10 Ways to Make Scheduling Processes More Efficient


Our readers share their best tips for improving scheduling processes in your contact centre.

1. Switch to annualised hours

We are a small contact centre. In previous years, we have always relied on overtime to staff extended hours.

We moved to annualised hours 3 years ago (mixed with fixed full- and part-time shifts) and made significant savings on overtime.

Half of our contact centre employees are now working on annualised hours with shifts that fit in with busy periods and more time off during the quiet times.

We have also been able to open for 8 additional Saturdays (with overtime) while still having a lower annual spend.

With thanks to Anna

Find out more about annualised hours and other innovative scheduling methods in our article: The Best Shift Patterns for the Contact Centre

2. Use an intranet forum to help tackle scheduling questions

We have 2 intranet pages – Ask a Holiday Question and Ask the Schedulers.

Agents post directly to these pages and we publish the responses.

With thanks to Rachel

3. Set up a scheduling reps group

We worked on the agent/scheduler relationship by introducing a ‘scheduling reps’ group within the call centre.

They meet once a month to talk about common issues and ask agents what they would do to find solutions.

Agents are also given the opportunity to bring examples of shift change requests – and ask if they would they agree them or not.

The agent reps then go back to the floor and share what they have learnt with their team.

With thanks to Rachel

4. Make sure everyone fully understands tasks and timings

Sounds really basic, but I’ve found understanding the tasks and timings makes a big difference to schedule adherence.

With thanks to Adam

5. Reward your best performers by giving them their preferred shifts

We leverage on dream shifts to drive agent performance.

We allow the top 5 or 10 performing agents in our contact centre to have their preferred shifts as an incentive.

We use these shifts as base schedules and build the rest of the teams’ schedules around them.

With thanks to Michael

6. Always give your agents a reason if you have to decline their shift request

Give your agents reasons for declining shifts.

If everyone understands why you’re saying no, they’re less likely to try and override the decision with a different manager – and cause problems.

With thanks to Rachel

7. Automate after-call work to stop agents wasting time


The best way of reducing ACW is to understand, minimise and automate all the after-call work that the advisors have to perform for call completion.

We have set a system timeout and automated some of the after-call processes by avoiding agents selecting interaction reasons/sub-reasons, as opposed to typing long free-text notes.

With thanks to Ramachandra

8. Use a rota to make sure a team leader is always on the floor

Our team leaders spend a lot of their days in meetings, so we have designed a shared calendar in the cloud.

The team leaders have to fill in the floor-walking rota that will cover the opening hours of the call centre (8.30am-6pm) every day.

The rota is displayed on one of the wallboards, so all the agents will know who is floor walking and at what time. The wallboard also displays the extension they will need to dial to contact the floorwalker.

With thanks to Philippe

For more tips on better preparing your team leaders for the contact centre floor, read our article: How to Develop Team Leaders in the Contact Centre

9. Make everyone aware of their impact

Try measuring your intraday service level agreement (SLA) at the beginning of the day, then running the same report at the end of the day.

You can then show your team their impact in meetings.

With thanks to Philippe

10. Create familiarity by placing photos of the schedulers on the floor

Display the names and photos of your scheduling team on the contact centre floor.

This will help your agents realise they are emailing a real person who actually cares, rather than a faceless department.

With thanks to Rachel

For more on the topic of scheduling in the contact centre, read our articles:

Author: Megan Jones

Published On: 19th Aug 2015 - Last modified: 12th Feb 2020
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1 Comment
  • I’d add an 11th tip: “Don’t assume that you can’t afford top notch WFM software”.

    Chris Dealy 24 Aug at 12:49