3 Essential Resource Planning Techniques for Every Call Centre

Mary Palmer

Call and contact centres operate successfully when they meet this basic requirement: To have the right number of employees with the right skills working at the right times to keep up with customer demand.

It sounds very straight forward, doesn’t it? But any successful Resource Planning Manager knows the intricacies (and hiccups!) that are part of ensuring that basic requirement is met all day, every day. The global pandemic and ongoing lockdowns, in particular, have shone a light on what it takes to run a successful call centre under stressful circumstances.

Whether you are part of a team that now works remotely or continue to be in the office as a key worker, you will no doubt have dealt with issues such as sickness, additional hygiene measures and increased customer demand, to name a few.

With customer channels diversifying – everything from live chats to email to SMS messages – there is so much more to consider than “manning the phones”.

Here are some of the most important resource planning techniques to consider in order to meet that all important basic requirement:

Scenario Planning

What would happen if … ? This is a question that should constantly be on the lips of a Resource Planning Manager. If your contact centre was to win a new client, would you need more staff? If a particular law or financial scheme were to come into place, would you see increased customer demand? It’s important to keep on top of industry updates and government legislation that could impact the way your contact centre operates.

Types of Scheduling

Considering different types of shift patterns is essential in order to meet customer demand and keep your teams happy and well-balanced. Split shifts, preference based scheduling, remote working options and the option to swap shifts could help you win over hearts and minds whilst continuing to provide a high standard of service. Obviously, you may need to “trial run” some of these options and see what works best for your particular organisation.

Expect the Unexpected

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that life is unpredictable. People phone in sick for shifts; systems fail and cut out; customer demand can suddenly spike. But you can mitigate these risks. You can prepare a strong talent pipeline of temporary candidates who can pick up a shift last minute; you can encourage customers to contact you via SMS or email if the phone lines are down; and you can have emergency scripts to hand or pre-record hold time messages to ensure that customers don’t get frustrated with high wait times.

Resource Planning roles can make a big impact on a call and contact centre – particularly in the current climate.

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