4 serious mistakes in the shift planning of service centers

Category: FAQ
Excerpt: Optimal shift planning is crucial for employee satisfaction and the quality of customer service in service centers. Companies should plan for the long term, avoid overtime and take employees’ wishes into account in order to prevent stress, high staff turnover and sick leave.

Effective shift planning

In service centers, optimal shift planning plays a decisive role in employee satisfaction and the quality of customer service. However, companies should be aware of the following stumbling blocks in their personnel planning in order to avoid negative consequences at an early stage:

Mistake #1: Lack of long-term planning

Reliable, long-term planning of working hours is crucial, especially in the service sector, where employees regularly have to work shifts beyond the normal daily rhythm. Long-term staff deployment planning based on service volumes ensures that customer service runs smoothly and that there is always enough staff available for the various communication channels (email, telephone, social media, etc.).

Consequences for the company:

  • Lower employee satisfaction: unpredictable working hours lead to stress and dissatisfaction, as employees are unable to plan their free time.
  • High staff turnover: dissatisfied employees look for new jobs more quickly, which leads to higher recruitment and training costs.
  • Lower service quality: New employees need more time and experience to achieve the desired level of service quality. The inability to plan can also lead to understaffing, which means longer waiting times for customers.

A WFM system uses historical data to predict service volumes and required times, enabling the creation of reliable forecasts and automated shift schedules. This ensures that there are always enough qualified employees available.

Mistake #2: Imbalance in working hours and overtime

57% of call center employees stated that they had regularly worked overtime in the last twelve months (Source: Hans Böckler Foundation “Call center employees in the grip of statistics”, 2022).

Shift schedules that are too tightly timed and frequent overtime without corresponding time off in compensation lead to health problems and dissatisfaction among employees. Shift work puts a strain on the biorhythm, and a single weekend day or short periods of rest cannot replace the necessary regeneration. Companies should ensure that shifts at weekends do not recur too often and that overtime is compensated by time off in order to protect the health and satisfaction of employees.

Consequences for the company:

  • Increased sickness absence: Frequent weekend work and overtime without sufficient rest increase the risk of physical and mental illness.
  • Lower productivity: Exhausted employees are less productive and more often absent due to illness.
  • Lower employee satisfaction: Frequent weekend work and insufficient time off in compensation lead to frustration and increased fluctuation.

A WFM system can automatically design shift schedules so that weekend shifts are not repeated too often and overtime is accurately recorded and compensated by time off.

Mistake #3: Lack of employee participation in the organization of working hours

63% of employees would swap shifts more often if this were easier. 58% of employees even state that simply swapping shifts would significantly improve the working atmosphere (source: Randstad “Working time flexibility in Germany”, 2023).

Rigid working time models can have serious disadvantages for a diverse workforce that includes a wide range of age groups and individual needs.

Consequences for the company:

  • Lower employee motivation: If employees have little say in shaping their working hours, they do not feel valued and recognized, which leads to higher job dissatisfaction.
  • Lower productivity: Stressed employees with a negative work-life balance are often less productive.
  • Increased absences: Inflexible working time models can lead to increased absences and a higher turnover rate.

A WFM system takes into account preferred work schedules and offers a platform for swapping shifts with the team. Employees benefit from more flexibility and self-determination. Companies can better respond to the diverse needs of their employees and create an inclusive and employee-centered work environment.

Mistake #4: Little transparency about employee qualifications

In service centers, efficient skill management is crucial to ensure service quality and smooth operations. Without clear insights into the skills and competencies of the workforce, serious problems can arise for the company.

Consequences for the company:

  • Lower service quality: A lack of transparency regarding the qualifications of employees leads to inefficient processing of customer inquiries. This can lead to longer waiting times, dissatisfied customers and an increased number of escalations.
  • Increased susceptibility to errors: Without precise knowledge of the available skills, employees can be assigned to tasks for which they are not sufficiently qualified. This increases the error rate and can lead to an increase in customer dissatisfaction.
  • Less flexibility: If companies do not have a clear overview of the existing qualifications of their employees, flexible deployment planning becomes more difficult. This can lead to the fact that certain tasks are not assigned efficiently to the service employees and the load is spread unevenly among the employees. This can have a significant impact on operations, especially during peak times or in the event of unexpected outages.

A WFM system provides a detailed overview of the skills and competencies of the workforce, enabling companies to quickly and efficiently identify the right employees for specific tasks and automatically take them into account in personnel and shift planning.


Shift planning in service centers is a decisive factor for employee satisfaction and the quality of customer service. Companies that implement long-term and well thought-out shift plans benefit from lower staff turnover, better service quality and higher employee satisfaction.

Would you like to find out more about how a workforce management system can help your company to successfully master the challenges of shift planning? Book your non-binding online demo and experience how opcycWFM can help you optimize your personnel planning and increase employee satisfaction.