In these jittery times, the call center adherence schedule is a valid topic and always will be in the future. And if you remember the feeling when one or several of your employees are late the work, fail to fulfill a calling plan, quit too early, or never consider schedule adherence to schedule seriously. That was the worst feeling, and you remember it.
But you're uneasy about the employee's schedule adherence and ready to make effective decisions for the betterment of the call center productivity.
Interestingly to pinpoint that adherence to schedule problems and solutions are nearly the same as in remote work and office-based environments. For instance, instead of watching your contact center agents walking through the office’s door, you’re seeing their logging in scheduled time.
Instead of hearing what they’re saying in the office, you’re connecting to the call through the software.
And finally, instead of guessing how some of your employees disregard the agent adherence, etc. You just observe it, through the remote call center software. If you’ll read this material till the end.
We’ll promise you workable solutions for the vast majority of the adherence problems. Each of these improving methods for schedule adherence rate is money-free and easy to implement. If you are the know-how.
How to calculate the call center’s schedule adherence?
In the office or remote call center environment, you can make a simple calculation to pinpoint the percentage of adherence for each one of the contact center agents or all of them altogether.
For example, with this formula you achieve the schedule adherence calculation, per each working hour in the shift:
Schedule adherence of each employee is easy to calculate:
Overall schedule adherence call center formula is calculated in this way:
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If the overall formula drops below the required percentage that means some of your employees lack the adherence to the work.
Now, understand that the 5 minutes for resting per each working hour is good enough for the vast majority of people. Whether they’re young or aging generation.
Of course, for aging or newbies workers, the scheduled time can be changed up to 7-10 minutes per hour, due to fast tiredness. That's how your schedule adherence rate becomes better.
Yet the productivity impact remains good enough or great depending on the other issues listed below. Because they have the necessity to restore their mental and intellectual energy more.
Why it’s impossible or harmful to have 100% of working hours straight in your call center adherence schedule?
Because there’s no single business in existence, where managers or employees devote 100% of their time to the work. Whether it’s an office-based or remote, small-mid-sized or enterprise-like corporation.
The reason why is that every human being has to put in their schedule adherence a time for resting, brief talking, meals, and other activities during each working shift.
Let’s say you have 8 hours working shift. Thus, on average you’ll spend 40 minutes on the rest in a shift. Some of the most successful businesses have the rule to make break time, no matter what. (link)
Moreover, it’s productive and healthy to make a lunch break or something alike. Because otherwise, you’ll not only fail to establish schedule adherence. Yet damage the employee's mental and intellectual health. And as a result, sooner or later the disease, either mental or physical, or of them will disrupt the call center’s work.
Or a certain agent. Fortunately, with natural and effective call center schedule adherence, you can make your agents work with energy, health, and profit.
Instantly apply employees and business needs and mark the schedule adherence along the road.
Employees are the most valuable assets for your company. Whether you’re a small, mid-sized or enterprise-like organization. That’s why winning call center adherence schedule management touches the needs of the employees as well as the business.
Indeed, making an agreement in advance on subjects such as work schedules, hourly break time, lunch break, and quit time (the end of the shift) is the foundation of call center adherence. Once everyone agrees on the working terms and conditions, you’ll build a strong, fair, and profitable policy.
Moreover, by keeping the regard to the previous agreements, you are boosting the agent’s productivity, happiness, teamwork, professionalism, and other positive effects.
So if you’ve decided to establish strong working adherence to schedule and ethics, discuss these rules during the face-to-face or virtual meeting. Also, find out what are the most acceptable working hours for the majority of the contact center agents.
If, however, you need to drastically change schedule adherence such as working routines, breaks, lunch, wrap-up, or contact-up times that you know will touch their personal or resting hours. Just arrange a meeting to discuss the matter. Notice that your “innovations” must have common sense and never put too much pressure on agents.
For example, if you’re willing to set the adherence to working time to more than 91,6%, which is mean your agents have less than 5 minutes per hour for the rest, you can’t expect the adherence to schedule in the long haul.
