How Do You Define Call Center Adherence Best Practices?

New data shows that 45 million hours a year are wasted on inadequate customer service. The fact of the matter is this: Companies simply can’t afford to waste time or money when brand and budgets on the line.

But the question is: How can you ensure your contact center is best utilizing the scarce time of your call agents and consumers? Measuring schedule adherence can help you make sure your company’s time is being effectively used while enhancing workplace productivity and the overall customer experience.

Whether call center adherence is considered the time your call agents are directly interacting with customers or the available time per day of each agent, or both – these metrics are crucial for the success of your contact center. While different companies may define call center adherence in various ways, there is no doubt that measuring schedule adherence is essential to the success of any call center.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to schedule adherence, but we’ve put together a list of call center adherence best practices as defined by industry experts:

1. TMCnet

“Call center schedule adherence is a metric used in the call center to determine whether or not agents are working the amount of time they’re scheduled to work. Schedule adherence is measured by taking the total time a call center agent is available and dividing it by the time they are scheduled to work, expressed as a percentage.”

2. SearchCRM

“Call center schedule adherence can take into account time spent on breaks or doing other, non-call related work (this is called ‘compliance’). Most call centers define a target schedule adherence percentage that allows for some cushion time beyond the known scheduled lunch and break times.”

3. Talkdesk

“Measuring schedule adherence and enhancing adherence to schedule within the call center is important for optimizing staffing, efficiency and productivity. It will ensure that your most valuable asset within the call center – your team of agents – is utilized optimally.”

4. CRMXchange

“Adherence applies to the time used to interact with customers as well as the after-call work time. During the after-call time, employees are expected to use it for desk work, essential outbound calls and wait for fresh calls to arrive. Adherence applies to all three. It has been more significant with call centers learning to focus on relevant and important matters while testing employees on what they can control.”

5. Klipfolio

“Schedule adherence is an important factor in call center performance, as low adherence rates may result in failure to meet SLAs and deliver a poor quality of service to customers. It’s important that adherence take into account necessary activities such as writing up call reports and necessary breathing time between calls. An adherence rate of 100% is unrealistic and most centers strive for around 80% adherence.”

6. Call Centre Helper

“So, the way to improve efficiency is through adherence to the schedule, meaning that agents endeavor to adhere to their assigned exceptions and breaks during the day.  This helps contact center resource planners forecast workloads more effectively – if you know that a certain number of agents are in position to answer calls at a set time, the call flow will run more smoothly.”

7. ICMI

“While always an important metric in contact centers, adherence to schedule has taken on an even more significant role of late as centers have learned to focus more on what really matters, and on what agents can control. Where average handle time and calls per hour used to rule the metric roost, centers have discovered that agents are merely slaves to such measurements and that these metrics aren’t indicative of whether staff is in the right place at the right times, doing what they are supposed to be doing.”

8. CallMiner

“Adherence to policy and procedure: This measures how well agents adhere to internal policies and procedures when handling phone, email, and chat/collaboration interactions or processing transactions. This category should also reflect how well agents manage all regulatory compliance disclosures.”

Final Thoughts

A reported 69% of respondents in a case study from The Economics and Business Research Group said they were unsatisfied with the amount of time required to work with customer service departments. In order to effectively utilize time of customers and call center agents, it’s critical to monitor schedule adherence.

When schedule adherence metrics are executed properly in the call center, it can positively impact the bottom line and the customer experience. We hope this list gives you an idea on which schedule adherence best practices will be most beneficial to your call center.

Image Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/deucee_

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Posted in Call Center Best Practices

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