Showing posts with label real-time agent adherence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label real-time agent adherence. Show all posts

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Does Your Workforce Management System Deliver Real-Time Metrics and Analytics?

workforce management system metrics and anallytics
Data – on customers, on agents, on technology – is the life’s blood of the contact center. A workforce management (WFM) system plays a key role in collecting and analyzing this vital information source.

From the moment a call arrives, to the time it takes an agent to greet that customer, to the content of the conversation and the resolution (or lack thereof), WFM should be tracking and reporting on what has transpired. This is the data that will be used to evaluate customer behavior and assess agent performance.

And yet, even with the massive amount of data that is generated by each call – or, as in some contact centers, by email, online chat sessions, social media and other forms of customer interaction – a manager cannot achieve genuine visibility into the moment-by-moment occurrences at his business unless these performance metrics are captured in real time.

If a manager discovers on Tuesday that Monday’s call volume forecasts were not matched to demand, adjustments can be made for the following Monday, but that doesn’t change what happened the previous day, or the number of calls that may have been lost because customers grew impatient and hung up.

With real-time data, managers can address challenges as they arise, limit the damage and prevent small issues from evolving into major concerns.

The Risk of Non-Real Time Data
The provision of satisfactory customer service is the top priority at nearly every call center. This has always been a challenge but perhaps never more so than at the present time, when consumers are always pressed for time and busy with a dozen other work and family situations. When they call a contact center, they expect a satisfying service experience, and don’t really care about the problems of call center forecasting or scheduling or adherence or unexpected agent absences.

If a customer’s call is not handled quickly, courteously and professionally, that customer now has a way to share his experiences with thousands, or perhaps even hundreds of thousands, of other current and potential customers through company website message boards, email and social media. By then, the damage is done.

At a time when one negative experience can snowball into a PR disaster, it has never been more critical for call center managers to be made aware of problems while they are happening, and not hours or days later. A system must be implemented that consistently delivers professional customer service, with automated procedures that immediately identify and communicate problems to agents, managers and supervisors. Real-time data makes this possible, by allowing call centers to be proactive, rather that reactive, to negative situations. 

The Benefits of Real Time Information
Many call centers still lack the means to measure and track the key performance indicators (KPI) necessary to improve forecasting, staffing, scheduling and adherence in real-time.

But with a real-time workforce management system, managers gain access to a unified view of key performance metrics such as:
  • Adherence

  • Service levels
  • 
Answer and abandon metrics
  • Average handle time (AHT)
  • 
Average speed of answer (ASA)
  • 
Average talk time (ATT)

  • Forecast accuracy

  • Labor costs and staffing

  • Shrinkage and absenteeism

As the system automatically collects and displays real-time and historical performance data at agent, group and center level, KPI data is distributed through consolidated, web-based reporting, and alerts are delivered for situations such as calls running too long, agents becoming available and system failures that require more immediate attention.

Now, managers and agents can react to events as they are happening. The faster data becomes available, the faster it can be analyzed and decisions made based on its content.

In addition, real-time WFM should also allow for the ability to import or integrate other data to extend the metrics, and weigh them in conjunction with other KPIs.

WFM software can also set up scorecards for agents and supervisors that can assist with the conversion from reactive responses to a more proactive approach. While these will be chiefly utilized by agents and managers in the ongoing quest for better customer service, they can also be created for other specific company groups – for example, some call centers set up a cost scorecard for the company’s Chief Financial Officer, that can deliver such metrics as cost per sale, cost per contact, etc.

Choosing a Real-Time Workforce Management Solution
The selection of WFM software should be based in its ability to provide the insights and metrics to help call center personnel make better decisions. A comprehensive solution would include all of the following features:

•    Real-time performance snapshots and insight into emerging trends
•    Display of vital information on one screen, rather than multiple screens
•    Detection of patterns across multiple dashboard components
•    Identification of inefficiencies in agent skill sets
•    Generation of trending reports to provide evaluation feedback by day, week, month, quarter and year
•    Identification of actionable changes in your scoring process
•    Comparison of peers, groups or departments to highlight collective gaps and performance gains

Additional benefits can be derived by accessing this software in cloud, starting with the cost savings in not having to budget for the purchase of hardware, software, database or business intelligence tools. A lower investment means a more rapid return on the investment made in the cloud application, and updates and upgrades can be delivered automatically as they become available.

This type of WFM application can be accessed anywhere at any time via the Internet. As with any other business, call centers are discouraged from having all of their system data housed in one physical location. But with cloud computing, there is never a question of redundancy if a server breaks down or becomes overloaded.