Or if you’ll try to set the 8 straight shifts without the break time for a meal, that means that you’ll reduce the capacity of workers to maintain health.
It’s already scientifically approved fact – every human being must consume some amount of meal, each 4 or 5 hours. Longer than that and person becomes unhealthy easily picks up disease, and can’t work, until the full restoration.
However, if you plan to make the maximum out of your employees, increase the workload from week to week by a small fraction. And you’ll see where your productivity is going. Once you notice that someone is tired or is unproductive because of a lot of work, slow down or even slightly decrease the working activities to reach a stable level.
Refresh your contact center agents towards betterment in schedule adherence
Great contact center schedule adherence policies require managers two major skills. It’s professionalism and experience. By the way, only the manager or senior person has enough authority to establish a strong and workable call center adherence policy. And most importantly, the checking and changing of the adherence patterns, if necessary.
If you want to delegate this task, which is inevitable if you’re willing to free up your time for other activities, you need to promote the person from agents. And announce the promotion in front of the entire team to establish the promotion.
Let’s sum up, changing each part of the working shift (working hours, hourly breaks, meal times, AHT, etc.) require planning, implementation, and establishment processes. Each one of them must be highlighted and have certain time periods.
The reason why you need to see the time horizons of adherence to the schedule
No matter what, you need to move to a certain goal and have a plan for what time it requires. Hint: Many managers have no certain period of time for adherence optimization and as a result, they fail to bring them to fruition.
Some managers with a small experience and knowledge about the company’s stable operation design a schedule, and adherence patterns, yet have a lack the desire-motivation character to move towards better stability and performance.
Remember that if workers are unable to fulfill the working plan, there’s a reason for it. For instance, the knowledge, skills, experience, realistic plan, laziness, or something of it, and maybe everything in between.
Thus manager must have a bull's eye to see the real reason why a team fails to reach goals under the established plan. The professional must know what is the on staff’s side, and what’s on the management’s side that like a magnetic field - holds the process.
Universal obstacles you meet in any kind of contact center schedule adherence and ways to overcome them
Having a winning strategy is a small step toward adherence improvement, now the hardest part – is the actual implementation.
Is it possible? To change the adherence policy overnight and if not, how much time do you need?
Once you’ve made the decision about drastic changes (little changings will only consume your time without substantial effect) are necessary and you’ll be uneasy until all of them will be fulfilled. There’s a first and foremost challenge that stands before both managers and employees.
And here it is. Every manager wants to change their staff's habits in a short period of time. Yet people can’t change fast as many managers think. It occurs because of a number of the reasons such as:
The importance of the explanation and motivation. You know, sometimes colleagues don’t take your words about the adherence seriously enough because they presume it’s not that critical. To solve this problem, you need to arrange a meeting, whether it’s face-to-face or virtual, and show that adherence has supreme importance in the overall success.
Operate by facts such as: “It’s ultra-critical for everyone in the company to apply the rules. Because they make a differentiates between an astonishing success or complete failure of the company”. “Each one of you is a part of the company. And if one of you has problems, all companies have problems”.
“Time is the most valuable asset that we either use to become a top-notch company or completely waste our opportunity for surviving”. And it’s really that in today’s jittery economical situations.
As a manager, reading the listed above examples can develop your own facts and reasons why employees need to be more conscious about changes. Yet we highly recommend you to build your arguments as we mentioned or not go too far from them.
People achieved the working habits from previous years and working activities. In all cases, changing working activities, especially, slashing the bad ones and establishing the new takes some time. Hint: Managers are the first who needs to change. Don’t push them too hard for the next 3 weeks ahead (21 days). Why?
Because exactly 3 weeks is the period when nearly 100% of people start to change towards better habits and slash previous lousy working attitudes.
Managers are the first who require a change
The universal principle of every organization, whether private or government is this: The senior staff anticipates the employee's results. If the manager can’t manage their day-by-day routines: Staff monitoring, problem-solving, cause finding, work predicting and planning, teamwork, customer experience improvement, so on and so forth.
