Aspect Software’s most recent Contact Center agent survey listed agents’ top factors that drive their sense of engagement: Work/life balance came in 3rd, two spots above competitive wage with flexible work schedule not far behind.

 

A skilled scheduling team can do great work with spreadsheets, but when you add a best-fit Workforce Management tool, you open up new possibilities for truly transformational improvements in agent satisfaction. Adding more flexibility to the scheduling process can help agents find that work/life balance they want, but contact centers still need to maintain the right staffing levels to achieve their service goals. The right WFM tool can help you find the right balance.

 

More options in the scheduling process – Agents can feel more engaged when they feel more control over and connection with their work lives. You’ve forecasted the staffing levels to meet your service goals, and you can control the methods you use to fill those staffing levels. The right tools can add new options that might not have been feasible in the past.

  • Preference-Based Scheduling – Allowing agents some input into the scheduling process can be a very effective way to make agents feel more involved and invested. You can reward experienced senior employees with schedules build on their preferences for days worked and start times, or add another layer by adding performance scores to the mix as an incentive for above-average work. You can take a subset of agent and create preference-based schedules as a base, then building rules-based schedules on top to make sure all your requirements are covered.
  • Dynamic Scheduling – For flex agents or work-at-home agents, could you increase your options for schedule flexibility? If your work-at-home agents would like to work some hours in the morning, some in the afternoon or some in the evening, it could be a win-win for them and you. Giving them a schedule that better fits their lives while allowing you to have them working at the busiest times of your day without having to keep them on the clock at slower times when they aren’t needed. With manual scheduling, the logistics are daunting; but the right WFM tool can help you break down your staffing requirements into configurable blocks and then present the available blocks to agents so they can effectively build their own schedules.  
  • Shift Bids – Many contact centers use shift bidding to fill schedules and give agents a method to move from less-favored schedules to ones they like better when those schedules become available. But creating and executing a shift bid can be extremely time-consuming when done manually, limiting the frequency you can offer new bids, which limits the chances your agents have to move to a schedule they like. Having a WFM tool that helps automate this process means that you can offer shift bids more often, not only assisting agents to feel more involved, but also giving you the chance to use fresher schedules that are a more optimal fit for your current business requirements.

 

More options for intra-day changes – Agents want flexibility when it comes to meeting their need for planned time off as well as accommodating things that come up at the last minute.

  • Automated Vacation – Rather than going through a cumbersome process of contacting a manager to find out if vacation time is available, sending emails to the scheduling team, then waiting for those extremely busy people to have a chance to respond, an agent using an automated WFM request process can see available vacation hours and use self-service tools to enter vacation requests that are processed in a fraction of the time. Agents feel more control over their vacation strategy, team supervisors don’t need to stop what they’re doing to deal with vacation requests, and the scheduling team knows that staffing levels are protected against any accidental overpromising of vacation or feelings that favoritism is used in the process.
  • Ease of VTO and VOT – Some agents look for any opportunity for overtime, and others might need to leave early to deal with family emergencies; either way, it’s another opportunity to satisfy your requirements and satisfy agents at the same time. When you’re busier than expected and need additional agents, the right WFM tool can help you identify the agents who want overtime, while still tracking who is working OT and setting any limits to avoid giving too much OT to the same people. Similarly, you can make voluntary time off available to agents who need it, alleviating unexpected overstaffing by allowing those agents to request VTO though an automated process that gets them off the clock sooner and saving the contact center unnecessary staffing costs.  
  • Automated Trades – Opening the shift swap process to larger groups of agents, even agents at different sites means more opportunities for trades for your agents; but it also brings more complexity. An automated tool can keep tight control over the trade process, allowing agents to have more possible trade partners while automatically checking skill compatibility, staffing levels, protecting against overtime, controlling the number of times agents are trading, and other configurable rules that you would otherwise have to check manually. As with automated vacation request, agents get a response faster, and all users can be alerted so they can keep an eye on the trade process.

 

Mobile Access

Many agents would love 24/7 mobile access to their schedules, vacation requests, and trades; the newest generation of agents may even expect that they will be able to interact with their work schedules anytime from their phones. A Mobile WFM app can add another level of agent satisfaction to your scheduling process by making all of your schedule optimization efforts accessible even when agents aren’t online at work. This can be extremely helpful in streamlining and automating your callout process when agents can’t make it to work, as well as allowing you to communicate things like overtime availability to agents who might be willing to start work early if you need them. Shift bidding can be facilitated if you give agents the ability to meet their bid window even if they aren’t at work.

 

Added options for schedule flexibility is just one way that a best-fit Workforce Management tool can make a real difference to your agents’ satisfaction with their jobs, helping you keep your top performers and attract new talent. Contact us or email the Call Design team today to find out how we can help make it happen for you!