Why Flexible Shift Scheduling is Now Essential | Workforce Management Blog

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Why Flexible Shift Scheduling is Now Essential

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

Ask a contact center manager what his (or her) agents want most from their jobs, and you might get answers like “more money” or “not having to be yelled at by angry callers.”

But a recent poll found that 43% of agents would actually choose the ability to control their shifts over an increase in salary.

That should be greeted favorably at contact centers. It doesn’t cost you any more to utilize flexible shift schedules, and doing so may not only help you keep your best agents, it will also help you to save money by utilizing agents on more part-time shifts, so they can work when they are needed.

And it’s not just good news for the budget. Based on feedback we’ve received from many of our clients, it seems those that opt for flexible shifts are seeing positive results, including fewer incidents of overstaffing and understaffing and increased service levels.

When shifts are created based on forecasted caller demand, there is less likelihood of agents having too many calls to handle, or having nothing to do while getting paid. Service levels go up because shifts are staffed and timed to meet customer demand. And when agents have some say in which shifts they are assigned, they find it easier to balance work, school and home life obligations, and are likely to stay longer with a job that fits their lifestyle. 

Ready to make the switch? Here’s how to get started. 

First, use the WFM data you’ve collected to determine what type of shifts best fit the call patterns at your contact center. 

The variations here are infinite – perhaps you’ll need 8 hours on peak days and 7 hours the rest of the week, or four 6-hour shifts and three 4-hour shifts. The idea is always to schedule more hours at peak times and fewer on slower shifts or days.

As you make the transition, keep your agents informed, and invite their input into which schedules they would find easier to work. Offer incentives to fill out the tougher shifts.

And make the change gradually so everyone has time to adjust. New hires, of course, will acclimate more quickly. Once you have the flexible shifts in place, you may wish to tweak the schedule from time to time if your call volume varies by season, or based upon other variables.  

If you do switch from a fixed to a flexible schedule, let us know how it works out!

Workforce management delivers the data that makes flexible shifts possible – find out more.

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