Then the employees are just incapable to deliver good-enough and consequently great results.
One of the first challenges that every manager needs to solve is time tracing. Only a small fraction of the managers are good time-tracers. If you want the specific numbers, it’s 1 or 2 out of 10 call center managers know where their time is going. So, the first step in the direction of time-tracing is to notice every hour you’ve spent during your working week. Hint: The results will surprise you.
Moreover, once you’ve noticed through time-tracking where exactly your hours are leaked (there are 100% activities that you can slash and never pick up them), you can put enough time into the productive work.
We’re heard recently that managers are arguing about the lack of time
Well, if they’d read this material they’d known the fact: their time 100% depends on them. And not in the external environment, which are more customer calls or contacts necessities. And the workable solution is to be regarding the Pareto Principle in your schedule adherence policy. It works like magic and is capable to find you oceans of time to fulfill your manager’s routines.
Want to establish contact center schedule adherence? Start from the small part. For example, trace for the time adherence such as logging in time of each of the agents. Let’s say your working shift starts at 8 AM.
Thus if all of your employees are logged by 8 o'clock in the morning they will likely adhere to others of your proposals. And this works controversially if some or the majority of agents are unable to log in on time.
As a result, if you can’t achieve the up-to-time logging-in adherence, you’re likely to not achieve it in the future. That means that the discipline suffers and you, as a head of a call center need to make everything to solve this problem as soon as possible (ASAP).
Solve instantly any kind of adherence problems in your call center once they occur
Wondering what qualities are essential for the manager? Here they are. The manager jobs require the knowledge of human nature to a good-enough extent. The more you know about people and their working habits, the better your impact on changes towards improving schedule adherence, customer experience, and overcoming of problems.
These pieces of knowledge include:
- How to manage your real-Time Adherenceas a manager (noticing where every hour is going)
- How to hire the person that will surely bring you the results and is unlikely to quit?
- How do train agents and give enough information or materials about their work to prepare them for great work?
- How to change their working patterns that start to produce predictable and stable results in 21 days?
- How do anticipate work disruption based on internal or external factors?
- How not to use the manager’s position as an advantage over the employees?
As you see, the manager’s job is a tough one and maybe even the most challenging work in the world. Why we’re saying so? Is it to discourage you? Not at all. Yet you need to know that it touches the most sensitive part of human activity – directing people toward productive work. Moreover, the more you know about employees the better you have ideas to overcome problems fast.
Here’s how almost any employee can understand and make your adherence work
Yes, people come to your organization to make a living by making sales or customer service activities. They're also people that are willing to be the fly-by-night (the vast majority of the people) and the top-notch individual agent (a few of them).
And these two types of employees: newbies and experienced have their own opinion, skill, and action toward your adherence patterns. That means they will react differently to each change you’re making in their routines.
The facts tell this: If the person has a decent experience in the call center industry, most likely the work is a pleasure for them. They seeking not only money yet the money-satisfaction balance, the 50%/50% model.
Being said that, the best way to overcome any kind of adherence obstacles is to persuade staff to adhere. In the case of the newbies you should motivate them as follows:
- If you will be on time, every day, our company would have a lot of options to improve customer service and consequently pay you the salary on the regular basis;
- If you’ll adhere to the company’s rules you’re bound to achieve promotion, better working conditions, better salary. Because at the end of the day, our main goal is to promote people and enlarge the organization by becoming a great company;
- And if you’ll respect the adherence policy then the company guarantees you protection against job shortages, and abusive customers, and will try to improve customer experience as well as your life in every possible matter;
- Remember that everyone in a company is helping each other, starting with the manager and ending with your direct colleague agent.
This kind of management practice today is observed in a few naturally successful companies while other organizations use tricks to control people yet they’re missing the mark.
