by Bob Webb, VP, Pipkins
The at-home agent model has dramatically changed call centers and created a shift in scheduling. Gone are the days when supervisors had to manually create, print and distribute new intra-day schedules and talk to agents individually to solicit overtime hours. With technology now enabling self-scheduling, holiday planning is easier.
For centers employing or considering integrating remote agents, benefits include a larger labor pool with more scheduling flexibility. Remote agents can be located anywhere in the country and are available for hard-to-fill time slots, especially beneficial for accommodating holiday schedules. Self-service scheduling tools enable them to pick and choose blocks of time in which they build their own shifts according to established company rules, business needs and staffing requirements. While it simplifies the process, supervisors are still responsible for ensuring their centers are properly staffed, and centers are still at risk for inaccurate scheduling without proper tools.
Agent self-scheduling tools virtually eliminate complications of holiday and special event staffing and the need for supervisors to limit agent time off. Requirements can be filled with no gaps in service as agents view available time slots and choose work hours compatible with their schedules. Supervisors have various scheduling options, simplified staffing for special events and holidays by remote agents with flexible schedules, and accommodation for spikes in call volume on short notice.
Intra-day optimization is simplified. When agents cannot fill their allotted time slots, supervisors can notify remote agents and receive help quickly without disruption to service levels.
While software tools are available for helping increase agent control over schedules, the at-home model supersedes those offered to on-site agents. Remote agents can create schedules unique to their availability and segmented throughout the day. Schedules can vary on a daily basis to fill any required staffing need, creating a win-win situation for both the center and agents.
More at http://www.pipkins.com