To the final break, scheduling is essential to the duties of every contact centre manager. All of us are aware of the consequences: if you don't have enough agents on duty during busy hours, your consumers will endure protracted wait times.
Understanding how to calculate call centre schedule adherence is essential if you want to increase call centre agent productivity and streamline your contact centre operations.
What is adherence to the call centre schedule?
Contact centre schedule adherence is a common indicator used in company call centres to assess if call centre personnel are putting in the hours they are planned to.
Measurement of schedule adherence involves dividing the entire amount of time a call centre employee is scheduled to work by the amount of time they are available for calls, represented as a percentage.
Factors are taken into account while calculating schedule adherence in call centres
The following tasks can be included in call centre schedule adherence:
- Availability to take calls or time spent on calls;
- Paused periods; and
- Time spent on tasks that are unrelated to a call.
Companies frequently utilize high adherence rates to evaluate the effectiveness of their contact centres and the adherence to schedules, but they should also gauge how well their employees follow internal rules governing workflows and communication. The majority of call centres and contact centres set a goal schedule adherence % that includes a buffer for extra time outside of planned meals and breaks. Managers employ technologies in contemporary contact centres to monitor operators' compliance in real-time.
Additionally, they have access to other adherence information like average handling time and calls per hour. All of these measures are used collectively to evaluate and enhance schedule adherence and guarantee a staff member is being employed to their full potential.
The merits of utilizing a call centre schedule adherence program
The following are some advantages of adopting call centre adherence schedules as a performance indicator for employees:
- Management of the workforce. By having access to the precise amount of hours agents will work, managers may enhance workforce management, including improved staffing decisions and workload forecasts.
- Incentives for agents. Setting a goal encourages employees to make sure that the right amount of hours is dedicated to customer support, improving agent efficiency.
- A definite standard by which to evaluate performance By seeing how well agents keep to their schedules, managers may determine which agents offer the most value immediately. Agents are more likely to follow the schedule if call centre adherence schedules are used as a gauge.
- A better experience for the consumer. Less customer wait time will result from extended hours of operation, which can also help to guarantee service-level agreements are followed (SLA). Customer satisfaction rises as SLA adherence gets better, directly.
Procedure for Schedule Adherence
Ordinarily, the following equation is used to calculate the Schedule Adherence metric:
(Time spent handling calls plus any follow-up work and any other work-related activities) - (Interests outside of work plus breaks)
= Respect for Schedule
A high adherence rate means that employees are keeping to their schedule and providing client assistance when necessary. Agents cannot be expected to answer or place calls nonstop throughout an eight-hour workday. Otherwise, they exhaust themselves and stop working effectively.
A 100% adherence rate is therefore unattainable. The majority of contact centres strive for an Agent Schedule Adherence (ASA) score that is slightly under 100 percent. However, if the goal score is too low, businesses aren't using their resources effectively.
It is crucial to define a benchmark value, just like with other metrics. Companies may then determine whether or not adherence rates are increasing when scores are determined.
A low Schedule Adherence number has been reported by several businesses for the following reasons.
- The number of time agents spends on personal pursuits, such as texting or checking their email, Facebook, or other social media accounts, is excessive.
- Agents are tardy at work and depart early.
- Agents engage in excessive workplace socializing.
- When they don't want to take calls, agents set their status to "Away" or "Busy."
- Agents take unplanned or extended breaks
- Agents fail to arrive for work as scheduled
Fewer clients are served as a result of all these problems. The agents that are accessible also take on an unreasonable task to cover for missing teammates when there aren't enough agents to assist clients. The wait time for customers is also longer.
The first step in making changes is, however, to measure Schedule Adherence. A company cannot solve an issue if it is not measured.
Guidelines for Increasing Schedule Adherence
Several strategies exist for businesses that struggle with schedule adherence telephone answering services to boost agent output:
Enhance instruction to increase output
Schedule adherence is something that should be stressed to agents right away. It is far simpler to onboard new employees by teaching them the proper techniques than it is to wait for them to form poor habits. Put a focus on how crucial it is for them to be accessible to consumers.
Track agent standings
Managers may learn more about how agents are using their time by using call centre technology to track agent statuses. Even when they aren't assisting a customer, are agents still designating their status as "busy"?
Coach agents that don't follow their timetables
Agents who aren't keeping to their schedule should be given constructive criticism. Find out why they aren't keeping to the timetable and give them advice on how to get beyond any obstacles they might be having.
