Live Contacts after the lines close - what to do....
Updated: Feb 7
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I leave my thoughts at the end.....
Question: Our call centre lines closes at 8pm (a recent change from 10pm) and every evening we have some calls in queue until 8.15. We have implemented scheduling advisors to work until 8.15 but this hasn’t gone down very well with our workforce who wants to finish at 8 as this creates issues with public transport. What do other call centres do with calls in queue or arriving close to when their lines close? Really interested to find out
Reply1 : We have cross-trained resources that are working normal hours at that precise time. Also, this could be done in the normal first come first served where whomever is waiting the longest on the queue will get the calls whether thats one of the dedicated resources or one of the cross-trained resources. Alternatively you can have it set up as an overflow strategy where the call will only get to the cross-trained resources if certain parameters happen (like only if there are agents available on the cross-trained team and if nobody in your dedicated team is available.
Reply 2: We utilised Supervisors to help ensure 1) queues were cleared and/or answer calls that were queued to clear faster and 2) all agents were signed off for the evening. Transportation is a unique challenge but maybe this solution could help.
When it comes to scheduling concerns, transportation demands are often overlooked, especially for an out-of-town or underserved public transportation site. Not only should the safety and welfare of your employees be a priority when leaving the site at night, but knowing that if you don't leave the center before you miss your only mode of transportation home is bound to have an impact on customer experience as the agent rushes through the conversation to get out on time. Aside from transportation concerns, working past your shift may be a big annoyance for agents, especially when you have Real-Time times, continually reminding them not to be late for your shift and guarantee they meet their schedule adherence standards.
Apart from possibly disregarding the issue, I don't believe there is a wrong or right approach to tackle it. If you have the option of using other sites with various hours of operation, this is an easy answer. The method described in the question of having workers complete 10-15 minutes (depending on how long the AHT is) after the lines close works well, but as with everything, setting expectations upfront and garnering their buy-in by explaining WHY being there for the customer adds value to engagement. You can also identify people who have the most important life-outside-of-work reason for needing to leave on time and have lines close 5-10 minutes before their shift ends using a routing system. For those who must remain over to clear those lines, the least you can do is time bank the extra hours they work and then either give them that time back later or pay it out as single time overtime (OT). I've found that aggregating minutes over a monthly period and then either paying it out as OT or providing them with a separate PTO allowance works well.
Whatever you pick, engagement with Agents is critical, as it is with all scheduling - set the expectation upfront and explain why and how they contribute to the customer experience and the business by supporting this activity. Even better, offer the agent the problem description and brainstorm solutions; this way, they will feel like they are a part of the solution rather than being done to.