Experienced agents are easy to persuade due to their rich experience. However, sometimes they also need to remember that:
- Experience is great yet even the best of the best fail when the company can’t achieve their adherence from them; So constant development and increasing of the professionalism is critical: studying the industry, ways to persuade, motivation to become better in a year;
- These working habits (logging in or logging out failures, contact rate decrease without a cause, KPI metric’s shortage without a cause, etc) require some changes to increase the overall company’s output;
- Find out what are the agent’s metrics are starting to decrease and discuss them with the employee. See what the arguments are valid and what can be easily overcome today;
- Delegate the work to an experienced agent. In this way, you can promote a person by saying: “You have a lot of experience, would you like to have a promotion?”
As you may notice, every suggestion listed above is touching both the human and professional sides of the employee. The great call center is neither a babysitter room nor a factory of machines. It’s a human-like yet professional organization.
And frankly, the only way to keep people together and achieve a great productivity impact – treat them both as professionals and humans simultaneously.
What if the individual refuses to take the contact center schedule adherence for granted?
Well, that’s the issue most call center managers want to solve. They also want to do it easily, fast, and effectively. By saying this, we mean you want to achieve the result – adherence to the policy without turnover or offense. And we know exactly how to do it. Read on.
As soon you’ve indicated the non-adherence of concrete employees (employee), you need to negotiate with them – privately, either face-to-face or by phone, doesn’t matter. And make two vital actions:
- First. You’re telling to the employee that responsibility wasn’t fulfilled and that brings negative effects on the productivity of the all-call center. The key moment here is that you’re not trying to abuse or press the employee, like in old movies about managers.
Yet you’re naturally concerned about the negative impact. And make your point to the last word and don’t allow to interfere with the employee while you’re talking.
- Second. Of course, then you need to hear the reason why this kind of problem occurred. As a manager, you need to find out whether the problem was triggered by the environment, disease, troubles, and so on and so forth.
And in this second stage, your goal is to achieve the explanation of why the certain action (any kind of adherence subject), wasn’t implemented.
- Third. After that, you make a decision toward betterment by saying: “Look we need to overcome this and you and I and organization is one organism that works in a tune.
If one of us fails, everyone starts to fail”. And then: “Please keep me informed about the situation and let’s return on track”.
The goal of these three steps listed above is to highlight the problem, achieve the information from the employee and make a decision for the future. If you’d do these three actions you’re making the best efforts toward solving the agent adherence problem.
Remember also this. Negotiating in the private is important when you want to naturally solve the problem. And you’ll meet the less defensive position. In the end, you’re interested in the result.
If you’ve decided to include the adherence problems in the meetings, then try to name those who are responsible for mistakes and notify them that they've broken the adherence. Notice, don’t allow them to make excuses during the meeting. Yet notice that after the meeting they’d have to report privately about each case.
Are 21 days enough to improve your adherence?
You’re impatient, right? You want to announce the new adherence strategy and achieve the irresistible result right away. But it does not always work this way, frankly, it never works this way. You can’t change the call center adherence overnight no matter how skillful or experienced you are.
The reason why it’s nearly impossible to make drastic changes fast is that by changing you’re touching human nature, psychology, and working ethic. And each one of these issues is crystallized by previous years of people's behavior. And to change them, it’ll take some time.
Yet scientists in psychology say and managers approved the fact that 3 weeks or 21 days is the period when you can start observing the stability in the changings.
Thus people can make drastic efforts and even succeed at a time yet nearly 80% of people can achieve great results only in a 21-week period.
Сhanging of the call center adherence is not about the sprint, it’s about cross
So keep in mind that working on call center adherence changing is about betterment in the long haul. It’s also not about super-active and short-impulsive efforts yet about good and long-period work, day in and day out.
By the way, it’s much more productive to take the changing adherence effort to the level when they will be literally embedded in the mind of each employee. If you’re not sure about whether it will work out or not, It’s better to make a zero effort towards changing at all. So the successful strategy is to change the adherence issues and move towards them until the final result.
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