For those in positions of leadership in the contact center industry, the importance of adequate call center staffing is obvious. Your facility can’t function properly without the staff to make it happen. But striking the right balance between too many staff members on-hand and too few can be difficult, even for a seasoned call center manager.
Here, we’ll offer some advice on finding that balance - and creating a call center scheduling plan that makes sense for your facility, right now and for whatever the future may bring.
Why Call Center Staffing Matters
Why is call center staffing important? There are two primary reasons why this is perhaps the most important factor of success for today’s top-performing contact centers.
The first reason is labor costs. At the end of the day, your call center is a business. While you exist to sell products, serve customers, or fulfill some other purpose as a company, you cannot function as one without having your finances in order.
To keep costs from getting out of control, one important thing to consider is the price of labor in your facility. How much are you paying your employees? Are you getting value out of what you’re paying and are those costs within your budget? Staffing is important in answering all of these questions, because the more employees you have on-site and on the clock, the more you are paying in labor costs. Keeping these costs in check means keeping a watchful eye on your scheduling and not having more employees on the clock than you need at any time.
The second and equally important reason call center staffing is important is meeting consumer needs. You can’t address consumer concerns or answer their questions if they can’t get through to an agent.
If you’re having hundreds of calls per minute but you only have a few dozen agents, wait times will become long and callers are going to become frustrated. Improving customer service doesn’t end with improving your approach to interaction with consumers. It also involves granting consumers the opportunity to actually have their voices heard. Consider this when you’re thinking about scheduling and staffing.
The Pitfalls of Understaffing
When there aren’t enough employees on the clock in your center at a given time, there aren’t likely to be enough people readily available to answer phone calls or address consumer concerns as they come in. That means:
- Long wait times for those who call your facility.
- Flustered, frustrated agents who are forced to handle more than their share of work.
- Impatient customers who are already upset by the time they are finally connected with an agent.
- Higher rates of unpleasant exchanges between consumers and agents and more frequent transfers to management members as a result.
- Lower first call resolution.
None of this is good for your business - but all of it is preventable by ensuring that you have the right number of staff members. Understaffing is a common problem, but it is one that you can quickly identify and address by adjusting your scheduling.
The Problem with Overstaffing
Just as there are problems that arise from understaffing, there are also issues that can be caused by overstaffing.
One of the main problems with overstaffing is high labor costs. While you have plenty of employees on-hand to meet consumers’ needs, you often have staff members sitting idle for long periods between active engagement with consumers. These dead periods are costly to your company, since employees are still being paid for them and nothing productive is happening during this time. To minimize them, keeping staff numbers to the minimum number that you can - while also keeping enough employees on-site to adequately address consumer concerns - is crucial.
Remote Workers in the Mix - Remote Agents’ Impact on Call Center Staffing
So, it’s a problem to have too few works on-site. It’s also a problem to have too many workers on-site. The ideal solution would be enabling contact centers to bring on more agents as needed and send those agents home or off the clock when they are no longer needed to meet customer needs. But that kind of call center staffing isn’t realistic - is it?
Actually, with the use of remote call center agents and software, it can be. By integrating this approach into your scheduling, you can create a flexible workforce that expands and shrinks on demand - and keeps labor costs under control.
Consider this: when you need to bring on more agents quickly, there is no easier way to do so than to reach out to your team of remote workers. They can be online and answering calls within fifteen minutes to an hour, giving your company the ability to upscale in size dramatically in a matter of minutes rather than days, weeks, or months.
This type of flexibility puts you ahead of your competition in terms of customer service - and keeps you from having to sink tons of cash into hiring new staff members. When the need for the increased number of agents passes, simply notify your remote agents and they can return to dormant status. You’ll save money and they’ll save time.
The Role of Technology in Your Scheduling
How can today’s technology help you achieve your goals when it comes to call center staffing? By making scheduling easier and integrating remote agents simpler - that’s how. At ChaseData, we offer solutions that will help you take your workforce from basic to bountiful in numbers - but only when you need it to be. Our remote agent technology allows you to call in the “reserve troops” as needed, scheduling your staff to meet the increased demands of rush hours, peak seasons, and more - all while keeping your budget concerns in mind.
Give us a call today and let us help you meet your staffing goals this year. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make scalability simple with ChaseData as your partner!