Running an efficient call center requires getting the right number of agents in place at precisely the right times. Scheduling too many agents for a shift needlessly drives up cost while scheduling too few can lead to low service levels and increase call abandonment rates. All call centers have agents working on various shifts and agents are assigned to these shifts based on predicted workload by the hour of the day, agent’s skills, and availability. Juggling multiple shifts, required skills with different staffing needs and duties, is a challenge.
Many call centers still manage their agents manually with calendar boards or spreadsheets, resulting in scheduling conflicts and endless back-and-forth about who can work when, where, what skills are required for each shift, and which tasks to be performed. Fortunately, there is a variety of call center agent scheduling software solutions available to help call centers with their scheduling needs. While some of the very best software packages are not free, their developers let you try before you buy so you can determine if the software is a good fit for your operations. In other cases, the free application may limit the number of agents that you can schedule or display ads while running.
Call Center Staffing Software
Here is a list of four Windows-based shift scheduling software for call centers with a brief description of each:
- Schedule any number of agents (full-time, part-time, and volunteer), positions, shifts, skills, and locations
- Ensure adequate shift coverage and efficient personnel utilization while taking into consideration all time-off constraints, specific labor and overtime rules, employee skills and preferences
- Spend less time on developing work schedules and on day-to-day changes
- Instantly see shift coverage, hours scheduled, overtime, vacations, and time off
- Reduce labor costs; avoid overtime and over/under staffing
- Print, export, and e-mail work schedules to employees
- Keep work schedules, labor costs, and employee data in one place for complete reporting and analysis
The Snap Schedule Premium Edition gives you enterprise-class agent scheduling power and innovative workforce management features, including web and mobile access. Agents can remotely access their schedules, request time off, bid on open shifts, punch in and out, update their availability to work, and view the employee directory via a web browser or a native iPhone/iPad/WindowsStore app.
- Windows/Windows 8
Schedules are cross-referenced with vacation, sick, compensation and other time-off. You are alerted when they conflict. Time Tracker notifies you when specific reminders regarding an employee are due. It can alert you when an employee’s certification is about to expire, or that they are to attend a seminar or anything else that you choose. Time Tracker will monitor your employees scheduled times and warn you about errors such as double bookings or overtime situations. You can also track an employee’s refusals to work.
Notes: Not all are downloadable desktop programs for Windows/Mac OS and some may be browser-based applications that require high-speed Internet access. Be sure to read all systems and licensing agreements from the developer’s website to make sure you meet all requirements. At the time of publication, a free basic service (lite or cripple version) or a free trial version of all of these software packages is available from their manufacturer’s website. To take full advantage of a package’s features you may need to upgrade to a paid version of the software.
What Can Agent Scheduling Software Do for You?
Call Center Employee scheduling software takes the hard work out of staffing, scheduling, and publishing work schedules, freeing you up to do more important things at your call center.
- Spend less time creating and publishing work schedules. Employee scheduling software makes scheduling employees, editing information, analyzing data, and distributing employee work schedules easy and simple. Schedule any number of shifts. Assign work stations, breaks, and duties within each shift.
- Quickly fill a shift or find a substitute based on many criteria including job position, skills, availability, labor cost, work hour limits, and seniority.
- Prevent and alerts you to availability conflicts, duplicate shift assignments, overlapped shift assignments, and conflicts with scheduled time off.
- Know instantly where employees are assigned. No need to flip through pages of paper to see absentee, on-call, training, or overtime situations.
- Reduce the time to track and assign employee training, vacation and time off requests. Agent scheduling software keeps you up to date on who will not be coming in to work and why. Its comprehensive reports provide details on planned vacation, training, and time off hours for any time period you select.
- Reduce labor costs and avoid unnecessary overtime. Staff scheduling software lets you accurately track absences and forecast staffing needs to minimize over-staffing, which in turn reduces payroll costs. It automatically sums up employees’ work hours and costs; calculates overtime, on-call, time off, and incentive pays; and provides detailed cost reports so you know instantly if you are on budget.
- Keep scheduling and employee information in one place for easy access. Insert ID photos as well as employee contact information, authorized work stations, skills, available work hours for part-time and volunteers, and work hour constraints into employee records.
- Monitor attendance, work hours, and labor costs. Advanced agent scheduling software with time clock features lets you see exactly who clocked in and how your scheduled hours compare to the hours your employees are actually working.