Below is an interesting extract taken from the WFManagement Telegram community group – if you have an interest in Workforce Management and are interested in joining here is link with further background and joining information WFManagement Telegram Group
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.
Transport needs is an an often forgotten dynamic when it comes to Scheduling considerations, especially important for an out of town or poorly supported public transport site. Not only should the safety and welfare of your staff be a manor consideration when leaving the site at night, but knowing that if you don’t leave the centre before you miss your only transport home is bound to impact customer experience as the agent rushes through the conversation to get out on time. Transport issues aside, having to work past your shift can be a real pain for agents, especially when you have Real-Time times constantly reminding them to not be late for your shift and ensure they achieve their schedule adherence targets.
I don’t think there is a wrong or right way to handle this issue apart from perhaps ignoring it. If you have the option to utilise other sites with different opening hours then this is an obvious solution. The solution mentioned in the question of having people finish 10-15min (depending on how long the AHT is) after the lines close works well, but like all things setting expectations up front and gaining their buy-in by explaining WHY being there for the customer really add value to engagement. You can also identify those that have the biggest life-outside-of-work reason for needing to get away on time and through a routing solution have lines close 5-10mins before their shift finishes. For those that have to stay 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 at some point in the future or pay it out as single time overtime (OT). I find accumulating minutes owned over a monthly period and then either paying it out as OT or providing them a separate PTO allowance works quite effectively.
Whatever you decide to do, like with all scheduling, engagement with Agents is key – set the expectation up front and explain the why and how they contribute to the customer experience and the brand by support this activity. Even better give the agent the problem statement and ask them to brainstorm solutions, this way they feel part of the solution and not done to.