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October 19, 2021

Flexible Scheduling: Tips to Engage and Retain Your Agents

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Tips to Engage and Retain Your Agents

Every generation enters the workforce with a different set of values and expectations. Millennials, who now make up over one-third of the U.S. workforce, have been a driving force for increased flexibility in the contact center. 

To be sure, millennials are not the only ones who desire a better work-life balance. But by the sheer numbers of their projected growth, millennials have the power to bring about change in the workplace. Why? Unlike previous generations, millennials are not afraid to quit companies that don’t meet their needs. With annual turnover rates that average 38%-45%, the potential impact for the contact center industry is staggering.

While the demand for flexibility seems at odds with the contact center industry’s long history of rigid schedules and strict adherence policies, advances in workforce automation already have been reshaping the strategies for where, when, and how work takes place.  

Consider this:

  • Where work happens now includes working from home. Newly remote contact center agents have embraced the recent shift from on-premise to work-from-home and hybrid models. Most agents (66%) say they want to continue working from home 100% of the time, while 30% prefer a hybrid approach. Only 2% of agents want to return to a full on-site work model.
  • Dynamic scheduling solutions provide agents with more choice over when they work. Work-from-home models make it easier for agents to work split shifts, early morning or graveyard shifts, and quickly log in for unexpected call spikes. 
  • How the work takes place comes down to the systems and tools—and, importantly, supporting agents and supervisors with the proper technology to communicate and collaborate seamlessly and across multiple channels.
  • Finally, how well the work is performed depends on how engaged your agents feel. Gallup reports that engaged employees contribute positively to the company’s bottom and top line through a 41% reduction in absenteeism, 17% increase in productivity, 10% increase in customer ratings, and 20% increase in sales. 

6 ways to enhance schedule flexibility in your contact center

In today’s unpredictable and fast-changing business climate, engaged agents are your best resource for managing costs and differentiating your brand’s customer experience. 

Here are six scheduling tips for meeting your agents’ demands for greater schedule flexibility and work-life balance. 

  • Gather agent feedback on their scheduling preferences. Getting agents involved in the workforce planning process will ensure their satisfaction and buy-in and will increase adherence. Meet with agents to brainstorm alternative scheduling options, such as 4×10, 4×9 plus 4, or slant schedules (10 hours on Monday, nine on Tuesday, eight on Wednesday, seven on Thursday, and six on Friday).
  • Leverage shift bidding to allow agents to view and select available shifts based on their skill sets, preferences, and lifestyle requirements. 
  • Empower agents to self-manage part of the scheduling process, such as swapping shifts, requesting time off, or volunteering for additional hours. Making it easy for agents to trade shifts or request time off can significantly reduce unplanned absenteeism.
  • Offer extra time-off and flex-time incentives for working less-popular shifts like holidays, weekends, or graveyard shifts. 
  • Build-in split shifts to give agents more flexibility during the workweek while ensuring coverage for high-volume days. For example, agents might be scheduled for three standard shifts during the week with two days of customized split shifts.

Offer a variety of options for breaks and meal periods. Branch out from the traditional 15-30-15. Some agents may prefer a 60-minute lunch break to give them time to run errands. Others might opt for a 30-minute meal period with three 10-minute breaks for more frequent breathers during the shift. Provide flexibility and choice whenever possible.

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About LiveVox

LiveVox (Nasdaq: LVOX) is a next generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 billion omnichannel interactions a year. By seamlessly unifying blended omnichannel communications, CRM, AI, and WEM capabilities, the Company’s technology delivers exceptional agent and customer experiences, while helping to mitigate compliance risk. With 20 years of cloud experience and expertise, LiveVox’s CCaaS 2.0 platform is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. The Company has more than 650 global employees and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Atlanta; Columbus; Denver; New York City; St. Louis; Medellin, Colombia; and Bangalore, India. To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox or visit livevox.com.

To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox, visit www.livevox.com or call one of our specialists at (844) 207-6663.

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