Solving the Hardest Job in Service Desk Management – Part III

This is the final part of a three part series dealing with one of the hardest jobs in Service Desk Management. In Part I we looked at how we worked out the number of agents we needed to handle a given number of inbound calls during the day. This number was based on constraints about call waiting and service levels using the Erlang C calculation. In Part II we looked how we organized the number of Agents needed into shifts; and not only that, but how to overlap Agent shifts to deliver a variable supply of agents to match the number of calls coming during different times of the day. We now need to publish a schedule that enables all these factors to be taken into account.

This video will demonstrate how to ‘build’ a 12 month Service Desk Schedule of Agents matching the variable demand profile of incoming calls.

We need to take care of days-off, ensure there are sufficient rest periods, and everyone has a fair and equitable working environment as far as the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ shifts go – though we have discussed that can be a subjective judgement. As always the schedule is business driven to manage inbound calls efficiently and effectively. Value judgements about ‘key employees’, ‘seniority’, and ‘reward’ systems for shift allocation remain largely unproven and so are ignored.

It has over a 12 month scheduling horizon, which will reduce if not eliminate reactive management to short notice changes and unplanned events. Higher levels of Agent satisfaction will be experienced because it enables Agents to plan well ahead. It is probably the most cost effective Agent deployment strategy for this particular demand profile; and is 36% more efficient than adopting a simple non-variable flat supply of Agents over the same period – put another way it really can cost less to deliver more.

Video Part I – The Shift Pattern Rules

Video Part II – The 12 month Agents Schedule

The full 12 month schedule was extended to the ‘Cloud’ and can be viewed here.

For details on Schedule24 Resource Manager, visit our website.

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14 comments on “Solving the Hardest Job in Service Desk Management – Part III
  1. joel griffiths says:

    Found this very interesting. Nice to see good well written content on call center scheduling issues.

  2. Seb says:

    trying to play your agent schedules movies in better quality. any ideas?

    • Support Tec says:

      Hello Seb,

      Sure. You’ll neeed to select 720p (HD) from the toolbar menu.
      Sometimes if the connection is slow or busy then it will automatically choose a lower quality.

      Hope that helps,
      Chris White

  3. Jorja Conner says:

    Hi, I came across this website while looking up call center software and found your articles on service desk management. They are very well informed. Though a little complex in places. I can see how your software relates to our environment, we being a small call center of 35 staff – we can’t justify or have the budget for the big guys. I have bookmarked this article for my colleagues.

  4. Dieter Engel says:

    Where I work all emphasis is on performance and not the scheduling. Management continue to engage “consultants” to identify why we have a large turnover of absence and sickness. It’s not rocket science. Simply look at the staff schedules.

    Since finding this post, I have requested a trial copy of your Schedule24 Resource Manager. I’ll take a look and try to implement something similar to what you’ve outlined here.

  5. petra says:

    if I use the schedule wizard do I have know the extact number of staff? we have an idea of the shifts but are unsure how many staff we will need to implement. we are testing various shift patterns.

    • webmaster says:


      No, the schedule wizard will automatically calculate the number of staff required. When the schedule wizard asks you to input staff, click the next button to skip.
      The wizard will automatically insert the correct number of staff to complete the schedule.

      Chris White
      Intellicate Team

  6. Mark says:


    I found your three call centre articles very interesting.
    Is the schedule example available to download? I have looked in the kb but found nothing. May be you could post a download link on the article page.

    Mark Johnson

  7. canadagoose says:

    I never thought I would agree with this opinion, but I’m starting to see things differently.

  8. HipHippy says:

    You have brought up a very great points, thanks for the post. Mary Howitt.

  9. Judy Robertson says:

    This is absolutely brilliant! Congratulations. What a change to have a proper written blog post instead on down-your-throat product marketing. Nice to get your solutions perspective on employee scheduling. Heck, we may even starting using your software – IT dept approval permitting!

    Can’t wait receive further posts! Judy Robertson

  10. Jon R. says:

    The folks at Monet Software have a few tips for more effective call center workforce management. A small but practical list of tips. More at:

    It may help someone. Thanks for letting me post.

6 Pings/Trackbacks for "Solving the Hardest Job in Service Desk Management – Part III"
  1. Simon Aggars says:

    This post was really worth checking out. Keep it coming!

  2. Anon says:

    Interesting post – our call center implemented a new shift system at my place of work, one of the big names in workforce management – it’s atrocious! Half of the features requested have not been implemented and the remainder full of bugs. I have to still create my staff rotas in excel and then hand over to be imported into the system. Any amendment then we need to do it all again! Why do management insist on calling in an outside consulting firm, who then recommend their buddy (partner) and then tell me how to do my job.

  3. Employee Scheduling

    Below you’’ll find the link to another web site and article that we feel you should visit.

  4. HR Guru says:

    Why You Need Employee Scheduling Software

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine several articles, nevertheless definitely really worth taking a look[…]

  5. chaz says:

    I found this article on the U.S. Dept of Commerce. It is similar to your post on workforce factors. Thought it may be of interest to your readers. Have a g’day. Chaz Matthews.

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