Schedule adherence is the degree to which agents stick to their
schedules, measured as a percentage. Considering that staffing is the
single biggest cost facing any call center – and that every minute
counts when it comes to meeting customer service levels – it’s easy to
see why call center managers are putting an increasing emphasis on
improving it and are looking to their workforce management software for solutions.
If you run a small call center with 5 to 20 agents, you might think
schedule adherence isn’t all that important. But if you take a closer
look at all the different junctures throughout the day where agent time
is “lost,” you’ll realize that it can add up to a serious loss of
revenue over the course of a year.
Schedule adherence is particularly important for ensuring smooth
transitions between shifts. Call center schedules tend to be very
complex – which means there can be a lot of junctures during a shift
where an agent will go out of adherence. For example, an agent might
show up for his shift five minutes late; log on to the ACD seven minutes
late; show up for a training session eight minutes late; and go over
their break time by 10 minutes - resulting in the agent being a total of
30 minutes out of adherence for that one shift. Multiply these “out of
adherence” events across a center with dozens if not hundreds of agents -
and then multiply that by the total number of shifts - and its easy to
see how schedule adherence can quickly become a serious problem.
Keeping track of schedule adherence using manual systems such as
spreadsheets can be incredibly time-consuming and challenging. This is
where today’s web-based call center scheduling solutions are playing an increasingly crucial role. They track schedule adherence in real-time and and automatically send you alerts.
When implementing a new program for improving schedule adherence in your
call center - perhaps through the deployment of a workforce management
system - it’s a good idea to discuss those changes with your employees
first. The one thing you don’t want is a negative backlash from your
valued employees, who might not be all that thrilled to be working under
the watchful eye of “Big Brother.”
In order to reduce any negative backlash from your agents when
implementing a new program to improve schedule adherence, you must first
“inform and educate.” Agents need to understand the relevance of
schedule adherence, how a mere 10 minutes here and there impacts other
agents and the entire call center performance.
Then you should “measure and manage:” Measure and track adherence
using workforce management tools and solutions, tracking adherence in
real-time and running reports. Share these adherence reports with your
agents and discuss how they are doing. It is important to give regular
feedback regarding adherence statistics.
Finally, you can provide “incentives.” Reward agents that adhere
to their schedule (95 percent within adherence scores) through
recognition within the team and tie bonuses to good scores. It is also
critical that all agents are aware of the consequences for
out-of-adherence behavior, as this establishes their responsibility
towards the success of the call center.
For more information, please read our 5 Strategies for improved Schedule Adherence whitepaper.