Workforce Management Feature Article
July 28, 2011
Workforce Management Tools Help with Schedule Adherence
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The dynamics within the call center make it an exciting and challenging environment. Call center managers are charged with developing accurate forecasts to ensure proper scheduling that will support performance and customer service goals. This delicate balance is a bit easier to achieve when workforce management is in place.
According to this Monet Software blog, workforce management delivers great value to the call or contact center when it can also drive schedule adherence. Ensuring that agents adhere to the call center schedule is an important element as getting out of adherence leads to wasted time and money. Robust workforce management helps call center leaders to develop a schedule that meets the needs of the center, while keeping in tune with the skills and flexibility of its agents.
Monet Software believes that schedule adherence is a critical element within the call center and this metric must be measured and controlled. The company has also offered tips for ways that you can improve schedule adherence within your own call center.
First, you need to understand what call center adherence measures, and then be sure you are tracking and measuring it across the board. In its most simplistic form, call center adherence measures agent productivity. When workforce management is in place, schedule adherence will measure the percentage of time an agent is actively working on the phone as compared to the time that agent is supported to be on the phone, according to the posted schedule.
Agents may get out of adherence when they do not understand the impact that adherence has on overall service levels. It is important that you educate your agents, explaining to them how 10 or 20 minutes out of adherence can result in a significant negative impact on the overall service level of a whole group or call center.
Is your center lacking a clear definition of phone or non-phone activities? It is important that you and other call center leaders clearly communicate with your staff the different types of activities that are acceptable while on the clock and what is included in the schedule. If that schedule is too rigid, it may create too much pressure for agents, who will then need to take additional breaks. Evaluate the situation overall and talk to your team to determine the best approach.
While examining your schedule, determine if it is too flexible. A lack of accountability could result in agents being out of adherence. To avoid this problem, discuss it with your team, examining the methods for including flexibility into your schedule, without making it too loose. Your agents likely have valuable feedback and ideas to share, so give them a voice.
Finally, check your forecast and scheduling assumptions and calculations to be sure they are accurate. If you failed to include all call and non-call activities in your schedule, you could be creating a platform for failure. Your workforce management tools should assist you in this process, so make them work for you.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Chris DiMarco