There are environmental benefits as well, as information is stored in a climate that minimizes energy usage. And because servers can be shared in a virtual environment, the result is fewer servers and a reduction in the power required to operate and cool them.

Conclusion
With a workforce management solution that delivers alerts, and can monitor performance in real-time, it’s possible to transform call center performance management from a reactive to a proactive approach. Tools such as scorecards, key performance indicators, real-time alerts, agent analytics, dashboards, and customizable reports deliver a constant stream of intelligence helping you take the right action to better meet your business goals now and in the future. To learn more, we invite you to watch this workforce management demos.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Schedule Adherence: Still #1 for Call Centers.

In a 2010 ICMI survey, one of the top challenges cited by call center managers was “consistent adherence to schedule.” Why? Here’s one factor – according to a 2009 Monet survey, 50 percent of call centers did not monitor schedule adherence.

Obviously, you can’t manage agent adherence without taking the time to measure it.

Four years later schedule adherence remains a concern, given its impact on shrinkage and service levels. And the best way to address this concern is still workforce management software. With real-time adherence, a manager always knows if his team members are adhering to the schedule. The reporting generated by WFM can analyze adherence by team or by time period, making it easier to pinpoint issues that result in lower service levels.

Check out our new video on schedule adherence. You’ll find out how WFM can:

•    Improve forecast accuracy
•    Help contact centers achieve service levels consistently
•    Control costs stemming from overstaffing or understaffing
•    Monitor agent adherence in real time
•    Track and analyze key metrics

http://www.monetsoftware.com/video/?video=Adherence

Not only will the WFM-generated schedules provide more accurate information, they also put an end to the hours spent generating the same information with spreadsheets. Wouldn’t you rather have that time to devote to other matters?

Monday, December 23, 2013

How Complete is Your Schedule Adherence Tracking?

Managing agent adherence across all contact center activities is one of the most challenging call center tasks and is often the cause for poor call center performance.

Workforce management software plays a key role in schedule adherence tracking. The goal is to make monitoring easier and more accurate through a reliable automated system, and reviewing results to achieve goals in service levels, productivity and cost management. But this can be challenging if WFM stops short of comprehensive adherence tracking.

Every activity that goes into a schedule, even non-call activities, should be tracked regarding adherence. That requires an added layer of flexibility, the option to set up "custom states", and the ability to monitor activities in real time. Is it time to replace your WMF solution? These questions may help to make that decision:
  • Can you add any agent activity type into adherence monitoring as "customer states"?
  • Can you program custom thresholds and variances designed meet the specific needs of your call center?
  • Can you monitor such activities as special after-word and outbound preparation?
  • Can you monitor adherence in real-time on a dashboard?
If not, it may be time to find a new product that supports customizable adherence tracking, resulting in a new level of accuracy in managing call center performance. Watch this video about schedule adherence in action or download our whitepaper with Seven Strategies for Improving Adherence.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Improving Schedule Adherence

Schedule Adherence Monet Workforce ManagementSchedule adherence plays a critical role in the success of any contact center. Workforce management (WFM) software makes the goal of optimal schedule adherence easier to achieve.

How? Monet has created a video demo that illustrates the capabilities and key benefits of using adherence tracking and monitoring tools as part of a workforce management solution. Check out the video and learn about real-time schedule adherence:

The video should prove particularly enlightening for any contact center still using spreadsheets. If that is how forecasting and scheduling is handled at your call center, this is the time to discover how a workforce management system can:
  • Monitor agent status in real-time
  • Monitor and analyze key performance indicators and trends to reforecast, reschedule, and adjust staffing levels
  • Track and compare forecasted and actual center statistics
  • Evaluate adherence and take action to improve performance
Not only will the WFM-generated schedules provide more accurate information, they will make a dramatic change in the manager’s schedule as well. How long does it take to run all of the necessary numbers with a spreadsheet? With WFM, managers can access better numbers more quickly, so they have more time to address other issues, or leave the office on time for a change.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Real-Time Call Center Management

There was a time when “real-time management” simply wasn’t possible for any company with more than a handful of employees. Today, it is not just a goal but a necessity for most industries, as described in Brad Cleveland’s new book, Call Center Management on Fast Forward.

You can read more about his book and the article on ICMI's blog. The article describes a scenario where real-time management was utilized by an airline to get passengers loaded and a plane in the air ahead of an incoming storm.

