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Understanding Schedule Adherence for Improved Operations

Updated: April 11, 2023

Call center managers understand every minute counts when it comes to customer service. That’s why measuring and improving schedule adherence – how well an agent sticks to an assigned schedule – is important. Understanding schedule adherence allows businesses to gain insights to help increase efficiency and productivity while improving workplace culture and fairness.

Call center schedules are often very complex, which means there are many ways an agent may go out of adherence during a shift. For example, an agent might arrive for his shift five minutes late; log in seven minutes late; go to a training session eight minutes late; and go over break by 10 minutes. All these seemingly minor factors result in 30 minutes out of adherence for just one shift. You can see how schedule adherence can quickly become a serious problem when you multiply these events across a contact center with dozens or hundreds of agents and multiply that by the number of shifts.

Understanding schedule adherence also helps transitions between shifts to ensure there aren’t any “dips” in service levels. Even just one minute of time off the phones can result in increased hold times and then decreased customer satisfaction. 

Companies need to ensure that Agent Schedule Adherence (ASA) scores are high enough for efficiency and set a standard ASA that is usually expected to be close to 100%. This means that agents are closely following their schedules and efficiently serving customers. 

Measuring Schedule Adherence

Adherence takes several metrics into consideration to discover if employees are meeting schedule standards:

  • The time agents take to handle calls
  • The time agents take after handling calls
  • Work agents do in addition to call handling 

Break time and time is taken to do activities not related to work are subtracted from the above factors to determine schedule adherence time.
Factors that Lower the Schedule Adherence Rate

There are several factors that can cause lower schedule adherence, which in turn results in longer customer wait times since there are fewer agents available to serve customers. What’s more, agents who are available need to handle more customers. Here are some of the factors that account for a lower schedule adherence rate:

  • Employees taking unexpected or longer than usual breaks.
  • Staff members coming to work late and/or leaving early.
  • Employees taking too much time on personal communications such as calls, texts, emails, social media, and internet activities.
  • Workers chatting with co-workers too much.
  • Staff members indicating a “busy” status in order to evade taking customer calls.

How to achieve schedule adherence

Achieving schedule adherence can be challenging, but there are several strategies that companies can adopt to improve it. Here are a few tips:

  • Provide clear guidelines - Provide clear and concise guidelines for agents, outlining the expectations and consequences of not adhering to their schedules. This will help to ensure that agents understand the importance of schedule adherence and the impact it has on customer service.

  • Use scheduling software - Utilize scheduling software that can help to automate the scheduling process and ensure that agents are assigned tasks and breaks in a way that maximizes their availability. This software can also alert managers when agents are not adhering to their schedules, making it easier to identify and address any issues.

  • Provide regular feedback - Regularly provide feedback to agents on their schedule adherence, highlighting areas where they are doing well and identifying areas where they need to improve. This will help to motivate agents to adhere to their schedules and provide them with the support they need to do so.

  • Implement incentives - Consider implementing incentives for agents who consistently adhere to their schedules. For example, agents who achieve a certain level of schedule adherence could be rewarded with bonuses or additional time off.

Optimizing Schedule Adherence 

Monitoring Staff
Software can help monitor agent productivity by determining what activities agents are spending their time on and the amount of time spent not working. It’s important to discover the areas where workers are not following the schedule, understand why, and offer feedback. 
Rewarding Productive Agents
By setting up a rewards system, you can help encourage staff to be productive by following schedules. These systems also reward and recognize high performers.
Training for Schedule Adherence
Providing training on schedule adherence when staff members first come on board helps agents understand what is expected of them and helps ensure they will adhere to schedules. During training, it’s important to highlight the importance of their availability to customers for offering a high level of customer satisfaction. Of course, it’s essential to encourage a positive work environment in which employees are happy to help each other.

Monitoring Schedule Adherence and working to improve it results in increased happiness for agents and customers. When agents are more engaged, they are servicing customers better.  Furthermore, companies hitting their target SA numbers can utilize resources more effectively and save money.

ASK Telemarketing Is Your Domestic Customer Contact Center

Schedule Adherence is a fundamental ingredient in operational efficiency and delivering customer experience excellence. At ASK, we have the protocols and processes in place to ensure this happens for every client in different industries. If you are looking for a reliable and efficient customer contact center service provider,  ASK Telemarketing is the right choice for your business. With years of experience in the industry, ASK is committed to providing exceptional customer service to businesses of all sizes. Our team of highly skilled agents is trained to provide prompt and professional support to customers, ensuring that they have a positive experience with your brand. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve your customer service operations and achieve schedule adherence. To learn more about how ASK can help your business through operational efficiency and teams adhering to schedules, contact us today! 

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