5 Tips to Help You Find Time in Your Contact Center

What puts contact center people constantly behind the “eight ball?” What makes contact center management so volatile? One of the biggest contributors is that we often fail to identify and assign priorities to the different hats we wear as part of a contact center management team.

Here are 5 tips to help you develop a leadership time planner that allows you to stay in control:

Make a list of all your management hats

Don’t worry if some of the functions overlap slightly. In contact center management, the following hats are the most common: human performance management, real time management, crisis management, project management, process management, change management, technology management, financial management, continuous improvement, team building, projects, and professional development.

Assign a priority to each function and list the required activities for each management role. Real time management includes projecting call volume, forecasting staffing, scheduling, determining daily variances, monitoring of real time service level and historical analysis. Crisis management includes recognizing when a crisis is happening, putting an action plan in place to correct it and evaluating its cause.

Determine how much time is required for each activity

For each activity ask: “Do I need someone to cover my team when I am involved in this activity?” Your team should always have access to the help they need. Answer “yes” to any activities that require complete concentration. Answer “no” to activities you can complete even if interrupted. Answer “maybe” to activities for which you prefer solitude, but for which solitude is not a requirement.

Add how many hours a week you have just scheduled for yourself. To do this, figure the weekly total for each activity and then add each weekly activity total for a grand weekly total. The goal is to schedule about 50% of the total hours you work in a week allowing for plenty of time to reschedule activities due to unexpected assignments or crises. If your grand weekly total is over 50%, then you have some work to do.

Make a daily schedule and post it

Try to keep your “free” hours during times when you know historically fires tend to break out. Figure out who can cover for you when necessary. Don’t forget lunch (even though you may tend not to take one you at least deserve a break). Don’t stop until you have scheduled all activities. Post your schedule in plain view. This helps in several ways: your team knows where you are and what you are doing; your team knows where to find help when you’re not there; and other departments know when you are available for meetings.

When you run into a potential schedule conflict …

Use your priorities as the foundation for negotiation. If someone wants you to cancel a high priority activity to resolve a lower priority one, think of creative alternatives and ask your manager for direction.

When a crisis occurs you can relax

You know you have time to rearrange your other activities, and if you need to cancel an activity you know exactly which one(s) to target by their priority level. Use your weekly schedule to keep track of all activities.

Use this time planner in your management team meetings to discuss how to best accomplish all the requirements of the contact center. By implementing this leadership time planner, you can take control and answer the question, “Where will I ever find the time?”

Kathryn E. Jackson (kjackson@responselearning.com) is an associate with contact center consultancy Response Learning Corp.

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