve that problem and establish more discipline. 

Call duration is too long: If a supervisor or subject matter expert is needed when calls exceed a certain threshold, Monet can alert that person to assist on the call.

Agents forgot to log out: A frequent issue that can occur if agents must manually log out at the end of their shift.  This alert will tell the supervisor that an agent has forgotten to log out of the ACD so they can take action. 

If you are interested in learning more about adherence status alerts, please contact us and we are happy to provide you more information and show you a demonstration.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Call Center Schedule 101 - tips, tools and best practices

Every call center has different scheduling requirements. However, there are some tips and best practices that apply to most of them. Here you go:
And finally, if you are looking for a quick summary here is a document with 7 tips for improved scheduling you can download.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How to improve intra-day call center forecasting and scheduling

Fluctuation in call volumes throughout the day is still one of the key challenges in managing a call center. Common questions are: How to update the forecast, how to create a new schedule, and how to staff for this throughout the day? Is there a way to plan for this? Typically, there are two scenarios:
  • There are events that the call center should have known about, but didn’t for various reasons (e.g. was not informed about a campaign, didn’t plan for the event, etc.). Most of the call volume related impact can be avoided through planning – see #1.
  • There are events, mostly external driven , that cannot be planned for (e.g. sudden product issues, weather, catastrophes). Call volume fluctuations due to these external events cannot be planned for, however, constant monitoring and quick action can lower the impact on service levels and customer satisfaction – see #2.

1. Anticipate and plan: Spend time and effort to achieve a more accurate forecast in order to minimize surprises.
  • Learn from the past, anticipate events that might cause call volume fluctuation and stay in constant communication with other departments of your company to avoid call volume “surprises”.
  • Analyze call history to spot “triggers” and anticipate factors that impact call volume
  • Stay in touch with other departments (sales, support, marketing) to make sure you know in advance about events. Educate them about the implication of “surprises” on service levels and customer satisfaction

2. Monitor and act: Establish a dashboard or set up alerts that notify you about unusual or fluctuating call volumes.
  • When you notice that the actual call volume is different from the forecast, you should analyze deviation and trend lines for both, call volume and average handle time.
  • Apply this trend to the next period or rest of day by recalculating the forecast for each interval
  • Then you need to move things around (breaks, training, etc) to adjust the schedule as well.
Finally, investigate to find the cause for the deviation and learn from it. This might help you be better prepared next time, and you might even be able to "build it" it into the forecast. For a short demo of intra-day management and exception handling please visit our website.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The importance of accurate call center forecasting

Accurate forecasting is critical to successfully managing your workforce. In order to meet call demand without under-staffing or over-staffing, you need methods that precisely predicts how many agents are needed to handle the center's contact volume. However, predicting the “future” is challenging. Based on a DMG report in 2010, survey participants listed the following five forecasting challenges:
  • Need to forecast for multiple skill sets
  • Changing business needs negate usefulness of historical volume data
  • Volume driven by external events, not controlled by company
  • Volume is seasonal varies greatly
  • Volume patterns change frequently, making projections difficult
Here are some tips and best practices that might help you:

Develop "what if" scenarios to explore how a change in call volume or service level goals during a specific day or week would affect your center. Read more about “How to forecast special days

Create regular intra-day forecast updates throughout the day, and calculate a new forecast based on what has already occurred to establish trends that will help you in future decisions. Read more about “Intra-day forecasting

Forecast and schedule based on response time and "urgency” of the various channels, such as calls, emails and chat. Read more about “Forecasting for multiple channels

Friday, June 25, 2010

Intra-day call center forecasting and scheduling

Based on a recent survey by DMG consulting, a majority of survey participants indicated that one of their biggest forecasting challenges is related to unpredictable call volume fluctuations. In our recent webinar, we discussed how to deal with these intra-day changes and how to update your forecast.

First, spend some time and effort to achieve an accurate forecast in order to minimize surprises:
  • Analyze call history
  • Anticipate factors that impact call volume
  • Focus on skill level, skill team and interval level
When you notice that the actual call volume is different from the forecast, you should analyze deviation and trend lines for both, call volume and average handle time. Below is an example based on call volume fluctuation:
  • Calls received by 10:30 am 417 calls
  • Usual proportion of call by 10:30 17%
  • Revised call forecast for day = 2,452 calls
Now, apply this trend to the next period or rest of day by recalculating the forecast for each interval:
  • Proportion for 3:30 to 4:00 6.6% (of day)
  • New intra-day forecast for 3:30 to 4:00 = 161 calls
Then you need to move things around (breaks, training, etc) to adjust the schedule as well. Finally, investigate to find the cause for the deviation and learn from it. This might help you be better prepared next time, and you might even be able to "build it" it into the forecast.