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Should you offer your contact center agents flex-time?

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Does it make sense to offer your contact center agents flex-time? Actually, yes – the rigid schedules that fit some positions and industries aren’t necessarily a good fit for contact centers or contact center agents.

With the right tools, it’s possible to offer flex-time to your agents and reap benefits for your contact center. Read on to learn how RingCentral’s tools enable you to provide flex-time to your agents.

“Flex-time” means that workers can alter the time they start and stop working. It doesn’t mean that they work fewer hours.

In practice, it could look like changing a contact center agent’s shift so that instead of working overnight, he or she works in the afternoon. They’d still be working eight hours – just not during the same time of day.

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Why should you offer flex-time at your contact center?

There are two main reasons to offer flex-time at your contact center: your employees want it and rigid schedules have a negative impact on the customer experience.

In a study from the Society of Workforce Planning Professionals, 33% of contact center supervisors surveyed said their agents would take a pay cut of 2.5% in exchange for flex-time.

Tiffany LaReau, a workforce management expert, stated that having a flexible schedule is “a key source of job satisfaction” for agents. “The schedule is the fulcrum in the work-life balance scale, and the scheduling process deserves a maximum amount of care and consideration,” she commented. LaReau went on to say that she’s seen agents take jobs that didn’t pay as well just so they could have more flexible schedules; if you want to retain your agents, offering flex-time is critical.

For some contact centers, there will be times of the year when contact centers are in higher demand. You’ll need agents to work different hours than those that are regularly scheduled. If it’s not easy to modify your contact center’s schedule, you won’t be able to meet your customers’ demand.

Of course, you do not have to handle schedule modification manually. Look for contact center software that includes Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) to ensure proper scheduling and efficient coverage.

Today’s customers have little or no patience for waiting on hold, either on the phone or through other channels such as live chat. A 2017 study showed that two-thirds of customers would wait two minutes or less, while 13% of customers won’t wait at all.

Flex-time for remote employees

With many agents working remotely, do you still need to offer flex-time? The answer is “yes.”

Here’s why: even if agents are working from home, they still may need flexible working hours. For example, if an agent is a caregiver to a relative with chronic health conditions, that relative may need to go to the doctor frequently. The agent will need flexibility to work different hours to accommodate those appointments.

The benefits of offering flex-time at your contact center

What are the benefits of offering flex-time at your contact center?

  • More satisfied employees
  • Higher agent retention rate
  • Greater ability to meet seasonal fluctuations in customer demand
  • Increased agility – it’s simpler to fill in scheduling gaps

How do you build flexibility into your contact center scheduling?

The benefits of flexible scheduling for contact centers and agents are clear. Now the question becomes, “How do I build flexibility into my contact center scheduling?”

Workforce management tools enable you to optimize agent schedules to increase agent satisfaction as well as to ensure that you have the coverage you need for efficient, effective contact center operations.

You won’t be able to access workforce management tools through traditional, legacy, on-premise contact center hardware and software – it simply doesn’t have the flexibility. Cloud contact center software, on the other hand, does offer workforce management tools. In the next section, we’ll talk about how RingCentral’s cloud contact center solution incorporates workforce management tools so you can reap the benefits of flex-time.

How can RingCentral’s workforce management tools help you offer flex-time?

There are two workforce management tools within RingCentral’s cloud contact center solution that allow supervisors to offer flex-time to agents:

  • Workforce optimization
  • Workforce management

Workforce optimization

Within RingCentral’s cloud contact center software, workforce optimization is a single administrative environment that allows you to set schedules which increase agent satisfaction, reduce agent turnover, and ensure that your contact center is always appropriately staffed to enhance the customer experience.

Workforce management

RingCentral’s workforce management tools enable you to optimize agent schedules by building in flex-time. Aside from improving agent satisfaction, this capability also ensures that agents aren’t sitting idle when they’re working, and customers don’t face long waits to speak to an agent during busy periods.

RingCentral’s workforce management tools in action

We’ll illustrate with an example to show how RingCentral’s cloud contact center software’s workforce management tools work.

A coffee machine manufacturer runs a contact center so its customers can reach out with questions or comments. They use RingCentral’s cloud contact center software. One of the agents approaches Jane, the supervisor, with a request to change his schedule to accommodate his daughter’s recital. The agent is willing to take an evening shift one day in exchange for the time off during the day.

With RingCentral’s workforce management tools, it’s easy for Jane to change this agent’s schedule. While she’s changing his schedule, she sees that a particular night shift is understaffed, and she shifts him there. By offering flex-time, Jane is able to meet her employees’ needs and also ensure that there are enough agents to handle customer interactions.

Because RingCentral’s contact center technology runs in the cloud, Jane and her team can work from anywhere. Even if she and her agents are working from home, she can still modify their schedules to ensure flexibility and the right amount of coverage.

RingCentral cloud contact center software: providing flexibility to contact center teams

RingCentral’s cloud contact center features built-in workforce management tools to make it easy to offer flex-time, which benefits agents and customers. To learn more about our workforce management tools, get a demo.

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Originally published Dec 06, 2021, updated Feb 03, 2022

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