call center schedule adherence

What is call center schedule adherence?

Call center schedule adherence is a standard metric used in business call centers to determine whether call center agents are working the amount of time they are scheduled to work.

Schedule adherence is measured by taking the total time a call center agent is scheduled to work and dividing it by the time they are available for calls, expressed as a percentage.

Factors considered in calculating call center schedule adherence

Call center schedule adherence can take into account the following activities:

  • time spent on calls or availability to take calls;
  • time spent on breaks; and
  • time spent doing other non-call-related work.

Companies commonly use high adherence rates to assess call center performance and schedule compliance, but they should also measure agents' ability to adhere to internal policies regarding communication and workflows.

Most call centers and contact centers define a target schedule adherence percentage that allows for an additional cushion beyond scheduled lunch and breaks.

In modern call centers, managers use software to ensure agents' conformance in real time.

They can also access other adherence metrics, such as average handle time and calls per hour. These metrics are all used cumulatively to assess and improve schedule adherence and ensure a staff member is genuinely being utilized optimally.

The benefits of using a call center schedule adherence program

There are many benefits to using call center adherence schedules as a metric of employee performance:

  • Workforce management. Managers can improve workforce management, including making better staffing decisions and forecasting workloads, by accessing the exact number of hours agents will be working.
  • Incentives for agents. Setting a target provides an incentive to ensure that the appropriate number of hours are spent on providing service, thereby increasing agent productivity.
  • A clear benchmark for assessing performance. Managers can quickly evaluate which agents bring high value by looking at their schedule adherence. By using call center adherence schedules as a metric, agents are more likely to comply with the schedule.
  • Improved customer experience. Increased working hours will translate into less wait time for customers and can go a long way to ensure adherence to service-level agreements (SLA). The improvement in SLA adherence directly results in increased customer satisfaction.

Call center schedule adherence best practices

The following is a list of best practices regarding implementing and measuring a call center schedule adherence program to ensure that it has the highest likelihood to succeed:

  1. Define the target schedule adherence percentage. Most call centers strive for an 80% schedule adherence rate, as 100% is considered unrealistic.
  2. Implement agent scheduling software to ensure real-time adherence in the call center.
  3. Evaluate schedule adherence cumulatively with other performance metrics, such as average handle time and calls per hour.
  4. Periodically review the target schedule adherence percentage to ensure it still meets customer service goals.
  5. Use schedule adherence as an incentive for agents to work the appropriate number of hours.
  6. Celebrate high achievers and coach low performers on improving their schedule adherence.
  7. Communicate expectations around adherence to all staff members involved in the call center operation.

Call center schedule adherence is an important metric for measuring employee productivity and customer service.

There are many benefits to using call center adherence schedules, such as improving customer experience and assessing employee performance.

However, to ensure success, best practices should be followed, such as defining a target schedule adherence percentage and implementing agent scheduling software.

See also: what is contact center management, and the difference between call centers and contact center.

This was last updated in April 2022

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