Paul Chance of NICE discusses why he believes schedule adherence is an underrated contact centre metric.
A recent survey by the Society of Workforce Planning Professionals (SWPP) found that while nearly half of respondents used a vendor-provided workforce management (WFM) solution to measure adherence to planned schedules, 35 percent said they did not monitor for adherence at all.
The survey results reflect a larger issue affecting the industry, revealing that many contact centre managers don’t understand the real value of schedule adherence.
Schedule adherence measures how closely agents follow their scheduled activities. Any deviation, which includes entered exceptions, results in a lower adherence score.
Some contact centre supervisors spend a large chunk of their day trying to make adherence scores “look” good or stressing over employees who aren’t where they are supposed to be. The reality is that making adherence scores “look” good can’t hide dissatisfied customers or missed service levels.
What some industry professionals have forgotten is that the purpose of measuring adherence isn’t simply to ensure that agents are following their schedule. In fact, measuring adherence can help the contact centre:
- Ensure accurate visibility into projected coverage necessary for intraday decision-making.
- Promote operational efficiency, increased productivity, reduced occupancy, lower average wait times and greater customer satisfaction.
- Plan for more effective staffing needs in the future based upon insight into the historical use of agent resources.
WFM solutions on the market today offer a variety of capabilities that enable contact centres to easily and efficiently measure schedule adherence and schedule exceptions, including:
- Real-time adherence (RTA): RTA provides managers with immediate visibility into scheduled versus actual agent activities, alerting them when there is a potential issue, so they can take immediate action.
- Historical adherence reports: By comparing agent schedules with actual login/logout activity provided by the ACD, historical adherence reports provide supervisors with a valuable tool for training agents.
- Intraday management: Intraday management screens provide visibility into projected service level results and coverage based upon actual volumes and scheduled resources. Using this insight, managers can be more productive when making staffing decisions throughout the day.
- Drag-and-drop schedule modification: By making it easy to modify schedules, workforce managers are better equipped to match staffing to demand.
- Agent-empowerment tools: Workforce management that enable agents to automatically trade schedules with other agents and request scheduling exceptions (like tardiness and customer call-backs), effectively streamline administrative tasks associated with managing schedules.
WFM systems are designed to help contact centres improve productivity, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, but they are only as effective as the centre’s WFM processes.
When used in conjunction with effective schedule management processes and practices for measuring adherence, workforce management systems increase agent productivity, improve operational efficiency and drive greater customer satisfaction.
To efficiently meet service level goals, managers and leaders need to be willing to review and revise their current processes for measuring adherence.
When exceptions are entered in advance and everyone is held accountable for adherence results, schedule adherence can be used as a metric to drive better performance.
For more from NICE on this topic, read the white paper: 7 Not-So-Best Practices of Adherence