Optimizing Your Agents’ Breaking Schedules – A No Cost Way to Improve your Outbound Center’s Productivity.

callcenter2We have received some great feedback on our free, online predictive dialer. For those of you that haven’t looked at it yet, you can find in on our website at www.exceptional-outcomes.com/dialer.html.  As I discussed in my last blog post, we will be sharing some of the productivity improvements our clients have discovered using dialing simulation and I hope that you try to take advantage of these improvements at your call center as well. They don’t require any additional staff or technology and are actually pretty easy to put in play.

In this post we will be discussing how break scheduling can be optimized in order to increase the number of outbound attempts made by a campaign. One of our clients was an outbound call center that was occasionally missing its monthly service level guarantees around outbound attempts and successful calls. The center wanted to investigate if there was a protocol it could put in place that could be used in months where it appeared that the center would miss its service level agreements. The protocol could not involve hiring more staff and it could not negatively impact the center’s drop rate.

One idea we suggested was to investigate optimizing the agents’ scheduling of scheduled breaks.  Our hypothesis was that we could improve a campaign’s productivity by ensuring that all agents working the same campaign scheduled their two 15-minute breaks and 30-minute meal break during the same hours  and remained on the dialer for the remainder of the shift. The client wasn’t immediately sold, but thanks to predictive dialing simulation we could test this theory without impacting productivity on the floor.

Using a simulator specific to the client’s dialer make, we tested the scenario. The dialer simulator model showed an increase in attempts by as much as 6.5% compared to random break assignment – the greater the number of agents in the campaign, the greater the benefit.

Of course it should be noted that there are cases where breaks may not be readily scheduled –such as in the case of needing to use the restroom. It should also be noted that this recommendation is different than scheduling breaks at the same exact time, which is not readily achievable using a predictive dialer. Asking the agents to take their scheduled breaks anytime during a given set of hours did not raise any issues or concerns with the agents and did not negatively impact their attitude or on-call performance.

After putting the protocol in place, the center realized improvements in outbound attempts by as much as 6.0%. No additional staffing, hours or technology were required. The improvement varied by the number of agents in each campaign.

Not sold? Visit our predictive dialer simulator and see for yourself.

Happy Dialing!

-Russ

About Russ Sacks

Russ is the current Managing Director of Exceptional Outcomes. He has over twenty years of experience in the areas of operations research, process excellence and software development. Russ has worked with organizations such as United Technologies, Allied Signal, GM and NASA in implementing computer aided optimization and continuous improvement methods. Russ is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, and has worked in the area of process excellence in both the healthcare and information technology industries. Russ holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Union College, a Master of Science in Management from University of Maryland University College and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Vermont.
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