Real-time call center dashboard by Monet Software
Real-Time Call Center Dashboard
While call centers may not have to face that particular challenge, it’s also true that incoming storms can take many forms, such as when a forecast doesn’t match actual call volume. With Workforce Optimization (WFO) software, it’s possible to adjust forecasts and schedules in real time, while also receiving real-time alerts of key metrics, and dashboard monitoring of key activities.

Call monitoring? That starts real-time as well with WFO, so you won’t miss a moment of the calls you’ll eventually use for training and agent reviews.

However, as Brad Cleveland describes, real-time management also relies on execution, once decisions are made on what needs to be done. Without this component, service levels and response times may not be as sufficient as necessary.

Bottom line? Don’t panic. With the capabilities made possible by Workforce Optimization, you have the tools you need to keep your call center running at peak efficiency. Just make sure that managers, supervisors and agents are prepared to carry out any schedule adjustments in a way that does not disrupt service. To learn more and see a real-time call center dashboard in action click the link to watch a video.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Schedule Adherence Automation

We offer a wide range of free resources on our website, including whitepapers on several important subjects related to call center technology and the call center industry. From the number of downloads, it is apparent that schedule adherence is a key topic of interest for many call center managers.

However, many of these managers also indicate that they have no Workforce Management (WFM) solution in place, and are still relying on spreadsheets. Without WFM, the vital practices of tracking, monitoring and improving schedule adherence is much more difficult, if not impossible.

With an automated solution in place, a call center manager has the capability to streamline schedule adherence goals and practices. Here’s how it works when you have the right tools for the job:
  • Forecasting – through simulations based on historical data, you can create a reliable schedule.
  • Schedule Creation – adherence is improved when a schedule takes into account agent availability, skills, holidays, breaks and other variables.
  • Intra-day Management – when adjustments are necessary, WFM provides real-time updates so schedule goals are met regardless of changes.
  • Real-time Adherence – this is the fastest way to compare forecasted data with actual daily activity. The results will aid in future forecasting and scheduling, toward the goal of more consistent adherence.
  • Performance Analysis/Metrics – how do you know which agents are doing their part for schedule adherence and which may require additional guidance or training? WFM dashboards and real-time alerts provide the answers.
To find out more, read our schedule adherence strategy brief, or review the whitepapers available on our call center resources page.

Friday, July 26, 2013

5 Contact Center Trends You Should Not Miss

Customer service and new technologies drive the success of a contact center. It’s important to be aware of new ideas and trends that may require adjustment from managers and agents. Keep in mind that these are not trends that emerge like fashion trends, which are popular for awhile and then fade into obscurity; these new developments governing customer service at contact centers require more permanent solutions.

1. Multi-Channel Customers
The days are long gone when a customer’s only means of communication with a company were a telephone call or placing a stamp on a letter. Emails, online chats, and messages on social media are all being used to ask questions about products, offer praise or criticism, or check on order statuses. Contact center agents must be aware of the varying best practices in each of these channels.

2. Customer Experience
Too often customer service is measured only by whether a product is purchased and kept, or returned. But companies should look at the entire customer experience as their product, which includes any communication with their contact center before and after the sale. 

3. The Cloud Computing Model
Cloud computing is provided as a subscription service, which can be a tremendous advantage for smaller or midsized call centers, as there is no need to invest in additional hardware and software. Other benefits for "call centers in the cloud" include flexibility (since call monitoring data is stored “in the cloud,” it can be accessed from the office, from home or a mobile device), easier implementation, and easier to use.

4. Social Media
As stated in #1, social media has become another means of communication between a company and its customers. But many posts are not specific questions that require an answer – Facebook and Twitter are places where a company can engage with customers at a more personal level, listen to their thoughts on a variety of topics and converse with them. What’s important here is to encourage your customer base to feel like a valued part of your community.

5. Real-Time Decisions
Quality assurance is impossible without reliable, real-time adherence and quality monitoring that incorporates alerts, dashboards and key performance indicators (KPI). Challenges are inevitable, but when they are quickly discovered they can be corrected before they can become an issue.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Challenge of Agent Adherence

Agent Adherence
Agent adherence is a metric that can be measured and tracked, but knowing how your call center is doing in this area and making changes for the better are two very different things.

If an agent goes off script, training and call recording can make certain they go back to using the company-approved verbiage. Some calls taking too long? Again, coaching and strategic changes can probably shave a few minutes or seconds off the typical customer engagement.