Establish a system of incentives to promote effective employees
Agents who are productive and on time set an example for others. Offer incentives to them in the form of awards and recognition. This will encourage both less productive agents and high performers to continue doing well.
Integrate fairness and productivity into your organization's culture.
Agents can be motivated to work hard and be accessible when needed by being reminded of how crucial it is for them to carry their weight. Establish a culture of justice and decency where agents view one another as teammates they want to support.
Adherence vs conformity
Conformance measures how closely an agent's actual work time matched the number of hours they were required to put in. Similar to adherence, yes? Not exactly.
Call centre employees' whole schedules, including meetings, breaks, training, etc., are subject to compliance. Conformance focuses on the designated working time, during which agents answer calls and carry out other associated tasks.
Why Is Adherence to the Call Centre Schedule Important?
Customers and profitability will suffer if too many agents fail to keep to their schedules. A five-minute delay in taking a break seems like it shouldn't matter. But consider how it may impact your business in the long run.
The timetable coincides with an agent's break time at no fault of the agent. Let's assume that it is always five minutes late. This increases the likelihood that the agent will arrive at the office five minutes later than expected. A week of 25 minutes is equal to five minutes every day. That amounts to 1,300 minutes every year or about 22 hours. And just one agent was working at that time.
Add more agents that aren't following the timetable, and you get the following outcomes:
- decreases in customer satisfaction
- Increasing abandonment rates
- extended wait times
Both your profitability and the consumer experience are harmed by this. Additionally, it affects your agents. Customer resentment increases agent involvement, which lowers customer happiness and starts a vicious loop.
How to raise schedule adherence rates
Establish sensible objectives.
Remember that achieving 100% adherence is very difficult when defining your goals. Since agents are people, you must take into account the human element and determine a set of practical objectives. That implies you shouldn't go above and above to increase, say, that untraceable 2 percent since doing so may be counterproductive. It may be better and more effective to aim for a fair objective. Recognize that certain adherence problems are out of the agents' hands.
For instance, lengthier calls, unavailable software, or last-minute calls may cause agents to fall out of adherence. These are all facts that can occur at any time. It would be a poor management choice to threaten your staff with something that not even you could foresee.
Search for individual adherence issues
Most of the time, granular data may be used to identify deliberate non-adherence.
If you discover that the adherence rates of your agents hover roughly around the same % and that only a small number of cases deviate significantly from the norm, focus more on the latter. Finding the slackers and learning how your most productive agents maintain their high rates may both be found by evaluating the extremes. Consider the bigger picture before drawing any judgments.
To determine if underperforming employees are purposefully avoiding their task or are dealing with problems beyond their control, compare the adherence and compliance rates. Find trends and identify problems so you can address them later (e.g. software system upgrades or shift adjustments). Spend some time carefully analyzing and comprehending each of these particular circumstances. Examine additional data produced by reporting tools like Go4customer to get a fair conclusion.
Make your agent training programs better
Agents' failure to comprehend the significance of timetables is the main cause of their failure to follow them. The agents are unaware of how their lack of compliance affects their coworkers and, eventually, the clients. Your call centre staff needs assistance in understanding the value of adhering to their schedule if you want to increase adherence rates.
It's far easier to teach from the beginning than to try to break undesirable behaviors once they've already taken root. As a result, modify your onboarding procedure and concentrate on educating new hires on proper customer service techniques without interfering with timetables. Create frequent training sessions and seminars to reaffirm the significance of learning new information.
Encourage high rates of adherence by offering rewards
Your top performers may be discouraged if they think that their efforts are going unappreciated as a result of significant discrepancies in adherence rates. Think about creating a rewards program to reward them for their efforts and to inspire less productive agents. You may increase your adherence rates and reduce the gap by offering bonuses or other incentives that can be appealing to your staff.
Keeping this in mind, incentives don't always have to be pricey. The rewards ought to be highly valued in the eyes of the recipients. Internal recognition and career promotion initiatives, on the other hand, can be equally successful in increasing call centre adherence rates.
Determine and keep track of adherence rates
Utilize a specialist tool, such as Go4customer, to determine adherence rates. By modifying shifts, staffing, disciplining non-adherent agents, and rewarding high-performing ones, you may promote fairness by keeping track of how much your call agents stick to the schedule. These activities will boost your call centre's performance and make your customers happier. You'll shorten wait times and improve the standard of your services if your timetable is well-organized. The straightforward formula for call centre adherence rates is the beginning of a snowball effect.