Businesses that depend on call centers have developed methods for handling snow, school closings, hurricanes, floods, and the like. Often weather makes it difficult for workers to fill the seats of the call centers. Some folks simply do not like to operate a vehicle in bad weather, some folks (particularly mothers) are tasked with children home due to school closings, and still others may be in emergency mode trying to manage the results of the weather — electricity goes out, basement gets flooded, or evacuation is necessary. In short, it is not possible for some people to come into work.
Tips for Call Centers
1) Purchase a Workforce Management system that does much of the hard work for you.
2) Use an Absence Management tool to track those who cannot come in, and employ an Overtime Management tool to disburse hours to cover those shifts
3) Note any federal, state, or local laws that concerning closing of workplaces – know this information today. These statutes should be included in your employee handbook and your performance management team know the existing laws.
4) If you have demand work be extra vigilant by updating weather reports. Many airlines and delivery services keep the weather information coming in all day every day because it makes such a difference!
5) Enter into your scheduling system the forecasted weather as a “special event.” This special event will alert your team that a significant event occurred that will affect your historical data now and in the future.
6) After adding your special event, reforecast. Reforecasting allows your workforce management tool to go back historically to find similar special events and draws on the performance required on those days.
7) Reoptimize. By reoptimizing your performance management team can quickly assess where your shortages may be and can then make steps to resolve these.
8) One resolution may be that workers trade shifts. If Holly has three kids to watch because school has been canceled, she may want to trade shifts with Jerry or Pauline who are off that day. Your workforce management scheduling system should be equipped to manage these trades.
9) Performance Management may want to offer overtime to those brave souls who made it into work – your workforce management tool should allow for the assignment of these additional hours.
10) Your scheduling tool also makes it possible to assign non-demand workers who made it in to working the phones. So long as the phone work is one of the areas in which the worker is skilled, your workforce scheduling tool can help in identifying those workers and quickly assigning them to the phones.
11) Reoptimize often.
12) Finally, just because there is a hurricane in Florida or snow in Utah, doesn’t mean there is inclement weather all over. Use BPOs when necessary.