But agent adherence is a trickier challenge, because even outstanding agents can be vulnerable to distractions and other outside factors than can impact job performance. You can create a schedule that should be sufficient, but keeping agents focused and aware throughout their shift requires additional support.

Why? It’s human nature to get distracted, and distractions can emerge not just internally but throughout the call center environment. Agents may not be aware of how these “mental check-outs” impact not just the service level they provide, but that of other agents and the entire call center.

Also, as call centers become contact centers, engaging customers through email, chat and social media, it can be more difficult to assess adherence across these multiple channels, and make sure all are getting the attention they deserve.

However, there are strategies that have helped call centers with their adherence issues. We have published a whitepaper that outlines strategies for improved agent adherence and we hope that this might help you get new ideas on how to address this issue in your call center.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Call Center Scheduling in Real Time

So you’ve finished your call center scheduling duties and are ready to focus on other tasks – until you discover that the average call wait time is longer than it should be, and either something was missed on forecasting or a lot of customers just felt this was the day they needed to place an order or ask a question.

Call center intra-day management for scheduling
What do you do? If you’re locked into your scheduling, you may end up with angry customers and frazzled agents.

Situations like this are going to happen. They should be rare if you’re using the call center scheduling and forecasting tools at your disposal in a workforce management (WFM) solution; however, sometimes even the best laid plans can go awry.

When they do, hopefully you can count on a call center scheduling solution with real-time updates that will allow you to adjust forecasts and schedules accordingly. When external conditions change, managers should be able to review the call center metrics, in real time, that will help the business get back on track.

By reviewing forecast vs. actual call volume and agent adherence, managers can then re-run forecasting and scheduling based on what is happening in the call center at that very moment. Then, they can update the schedule based on current conditions, and adjust staffing as quickly as possible so customer service is restored to optimum level. Please watch this short video to see intra-day call center scheduling in action.

Call center scheduling may not be an exact science, but real-time WFM will expose any glitches, so they can be corrected before they cause too many issues.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Do You Measure Your Agent Schedule Adherence? Is it 70, 80 or 90%?

Schedules only work if employees stick to them. Most will but as call center managers have discovered, even a small drop in adherence can severely impact both productivity and costs. Many call centers are now pro-actively focusing on improving schedule adherence for increased service levels and reduced costs. Raising the adherence from 80 to 85%, or from 90% to 95% can result in huge cost differences. For example, in this Adherence whitepaper there is the case of a 300 employee call center and the assumption that each employee is 10 minutes our of adherence every day, resulting in $250,000 per year.

Fixing adherence issues is one of the quickest ways to avoid angry customers and rising costs. But first, you must determine your current adherence level. Yes, there will be math involved – but these are numbers that are vital to know.

Here’s the formula:
[phone time + other work related activity time] / ([shift time] - [lunch/dinner] -
[break] + [exception time] + [overtime]) = schedule adherence

Once you’ve got the results, you can add up the money now being wasted and put a stop to it.

What Causes Adherence Issues?
Are some agents taking too many breaks or absences? Is the schedule too rigid? Are employees showing up late and leaving early? Address these issues with agents, and make sure they realize how important schedule adherence is to the call center – and to their job.

This need not be a confrontational situation – one method that has worked at call centers is the setting of adherence goals, with rewards offered to agents that aid in their achievement. Monitor progress whether the goals are achieved or not, and keep the lines of communication open.

The Role of Workforce Management
A workforce management solution can play a key role in agent adherence. First, you don't have to calculate adherence, the system does that for you. Second, real-time tracking and monitoring makes it easier to adjust forecasts and schedules right when there is an adherence problem. Third, adherence reporting helps you analyze data from the past, identify potential issues that impact adherence and the opportunity to discuss with your team.

For more information, please download the Monet white paper Strategies for Improving Schedule Adherence.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Agent Schedule Adherence Visualized

Agent schedule adherence dashboard by Monet Software
Agent schedule adherence dashboard
Monitoring call center agent adherence to a rotation schedule is yet another task that used to be handled manually, and now can be achieved in less time and with greater accuracy through a workforce management solution.

With workforce management, a call center can monitor and record the schedule adherence status of all agents in real-time. The system tracks data on every status related to this issue, from lunches to daily breaks to when agents log out.

By having this information easily accessible on a workforce management dashboard, managers can quickly compare the agent’s actual daily activity to the objective intended by the company. One can even create custom states and guidelines to address atypical needs for a specific call center, such as after-hours work.

