Through Assembled, you can generate the optimal schedule for your team. We believe that the “optimal” schedule can vary depending on the needs of your business — for instance, one schedule can ensure you achieve a certain response time across all hours of operation, and another schedule can be cost effective while resulting in longer wait times for your customers during busy hours.
Our approach allows you to allow you to quickly build and compare different scheduling scenarios, so that you can choose the right tradeoffs for your business.
A Scheduling Scenario consists of the following elements:
- Schedule Overview: Description of the Scheduling Scenario.
- Agent Group Requirements: Groups of agents that have the same scheduling requirements.
- Aggregate Requirements: Total “work” that needs to be completed by the team.
Once you’ve defined these elements, we use our proprietary schedule generation algorithms to simulate thousands of schedules and arrive at the best fit for the defined Scheduling Scenario.
Because this feature is still in beta mode, this page is currently accessible via URL only to beta users - simply type in app.assembledhq.com/generations/
Generating a New Schedule
Basic information to identify and describe the Scheduling Scenario.
Name: The name of the schedule scenario (e.g. “Q3 Chat Schedule”)
Description: The description for the schedule scenario (e.g. “This scenario uses our existing SLA target, w/ up to 30% part-time shifts”)
1) Agent Group Requirements
Agent Groups represent a set of agents who have the same scheduling requirements. For example, a group of agents that can work 5 days a week, and 9 hours per day. Or a group of part-time agents that can work up to 4 days a week, with shifts that range from 2 - 8 hours.
Number of Agents: Number of agents in the staffing group.
Number of Shifts Per Agent: Number of shifts per week that an agent will work.
Shift Length: Length of each shift.
Shift Start: Range of valid shift start times. (e.g. between 06:00AM and 10:00AM)
Start Time Flexibility: Allowed variance of start times for an agent in a given week (e.g. “0” means an agent must start each shift at the same time throughout the week. “3” means an agent can start at 8AM on Monday, and 11AM on Tuesday).
Time Between Shifts*: Minimum hours of separation required between an agent’s shift end time and subsequent shift start time (e.g. 12 hours means you can’t have a shift end at 5pm and start before 5am the next day).
Force Consecutive Days Off: Ensures that the days off within a schedule are consecutive.
*These parameters are optional, and in fact most will be unnecessary once you input your actual Agent Group requirements. To describe an example: let’s say your agents 1) start shifts between 06:00AM and 10:00AM, 2) work 5 days a week, 3) work for 9 hours a shift, and 4) have Start Time Difference = 0. This means that the latest shift will end at 10:00AM + 9 hours, or 07:00PM, and agents who work this shift will start at 10:00AM and end at 07:00PM every day of the work week. In this case, you don’t need to specify Shift End or End Time Difference because it’s already implied by the Shift Start time range and Start Time Difference. You also likely don’t need to define the Shift Separation, as the existing parameters ensure that all agents get a full night off before their next shift begins.
To note: we’ve developed our schedule generation tool to quickly enable new staffing parameters to be added. Some upcoming additions include: specifying valid weekend dates for an Agent Group, or adding lunches and breaks to generated shifts. Feel free to reach us at [email protected] if there are Agent Group Requirements that more accurately match the realities of your support team!
2) Activity Requirements
Activity Requirements allow you to lunches and breaks to generated shifts. This is optional - you can still generate a schedule with only agent group requirements and aggregate requirements.
Event type: the type of activity to be included (usually lunch / break / meal break)
Activity Length: length of activity (e.g. 1 hour lunch break)
Only enable for shifts of a particular length: specify the shift length where such activity will be included (e.g. only include lunch if shift is 8 hours long)
Distance from start of shift: allows you to specify # hours from when the activity will take place from when the shift starts
Distance from end of shift: allows you to specify # from when activity will take place from when the shift ends
3) Aggregate Requirements
Aggregate Requirements represent the “work” to completed by the team.
For real-time channel, we now allow you to pull in your existing forecast and configure performance targets and team productivity metrics. With these inputs, we calculate the staffing requirements needed for the week.
Here are definitions for the expected inputs:
Minimum Staffing: The minimum number of FTEs for any interval with required staffing/volume
Target Service Level: The % of time you want to hit your target average speed of answer.
Target Answer Time: The target average speed of answer for your support team.
Average Handle Time: The average length of time for a phone call or chat.
Shrinkage: The % of time you expect agents to be unproductive, during scheduled productive time. This includes tardiness, absenteeism and unscheduled meetings/breaks.
Within the input form, you can make on-the-fly-adjustments:
- Bulk delete or copy/paste: If you click on a day or interval, you will select all of the corresponding entries. These entries can be copy (⌘C) and pasted (⌘P) to different days/intervals, or bulk deleted. You can also hold the ⇧Shift key to select a range of cells to be similarly deleted or copy/pasted.
- Bulk addition/subtraction/multiplication/division: With a day/interval/range of cells selected, you can also perform basic calculations in bulk. For example, selecting all the entries for Wednesday, and entering “*1.2” will increase all of the entries for the day by 20%.
These bulk adjustments are helpful for quickly creating different forecasting scenarios — for example, understanding the required staffing/schedules for a low/medium/high-case support forecast.
Schedule Scenario Results
After you’ve generated a Scheduling Scenario, you can save the URL to re-navigate to the Scheduling Scenario Results page at any time.
The Scheduling Scenario Results page provides metrics to help you understand the characteristics of the schedule:
- R SQUARED: Helps you understand how closely the proposed support schedule matches your expected support demand. For instance, if you have 5% of your support volume on Monday at 10am, you should generally aim to have 5% of your support hours scheduled on Monday too. 100% means that your scheduled hours perfectly match your expected support workload. This metric is particularly useful because it can measure the effectiveness of the schedule irrespective of your overall staffing level. So if you’re perpetually understaffed, it’s likely still optimal for you to schedule hours so that your team is uniformly understaffed.
- AVERAGE SLA: The weighted average SLA the proposed schedule achieves for the week. Note: actual SLA per interval will vary. It’s likely you’ll achieve higher SLA’s during the bulk of the hours where your team is staffed, and lower SLA’s during intervals when you’re particularly busy or when your team is lightly staffed (e.g. late nights or weekends).
- AVERAGE SPEED OF ANSWER: Relatedly, the average speed of answer achieved by the schedule throughout the week.
- AVERAGE OCCUPANCY: The % of time we expect agents to be busy, based on the natural pattern of your support demand. As an extreme example, if you expect 1 chat to occur in an hour w/ an expected handle time of 12 minutes, and you have 2 scheduled agents (ie 2 scheduled hours or 120 scheduled minutes), your occupancy will be very low during those intervals — to be exact, your occupancy will be 10% or 12 minutes of talk time divided by 120 scheduled minutes — because your agents will spend most of their time without a chat to handle.
Below these metrics, we show you a chart of how well the generated schedule matches the required workload (see R SQUARED for more detail):
And finally, we show you a schedule view of the optimal schedules:
Within this schedule view, you can view the expected average speed of answer, occupancy and SLA for any of the days within the week, or drill down to specific intervals:
If you select the back button here:
We will send you to a page where you can compare and contrast all of the different Scheduling Scenarios previously generated.
After generating one schedule, you can easily create a new schedule to test out different scenarios by selecting “Copy to New”. If you need to delete any of the generated schedules, please reach out to us via your shared slack channel or emailing [email protected] and we can delete that for you.
Note: Schedule Generation is only available with our enterprise plan