Wondering whether it might be worthwhile keeping your contact centre open for longer? There can be significant benefits to doing so. If you regularly receive a large number of after-hours calls or you see an opportunity to sign up additional customers and collect payments more efficiently if you’re available nights and weekends, it may be time to consider extending your hours.

Doing so is not free or cheap. So, what’s the secret to getting the maximum return on the investment you’ll make? Here are some tips.

Use workforce management software

Agents’ wages are the biggest overhead associated with operating a call centre. The longer you stay open, the more it will cost you. Rostering the optimum number of people for each shift will help you minimise the payroll, without compromising on the quality of your service. A workforce management program will allow you to map your activity levels and organise your team accordingly. Agents can also use the software to communicate their availability and swap shifts among themselves, thereby minimising the workload for HR and rostering personnel.

Make knowledge management a priority

Agents working after-hours may not have the same capacity to escalate tricky enquiries as their co-workers on the better-resourced day shift. That can be bad news for your company’s service levels and a good reason to provide your team with access to a comprehensive knowledge management system. In the absence of a team leader or senior worker, it can provide after-hours agents with the information and guidance they need to answer unusual questions with confidence.

Use a global carrier

Some 24/7 and long hours contact centres follow the sun, citing their operations in a clutch of locations around the globe. If you’re planning to go down this route, using a global carrier can help you avoid overseas call rates that will send your bill stratospheric.

Go cloud

Spreading your contact centre across multiple locations is tricky if you’re using legacy, on-premises software to power your operations. So is providing consistent service to your customers, if agents don’t have access to a centralised database that tracks callers’ interactions with your organisation. Migrating to a cloud-based contact centre platform solves both these challenges. It makes it possible to resolve enquiries efficiently, regardless of when or how customers choose to contact you.