Shift Rotations: Are they important for customer support teams?

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Written by:
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Natasha Ratanshi-Stein , Founder & CEO

Shift rotations are often talked about when it comes to more traditional customer service settings like retail, hospitality, and venues. But what about shift rotations for customer support teams?

Let’s take a step back first, and talk about shift work. Shift work is any work schedule that falls outside the hours of 7 am and 6 pm. Shift work can include evening, night, and early morning shifts, as well as fixed or rotating schedules.

Shift rotations are work schedules that change from one shift to another on a rotating basis. For example, a customer support team that needs half the team to work the weekend shift with the other half getting the weekend off, on an alternating basis.

For customer support teams to provide truly great customer experiences, they often need to be available to help customers around the clock (24 hours a day). However, it would be unnatural and unfair for support teams to assign the same agents (we call them surfers) to weekend or night shifts all the time. This is where shift rotations are particularly useful for support teams.

The importance of shift rotations for customer support teams:

Shift rotations can be a fundamental element of any support team. Poorly organised shifts are a huge hidden cost to businesses both from employee morale and retention but also down to proper planning and making sure you have the right number of staff in at the right time. For shift scheduling to work, it needs to be equitably managed, and in order for customer support teams to thrive and deliver excellent customer experiences, there are a few important considerations for managers to keep in mind.

Schedule rotational shifts in advance:

Sending a team their schedule in advance is a crucial aspect of shift rotations, if they are to work properly. In fact, the longer the tea knows before the shift, the better. However, this unfortunately doesn’t happen for the majority of shift workers.

Automate shift rotation scheduling:

For customer support teams, the automation of shift rotation scheduling has the ability to prove hugely valuable. As with anything that’s automated, the process has to first be systematised in order for it to run smoothly. With platforms like Surfboard, automating shift rotation scheduling is simple. Using metadata from your connected platforms, Surfboard forecasts your inflow throughout the day so you can view your staffing needs for all shifts. This data combined with our team and shift planning tools means you can easily plan and automate shift rotations for your support team.

Rotating schedules within a shift pattern

Allow support teams to fit shifts to their lifestyle:

74% of UK shift workers revealed they work the shift hours as that is when the job needs to be done and not because it fits their lifestyle. Needless to say, support teams who can fit their schedule around their lifestyle will be happier. This kind of autonomy leads to happier, more satisfied teams that provide better customer experiences in turn.

Empower your support team:

Empowering surfers by including them in the scheduling and shift planning process is one of the hallmarks of a successful support organisation. Successful support organisations enable their team to collaboratively plan and schedule their shifts, alongside management.

To learn more about shift rotations, check out our previous blog where we wrote about it, or read our report: The state of shift working in the UK 2022. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us below if you’d like to get a demo of the Surfboard platform.

Learn how to use shift rotations in Surfboard: