How to choose the right call center scheduling software for you?
Your call center is an essential part of your business, but managing the workload, schedule and task list can very quickly turn into a bit of a headache, especially as your team grows.
Having efficient schedules and management of your team is essential not only in the running of your company but also in maintaining the morale of your employees.
The good news is, there are software solutions that can help automate some of the management and help create a clear, organized schedule that both you and your employees can follow.
Scheduling software, or workforce management software as it is often referred to, helps you manage, adjust, and control your team's schedules, time-off requests, and makes sure you are fulfilling the staff requirements you need at any given time.
The bottom line is, you want to make sure you have the right skills available from the right members at the right time. This is where your scheduling software comes in.
Choosing the right call center scheduling software for you can feel like a bit of a daunting task, particularly as there are quite a few to choose from.
So, we wanted to help you out and break down what you should be looking for when it comes to your call center scheduling software and let you know some of our favourite options out there.
Let’s dive into it.
What is workforce management or scheduling software?
As we’ve said, your scheduling software or workforce management software is essential for running a smooth call center, or indeed, any business.
These software’s should (and in many cases do) do far more for you than just schedule your employee's shifts. They also:
- Help manage your team
- Streamline communication
- Make your team feel more engaged
Your scheduling software is there to do the heavy lifting and make your life easier when it comes to shift management, time-off requests, and ideally give you insight into your staffing needs for the future.
How scheduling software can benefit your call center
There are many great benefits to using scheduling software for your team's management. Let’s break these down further.
- Better operational efficiency – streamlining your scheduling management not only helps free up your manager's time, but it also takes away the confusion and worries around shifts that can develop from a lack of clarity.
- Cost savings – being more efficient with your team, your time, and your scheduling means you will reduce wasteful costs, and make sure you have the right team and the right skills available when you need them.
- Quicker inter company communication – no need for multiple emails back and forth, forgetting to cc people for shift changes, etc.These can usually all be done easily and cleanly within the software.
- Transparency across all levels – a clear visual overview of the schedule for your entire team helps everyone stay on track when it comes to their shifts.
- Higher employee engagement – many scheduling software options encourage your employees to actively engage with shift selection, updating on availability, and generally being more involved with the scheduling process.
- Better job satisfaction – this added level of communication and interaction from your employees makes them feel heard and like they are part of the process. Making your employees feel heard is a proven way to increase job satisfaction and decrease staff turnover.
- Consistent and better customer experiences – what we’re all always looking for is better experiences for your customers, and when your employees are happier they are better at their jobs.This flows to your customers. Trust us, they can tell when there’s something wrong.
What to consider when looking for your call center scheduling software?
There are a few things to consider when looking for your call center scheduling software. Your first step is to examine what it is your company needs from the software.
What are your productivity needs?
Determining these is your first step. To do this you want to ask yourselves a few questions:
- What do I need from the software: shift management, task management, automatic scheduling, etc? You need to think about what task you want to be able to run through the software.
- How big is my team? Some software’s are better suited to smaller teams, and some for larger. Others are great at tailoring for individual company needs.
- Where is my team located? Is your team based in one office together or do they work remotely all over the world.
- When are the down hours and peak hours? Your platform should be able to automate scheduling in such a way that you are well-staffed during peak hours.
- Is our call center 24/7? You want your software to be able to handle the hours you need easily.
Do your research!
There are a lot of options out there, many with unique features. It is work doing plenty of research into all the options to find the ones that best match your needs.
To give you an idea of what you should be considering when researching for the right software:
- How easy is it to use – This is important for two reasons; 1. You want to be able to quickly implement it across your team without too much in-depth training. 2. You want the software to be quick and intuitive to use so your employees and managers aren’t spending too much of their time just trying to change a shift.
- Shift management in a few clicks – When looking at the shift schedule you want to be able to quickly and easily see and update who is working when they started, what has changed etc in a simple way to use and understand the calendar.
- Clear communication – scheduling software should help streamline the communication between your team, both for managers and team members. Requesting shift changes, swapping with colleagues, etc should be as simple as a push of a button, and transparent too so everyone can see the shifts updated in real-time.
- Global access – Having a remote team located all around the world is becoming more commonplace. This works particularly well for 24/7 call centers, and you want your software to be able to deal with this.
- Access through multiple devices – this is also a great feature as it means your employees can quickly and conveniently check shifts on their mobile or tablet as well as on their computer.
- Tax and Labor laws – Having access to remote workers is great, but this can mean you are also subject to different laws around overtime and sick pay. Ideally, you want your workforce management software to be able to handle this for you too!
There’s no harm in trying a few.
Once you’ve highlighted a few potential candidates, there’s absolutely no harm in doing short, limited tests of each software in order to determine which fits your needs, how easy it is to use, and how well your team likes to use it.
This will be key in making your final decision, and it is better to have small tests than to roll out software across the whole call center only to find out it isn’t fit for purpose.
When you find the right one, you’ll know. At this point, you can implement it across the whole team and reap the rewards of a more efficient workforce.
How Soon can help
Now that you know what you are looking for we want to give you an idea of how Soon can help fulfill those needs and why we think we are the best scheduling software for you and your call center. (We can’t help ourselves sorry!)
We pride ourselves on how customizable Soon is to fit teams of all sizes. We also have an extensive list of features that we know will help streamline not only your scheduling, but your team management as a whole. Let’s have a quick look at some of the things Soon can do for you.
Simplification is our key to scheduling, but that doesn’t in any way limit the power of what Soon can do for you. We can create dynamic error-free schedules in minutes, deal with any changes as they happen, and manage real-time workforce performance.
