While most of us in the U.S. are baking pies and looking forward to hours of family and football on Thanksgiving tomorrow, contact center supervisors will likely be lining up the predicted spike in workforce that coincides with the annual shopping event dubbed Black Friday.
And so begins the careful holiday balancing act – ensuring adequate customer service coverage while accommodating agents’ time off requests.
As every manager knows, workforce scheduling around this time of year can be a challenge. Employee morale often hinges on allowing adequate time off for celebrations with family and friends, whereas customer expectations are also a critical consideration. Overseeing and approving scheduling requests like these can easily take up a large part of a manager’s day. This was one of the driving factors toward the improvements we made recently in our latest release of Aspect Workforce Management, which features improved scheduling control and flexibility. Our goal was to create an easy-to-use, self-service environment for both premise and virtual agents that would relieve managers of the administrative burden by – among other features and improvements – enabling employees to submit time off requests and validate their existing schedules.
Self-service scheduling frees administrative time for a greater focus on agent productivity and customer service activities, empowering your staff with the ability to:
- Directly view and select available trial schedules
- Log in and make scheduling selections during assigned windows of time
- Easily select preferred schedules and quickly release unwanted time back into the agent pool
Another perk for managers is the ability to provide “priority access” to the self-service scheduling pool based on performance, enabling managers to offer this as an incentive to top performers. Preferred scheduling can be a significant performance motivator, especially around the holidays.
Adopting a centralized and comprehensive approach to staffing is key to planning and budgeting for the right number of agents, back office staff and experts with the right skills at the right time. Just this week, we held a webinar with Alaska Airlines on how to make best use of workforce management applications like Aspect Workforce Management 7.5 to simplify and enhance this process with advanced forecasting and scheduling tools. If you missed the webinar, you can view the replay online.
With the busy holidays upon us, it’s important to remember that every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to provide great service. Agents who feel valued and empowered to make scheduling decisions are more likely to put forth the extra effort required to deliver exceptional customer support and forge a lasting customer relationship.
Wishing your business the very “Blackest” of Black Fridays and you and your family the very happiest of times this Thanksgiving holiday season!
Chris O’Brien, Marketing Communications Writer, develops and designs content for a wide range of Aspect communications and social media applications. She continually monitors consumer trends to ensure that marketing messaging aligns with industry best practices and meets customer expectations.
Read more about effectively managing your workforce:
- How to Build a Customer-Centric Culture in Your Contact Center
- Is Telecommuting a Good Idea?
- Five Steps to Better Visibility, Discipline and Control in the Contact Center
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