This category takes a close look at agents’ perceptions regarding the scheduling function - - its fairness and its ability to facilitate a balance between work and personal life. It also addresses senior management’s effectiveness in ensuring that required support resources in other departments are made available during holidays.
The questions in this category all attracted very similar numbers right across the spectrum of satisfaction scores. The relatively modest differences that exist show that there is slightly more satisfaction with the method used to determine work schedules, and less with the ability to balance work with the demands of family.
Scheduling shifts in general, and assuring coverage during night hours, weekends and holidays, has always been a major challenge for managers who are not fortunate enough to have a simple Monday-through-Friday, 9-to-5 scheduling situation. Making sure that there is appropriate support from other parts of the organization to satisfy callers during off periods can be even more difficult. We did not expect to see this category at the top of the satisfaction scale.
There are several take-away concepts that our experience indicates can help those who are struggling with these issues. One, be completely honest and open with candidates about schedules before you hire them as agents. Also, have a workforce scheduling system that is appropriately sophisticated for your operations and is accessible by your agents. Have an easy-to-access system of shift assignments (whether bid-based or otherwise) that allows agents to feel they have as much control as possible over their lives.
Flex schedules are a popular way to open options to meet call demand. You may consider changing to a 40-hours-in 4-days schedule, or shift to a later start day for full 10-hour coverage on peak days. (See also CallTalk Caramel: WFM – Where Workforce Management Meets Workforce Morale: Lessons You Can Use.)
Consider also a) part-time agents, b) remote agents, and c) outsourced service providers to handle excess workflow and ease the burden on agents in house.
Pay differentials and other incentives, obviously, can also increase satisfaction with staffing unattractive shifts.
· Abandon calls
· Occupancy or Availability time
· Utilization of Agents on calls
* My Agent Voices blog posts are the result of research on over 5,000 agent surveys conducted in North America. - - Bruce Belfiore