- Automated person picking – We can help make sure you pick the right person for your shift needs based on skill, availability, conflicts, and contract hours.
- Event-based scheduling – We can handle any of your event-based scheduling needs, from simple to more complex. You can fully customize your events for any schedule setup.
- Clear zoomed timelines – Quickly and easily see your team's schedule by zooming in and out from day to week to month timelines.
We make managing your team’s time an absolute breeze to free up more of yours for what really matters.
- Advance leave management – We cater to all your leave management needs. Quickly and easily set leave categories, review, and approve your team's leave requests.
- User groups and roles – We know you structure your teams for ease of management, and Soon can match that structure. This allows you to schedule faster and more accurately based on specific skills.
- Time attendance – We help you capture time and attendance with ease so you can automatically generate accurate timesheets for payroll.
Your team’s engagement fuels their enthusiasm and so to their performance delivery. You want an engaged workforce to really maximize productivity.
- Personalized schedule overview – personalized access for all your staff so that they can manage their shifts, availability, and time-off.
- Individual and shared inbox – Our sophisticated inbox streamlines communication and accelerates your team's coordination, clearly highlighting required actions, unread comments, and awaiting responses related to the schedule.
- Conversational change request – Having a conversation around shift changes helps everyone get what they want quicker. We help you handle shift changes more intuitively and autonomously through conversation.
These are just a few of the many ways we can help you streamline your scheduling and team management needs for your call center.
Some alternative options for your Scheduling Software
As we said, it is wise to shop around a little, and we’re not ashamed to say there are some other great solutions out there too. Here are some of our favorites:
Findmyshift does a great job of creating staff rotas and managing shift requests as well as keeping the team informed of the schedule. It also tracks labor costs which are great!
- Employee Scheduling
- Time and attendance recording
- Reporting and payroll
- Time off management
- Your schedule links with your phone's calendar from the mobile app
- Tracking labor costs for payroll
- Free for small teams
- There’s no notification you can send to remind people to clock in and out
- The mobile app takes a bit of getting used to for navigation
- It doesn’t have as many features as some of the others
Assembled is great for rapidly growing teams that utilize a global workforce. They have forecasting functions to help you plan ahead for better staff scheduling too.
They also integrate well with a number of major platforms like google calendar and slack.
- Staff scheduling
- Analytics – team performance, expected schedules vs actual activity
- Forecasting – data-driven forecasting
- Integration – integrates with some major platforms
- Their templates are great for speedy schedules
- Great visibility for the whole team on who’s working when
- Works across multiple time zones
- The mobile app isn’t the most user friendly
- It only comes in dark mode
- Can’t create the same event for multiple people, you have to do it individually
Shiftboard is well known in the workforce scheduling space. They are great for larger companies with much bigger teams. Their real-time worker communication is great to encourage the staff to actively engage in shift scheduling,
- Automated Workforce Scheduling
- Optimized Scheduling at Scale
- Worker Friendly Schedules
- Realtime communication
- Demand planner
- Time clock and geofencing
- Great looking interface and app
- Easy to learn
- Good for larger teams
- Not the most customizable platform, particularly for admins
- Can’t search for employees by location
- Doesn’t auto-update and you need to refresh your screen from time to time
#4. When I Work
When I Work is great for scheduling and tracking hourly workers. They have a mobile app that lets all their employees access their schedules easily. Easy management of shift swaps, and it tracks time off, employee availability, and attendance.
- Employee scheduling
- Time and Attendance tracking
- Team messaging
- Shift planning down to the minute
- Great walkthroughs to help you learn the platform quickly
- The geopunch is great for managing your team's locations
- Their scheduling templates are great too
- More costly than others
- The mobile app for an admin is a bit clunky, especially compared to the desktop app
- There’s a limit to the shift notes you can make
Humanity is a well-loved cloud-based scheduling platform that claims to reduce your employee shift scheduling by 80%. It gives you insight into your operations so you can optimize staffing and control leave.
They also offer integration with leading HCM platforms and payroll solutions.
- Mobile shift management
- Flex scheduling
- Very easy to use and learn
- Their notifications are great
- Integrates with some of the bigger HR platforms like bambooHR
- You can’t export specific dates/shift information for individuals to monitor hours
- No graphical representations of data/Reports
- No dark mode (or any way of adjusting the look)
A cloud-based scheduling platform that is simple to use. You can manage employee's availability, time-off requests, shift conflicts, and overtime. You can also send notifications to your employees to remind them of shifts or notify them of shift changes.
You can also export accurate timesheets for payroll.
- Work Scheduling
- Time Tracking
- Timesheets for payroll
- Shift Planning
- Shift swapping
- Mobile Apps
- Very simple to use
- Great for small businesses
- Easily export timesheets for payroll
- Not free for smaller teams
- Could do with more customization in its functions
Sling is a great workforce management platform that lets you manage your scheduling and time tracking, as well as including task management and assignment too.
Their reporting function is great, and their tracking of Paid Time Off (PTO) is great too.
- Shift Scheduling
- Time and attendance tracking
- Labor cost optimization with set budgets
- PTO tracking
- Task Management
- You can copy and paste schedules from week to week for quick repetition
- You can set labor budgets to optimize costs
- Allows employees to apply for shifts that become available
- The messaging feature is very limited
- Cannot view the full month's schedule on the mobile app
- Some services are only available with a paid subscription
Scheduling software for your team is an absolute must!
In our humble opinion, it is anyway. We hope that we have also convinced you that no matter what size team you have, managing your team's shifts through scheduling software can, and will, increase efficiency and free up time so your entire team can focus on delivering the best service possible. If you want the best call center scheduling software for growing teams, use Soon today.