Instead of having huge centralized call centers, why not have virtual call centers?
The employee clicks a button on an internal webpage that he’s available to answer calls. This is his “clocking in”. His hours get logged and all service calls go straight to his cell phone (or VOIP). The employee can click the same button to become unavailable and go to a doctor’s appointment or pick their kids up from school.
Some type of hours coordination and management might be needed, but if you have employees in enough time zones with different working time preferences, this may work itself out. You can even try paying different hourly rates for different times of the day to control supply and demand without a rigid command and control scheduling system.
Get the person a set of headphones and an unlimited calling plan, and you can save millions in overhead costs. No rent, no electricity, no time lost commuting, less internal tech support, less admin work.
Value added ways to invest these savings:
– Listening to more recordings of customer service interactions to ensure quality, reward your best and eliminate your worst employees
– Hiring more operators so every call can be answered by the second ring, thereby getting rid of those awfully annoying automated answering systems
– Hire Americans that speak and understand English fluently instead of the current off shore call centers, which would also improve customer satisfaction (this assumes your customers are calling from America, change this as applicable)
This type of flexible scheduling also increases your potential work force. Stay at home mom’s and elderly people, who tend to be more responsible but unable to commit to 8 straight hours a day can now help your business.
Even better, you’ll get less turnover in your work force due to the new flexibility you’re providing. It would also be good for the environment (less carbon emissions, no driving to work, etc).