Patrick Barnard
Group Managing Editor, TMCnet

July 2010

You are browsing the archive for July 2010.

The Value of Agent Supervisor Portals in Resolving Scheduling Disputes

My wife works in the restaurant business and the other day she brought up a scheduling scenario that made me further realize the value of workforce management software -- and in particular agent-supervisor portals -- not only for the restaurant business but also for the call center. What happened was this: Waitress A needed a Monday night off from work so she asked Waitress B to take her shift for her. Waitress B volunteered. It was a verbal agreement done with verbal supervisor approval on premises and the scheduling change was reflected in the (printed) schedule posted on the kitchen wall. But on the Tuesday night after Waitress B worked the shift, she announced to Waitress A: "Now you're going to work my Friday night shift in return!" Waitress A was stunned: She had already made plans to see her young daughter's school recital that evening. When Waitress A said she could not work the Friday shift, Waitress B replied: "Too bad - you said you'd swap shifts with me. You're working it." Unfortunately management didn't fully understand the situation and sided with Waitress B - but the point is this: Had there been a piece of software acting as the "mediator" for this "transaction" there would have been in infallible audit trail that would have protected Waitress A from an unfair management decision. It's important to note that Waitress A did not AGREE to take waitress B's Friday shift in exchange, when the verbal agreement took place. The date and time of the shift that was to be swapped was left open ended. Had the two waitresses been required to use a Web-based online supervisor portal, integrated with workforce management software, to swap, bid on, or cancel shifts, Waitress A would have been required to indicate which shift she would work in exchange for Waitress B and there would be no dispute in terms of which two shifts had been swapped. The important thing with these agent-supervisor (or employee-supervisor) portals is that they have to be extremely user friendly.