On Mar, 10 2023
Managing the schedule adherence of agents can be a major initiative for a contact center. While not all challenges are caused by agents, their behavior and activities play a huge role in measuring and managing adherence. One agent showing up 10 minutes late and taking extended breaks may not be a huge deal… but what happens when this behavior becomes part of your culture and extends to ten or even a hundred agents? It means inefficient staffing and increased labor costs.
With this said, balancing adherence against agent morale is always a challenge. Nobody wants to work in a place where they are afraid to get up from their desk for water or a quick restroom break because the boss is always watching. Below are a few ways to improve your contact center scheduling and adherence metrics the right way while still being respectful towards the needs of agents.
Make schedule adherence monitoring unintrusive – As alluded to above, it’s important to keep an eye on productivity without having an agent feel like a supervisor is looking over their shoulder all the time. Having a schedule adherence tracker within your workforce management (WFM) software is a great way to monitor productivity without being at the forefront of an agent’s attention. Connected directly to your call distribution system, both a WFM analyst and supervisor can view the status of each agent at any time to see who is on break, in a call, away for lunch, and more.
Provide incentives to help meet schedule adherence goals – Agents have the same motivations as anyone. Money, praise, and paid time off are all common incentives for rewarding excellent work and adherence. A benchmark of 90% adherence is a typical goal for an incentive, but some established contact centers with more sophisticated adherence programs seek a higher percentage. Providing a nice gift card or something similar each month to agents who reach this goal and announcing them in a public setting can go a long way to improving your contact center culture so it’s more mindful of adherence and productivity.
Get creative when agents are still out of adherence – Simply put, not all agents are motivated by incentives. It doesn’t mean they are bad at their job, it just means that each person is different. When an agent is having issues with adherence, utilize contact center scheduling software (often a core tool found within a modern WFM solution) to better understand when and why an agent is consistently having problems. It’s a great resource for reviewing common schedule adherence metrics and patterns around shifts, including start times. If an agent has great adherence when working afternoon shifts but does a poor job in the morning, it may make sense to have them start later in the day as much as possible.
Solutions like schedule bidding can help with adherence – What if there was a way to boost adherence by empowering even more agents to work during their optimal hours of the day? One of the best contact center scheduling tools out there for doing this is schedule bidding. Best of all, WFM software can power the entire bidding process from start to finish with minimal effort. A WFM analyst can create all the schedules they need for the week within the software and agents bid on them over the span of a few days. You can even create groups that bid first, such as agents with the best adherence performance from the previous month. Once all bidding has been completed, the WFM analyst finalizes the bids and each agent will get a notification with the results and their schedule.
To summarize, optimizing schedule adherence metrics in contact centers is a unified approach that combines respectful agent monitoring and creative scheduling tactics to improve efficiency. Getting the right balance between adherence and agent morale takes time but is often vital to the success of a contact center.