Once guidelines are customized and set as to which states (or statuses) should be included or not included in a schedule adherence measurement, the system does the rest. The different states are color-coded and can easily be monitored from a dashboard. It is now simple to review each agent’s efforts and classify their work time as within schedule adherence, or find out where he or she is coming up short. Too much time spent away from assigned functions can impact the call center’s productivity.

Accurate time management can be a challenge, as minor exceptions and changes happen each day. Perhaps an agent is scheduled to go on an approved break, but cuts into that time to complete a call that takes another 10 minutes. An effective workforce management solution can be configured in such a way as to record this time extension, and not count the lost break time against that agent. For more detailed information about how to implement effective strategies for schedule adherence, please click the link to download our whitepaper.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Schedule adherence alerts - do you get status alerts in real-time?

Schedule adherence tracking and monitoring is important, tracking in real-time is even more important. But, do you get alerts if agents or teams are our of adherence or have a different status than what they should be in? Getting notification in real-time allows you to make changes that have an immediate impact on the call center performance. The faster you can react, the easier it is to achieve and maintain your targeted service level.

Wouldn't it be great to get status alerts based on the various activities and exceptions you have set up? Wouldn't it be nice to define custom states and exceptions that are aligned with your unique call center requirements? Wouldn't it be nice to get either pop-ups, email or text message alerts based on thresholds you set up?

Call center schedule adherence status alerts

There are many scenarios and use cases for an adherence status alert system as you can images, here are just a few examples:

Agents not adhering to schedule: There could be various reasons for out-of-adherence and an alert can help call center managers and supervisors to find out how to improve the situation.


Agents return late from break or lunch: If this happens often, it might have a big impact on your service level. An alert will help solve that problem and establish more discipline. 

Call duration is too long: If a supervisor or subject matter expert is needed when calls exceed a certain threshold, Monet can alert that person to assist on the call.

Agents forgot to log out: A frequent issue that can occur if agents must manually log out at the end of their shift.  This alert will tell the supervisor that an agent has forgotten to log out of the ACD so they can take action. 

If you are interested in learning more about adherence status alerts, please contact us and we are happy to provide you more information and show you a demonstration.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What is call center shrinkage and how to minimize it

What is call center shrinkage?
One of the most important concepts in schedule adherence is shrinkage. Shrinkage can be defined as the time for which people are paid during which they are not available to handle calls.
There are many reasons that can cause shrinkage - and it has to be taken into account when scheduling the required number of agents to meet call volumes. But the truth is that most companies badly under-estimate the sheer volume of shrinkage that besets their call centers. This comes about due to a host of potentially hidden areas of shrinkage. Many managers keep their eye on several of these, but few are able to stay on top of all of them: lateness, talking to associates, personal calls and emergencies, leaving early and taking longer breaks. The bottom line on shrinkage is the amount of minutes per day that agents are being paid to be on the phone when they are not actually working or available to receive calls or work on customer related issues.

How to track and manage shrinkage?
Shrinkage can be a major factor in failing to meet service level targets. Call centers that take shrinkage parameters into account in their forecasting and scheduling typically achieve higher service levels at lower operating costs. They often do that by including all call related activities into the forecast and schedule planning process. Here is an example of how to track and manage shrinkage as part of the workforce scheduling process:

what is call center shrinkage

For more information about shrinkage, please also read the following two blog posts:
In addition, you can download our whitepaper about tracking and improving schedule adherence - it should provide some valuable insights into the relationship between shrinkage and agent adherence.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Call center performance management metrics in real-time

Performance management is a critical part of managing call centers and is essential to help you align your people, processes and systems to your goals and objectives, such as customer satisfaction, cost control and revenue goals. However, many call centers lack the means to measure and track their key performance indicators (KPI) necessary to improve forecasting, staffing, scheduling and adherence in real-time. Only if you get alerts and can monitor performance in real-time, you can transform call center performance management from a reactive to a proactive approach. Tools such as scorecards, key performance indicators, real-time alerts, agent analytics, dashboards, and customizable reports deliver a constant stream of intelligence helping you take the right action to better meet your business goals now and in the future.
Call center metrics and performance management with real-time dashboards
With real-time performance management, you can get easy access to a unified view of key performance metrics at any time that allow you to quickly adjust parameters such as forecast, schedules and staffing, or automatically trigger other events. Metrics such as:
•    Adherence
•    Service levels
•    Answer and abandon metrics
•    Average handle time (AHT)
•    Average speed of answer (ASA)
•    Average talk time (ATT)
•    Forecast accuracy
•    Labor costs and staffing
•    Shrinkage and absenteeism

Systems automatically collect and present real-time and historical performance data at agent, group and center level. Key performance indicators, scheduling information and service level indicators can be distributed to call center employees through web-based consolidated reporting, giving them the information to do a better job. This will also rree up time for supervisors and managers to focus on working with agents, coaching, training and planning, instead of collecting data – all resulting in better service to your customers.

If you are interested in learning more about this, please watch our call center performance metrics demo video on our website.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How to improve schedule adherence and get it to the next level

How to improve schedule adherence in your contact center
Even with schedule adherence tracking in place, one remaining challenge is often the fact that agents can have so many different non-call tasks, exceptions and states that standard WFM solution are not able to plan for and monitor. That's where Advanced Schedule Adherence comes in. It enables supervisors and call center managers to create custom states and rules to match their unique center needs. Here are a few examples:
  1. Create custom states for call wrap-up, special after call work, outbound preparation and other activities
  2. Establish thresholds for each state that indicate how much time is considered “in adherence”.
  3. Define which states are included or not included in the agent adherence calculation
Exceptions and non-call activities can be considered “scheduled activities,” along with available, break, lunch, and logged out states. Call center managers can customize which statuses are allowed and not allowed for each scheduled activity. Since every call center has unique agent activity types, this flexible approach to agent adherence monitoring gives centers a new level of accuracy in managing call center performance, while also providing more transparency and clarity to both, agents and supervisors. To learn more about this, please also download the Strategies for Improved Agent Adherence whitepaper from our resources library.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Call center schedule adherence definition, impact and tips for improvement

This blog has published many articles and advice on call center schedule adherence and this topic seems to be on top of the list for many call center managers because we see a lot of interest. So, here is another summary of the top articles about schedule adherence for you:
There is also a whitepaper about schedule adherence you can download if you are looking for more information.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The advantages of real-time schedule adherence in your call center

Real-time schedule adherence functionality continuously monitors and records the real-time status of your staff to show which agents are on the phone and which ones are not, so you can quickly take corrective action to streamline workflow processes. Call center schedule adherence screens display when agents are available for calls and when they take their lunches and breaks based on predetermined schedules.
A manager can easily compare planned agent activity to actual activities throughout the day, and can see the real-time status of each agent against the planned activity. Intra-day management features provide real-time views of forecasted, actual, and predicted call volumes, handling times, and other key performance indicators. You get alerts when agents are out of adherence, enabling you to adjust schedules accordingly, begin live monitoring, or record calls for future training sessions. Here are some key capabilities:
  • Monitor agent status in real-time
  • Receive instant alerts for out-of-adherence states
  • View agent exceptions in real-time and approve or deny them in one-minute increments
  • Monitor and analyze key performance indicators and trends to reforecast, reschedule, and adjust staffing
  • Track and compare forecasted and actual center statistics schedule overtime or time off during high and low call volume situations
  • Evaluate adherence and take action to improve performance
A key component to managing adherence is to reduce shrinkage, which is the time for which agents are paid during times when they are not available to handle calls. Shrinkage can dramatically affect your center's ability to meet service levels. To learn more about this topic, please read the whitepaper about agent and schedule adherence.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

5 Strategies to improve call center schedule adherence

Strategies for improving Schedule adherence
Download whitepaper

One of the biggest challenges of running a call center is making sure that employees adhere to their schedules. Applying a strategic approach to improving adherence is crucial for contact centers struggling with rising costs, low service levels, and low customer satisfaction. This whitepaper summarizes five strategies to help boost agent adherence in your call center.
  1. How to quantify the cost and service implications of missing staff
  2. Learn about options for setting adherence performance goals
  3. How to identify the reasons why staff don't adhere to the schedule plan
  4. How to develop reward and consequence programs that support adherence goals
  5. How to effectively track, monitor and measure adherence
The whitepaper also explains how Workforce Management software helps call centers implement those adherence strategies more effectively. If you want to learn more about real-time schedule adherence, please visit also our main website.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Call center schedule adherence best practices summary

One of the most challenging jobs related to managing any call center, is ensuring there is the right number of staff with the right skills available at the right times of the day. Over the last 12 months we haven written a few articles about schedule adherence and received a lot of interest about this topic. Therefore, we thought it would be a good idea to create a summary of the top articles about schedule adherence:
We hope you find these articles useful, and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about call center scheduling, forecasting or adherence.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What is schedule adherence and why is it important in the call center?

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.
Call center workforce management schedule adherence strategy whitepaper
Download whitepaper

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.