The sole aim of the contact center is to provide quality customer support at any cost. Contact center agents are assigned dedicated work hours where they are handed the job of serving the customers and fulfilling their requests.

Contact center schedule adherence means observing how sincerely agents follow their scheduled work hours. Optimizing schedule adherence is vital for the contact center to enhance overall performance and not make customers wait too long.

In this article, we’ll be deep-diving into contact center schedule adherence, its importance, how to calculate it, and so on. All right, let’s get into it.

What is Schedule Adherence?

What is Schedule Adherence

Schedule adherence is the measurement of the work efficiency of agents in a cloud contact center. It measures how effectively agents follow their work schedule. This metric reveals how much portion of the working day an agent is available to receive calls. 

A high adherence rate reveals that the agents are fulfilling their duties and using their work timings efficiently. Meanwhile, a low adherence rate means agents take more breaks and perform non-work-related activities instead of actually working.

The Importance of Tracking Schedule Adherence

Schedule adherence plays a crucial role in enhancing the contact center’s performance. Here are some of the importance of tracking schedule adherence.

  • Schedule adherence allows agents to be available most of the time. Thus, they can respond to calls quickly, minimizing customer wait times.
  • Tracking schedule adherence minimizes agents’ non-work-related activities to some extent, increasing productivity and overall efficiency within the call center.
  • Adherence streamlines call center operations even at busy times by minimizing any problems.
  • Adherence data provides a reliable prediction of future call volumes and staffing requirements. As a result, you have the correct number of agents available to meet the demanding call volumes.
  • Adherence provides detailed insights into call center performance metrics by which you can monitor various aspects like the number of calls answered, active waiting calls, etc.

Factors considered in calculating call center schedule adherence

Factors considered in calculating call center schedule adherence

There are several factors considered in calculating call center schedule adherence:

  • Scheduled work hours: Agents must fulfill a particular work hour daily, which the contact center assigns. This is the total number of hours an agent has to work, including breaks and non-call-related activity. 
  • Time spent on attending calls or availability to pick up calls: This is crucial because it reveals how much time agents are engaged in their work, handling customer calls, and resolving their issues. It measures the time spent on both incoming and outgoing calls.
  • Time spent on breaks: Breaks are essential to function and perform well in the workplace. However, lengthy and unscheduled breaks hamper productivity and adversely affect adherence.
  • Time spent on non-call-related activities: Ongoing training or meetings pull agents away from handling customer calls and are called non-call-related activities. These activities are equally important, but agents are included in the significant task, i.e., serving customers.

How do you calculate contact center schedule adherence?

Before calculating contact center schedule adherence, you need to have the necessary information, i.e., total scheduled hours for agents and the actual time the agent worked (including breaks and other stuff). 

Then, afterward, you can apply the simple formula to see how much the agent adhered to their scheduled work time. The formula to calculate schedule adherence looks like this:

Schedule Adherence = ( Actual Worked Time/Total Scheduled Time )×100

Let’s take an example to understand better how to calculate an agent’s adherence rate. 

Mr. X works in a contact center and is expected to work 9 hours. But the total time the agent worked when tracked was only 7 hours. So, the adherence percentage would be:

Adherence Percentage = (7.5/9)×100 = 83.33%

This reveals that Mr. X adhered to his scheduled work time by 83.33%, which is good.

How do you improve contact center schedule adherence?

You must implement a few strategies to improve schedule adherence in a multichannel contact center. With these strategies in place, you’re creating a favorable environment for contact center agents to thrive. 

  • Implement Work Force Management Software: The contact center can use tools like workforce management to create an efficient schedule for agents and increase operational efficiency. This helps agents to manage their work time much more effectively.
  • Use Time Tracking Tools: Time tracking tools allow agents to break non-working-activities patterns and easily optimize the workflow.
  • Monitor Adherence Data: Monitoring and managing adherence data regularly can help get to know the performance of each agent, figure out adherence failures, and open doors for improvement in scheduling practices. 
  • Provide Flexible Working Hours: To promote work-life balance and boost employee morale, you must provide flexible scheduling options like changing shifts, part-time, and working from home. 
  • Integrate Scheduling Software: Implementing scheduling software is vital for more accuracy in forecasting call volumes. Hence, it helps deploy the correct number of agents to address peak call times.
  • Conduct Training and Development Programs: Provide agent training sessions to teach agents how to manage tasks, handle peak hours, and be more efficient on breaks.
  • Glorify and Reward Agents: Rewarding agents who regularly hit the adherence target can boost their morale, reduce turnover, and improve the overall efficiency of the contact center.

Call Center Schedule Adherence Best Practices

Call Center Schedule Adherence Best Practices

1. Proper Scheduling and Forecasting

Call center managers should create an efficient call center schedule or properly scheduled shifts for all the agents. It should meet the anticipated call volume and optimize staffing requirements. You should avoid understaffing or overstaffing, which will disrupt your contact center’s efficiency.

Not only that, but the schedule adherence you create should also be realistic and not take a toll on the agents. It must be a mix of enough break time and the right amount of work time.

2. Provide Flexible Working Options

If the schedule isn’t realistic, there’s a high chance that agents will be loaded with heavy work that they can’t bear. Thereby, there should be adequate breaks and time off so that agents can reenergize themselves to work again with fresh energy.

You should provide working options like part-time, split shifting, and working from home provisions to keep agents motivated and satisfied in the long run.

3. Assign a Specific Adherence Target

You should set an ideal adherence rate for your contact center. With that, agents will be under strict supervision to reach the target adherence rate. A fixed adherence rate of 80 to 90% is efficient for both the contact center and the agents.

It’s impossible to attain a 100% adherence rate for any contact center. Hence, an achievable target must be set by considering several factors like breaks, non-work related activities, etc.

4. Implement Training and Coaching Programs

Schedule adherence should be taught to every agent from day one. If agents face problems with discipline or completing tasks on time, one-on-one interactive sessions can be implemented.

Practical training and coaching programs can mitigate agents’ adherence problems. Seminars or web conferences are also great options to make agents more efficient and proactive during work shifts.

5. Leveraging WorkForce Management Tools

Using workforce management tools helps contact centers streamline and automate the workforce and organize agent’s time. This system is helpful for contact centers to get detailed reports of hours worked and the absences of agents in real-time.

With this full range of data, call center managers can ensure that the staffing requirements are fulfilled and make changes if things do not go as planned.

6. Create a Specific Leave Policy

Call center managers should create a proper leave policy so staffing gaps can be filled early and slight schedule tweaks. Having leave information ahead also promotes equal distribution of work and minimizes disruptions and scheduling conflicts.

Conclusion

And that’s a wrap. In this article, I’ve covered all the aspects of contact center schedule adherence. I hope you like it!

Schedule adherence in a contact center shows whether the agents are fulfilling their work schedules properly. Contact center schedule adherence or adherence to the schedule is essential for maintaining a consistent staffing level, streamlining the call center operations, and eventually serving customers better. 

It can be calculated by dividing the number of hours an employee works by the hours they were assigned to work, then multiplying the number by 100. The adherence rate is finally revealed in the percentage form. It is a way to measure an agent’s engagement ratio in a contact center.

FAQs

What is schedule adherence?

Schedule adherence is a way of measuring the efficiency of an agent’s work in a contact center. This metric demonstrates how sincerely agents follow their work schedule. 

What is schedule adherence for customer service?

Schedule adherence to customer service shows how much time or hours an agent is available for picking up customer calls. This metric reveals how long agents are actively fulfilling their roles of handling customer interactions.

Why is schedule adherence in a call center essential?

Schedule adherence in a cell center is essential because it helps forecast call volumes, create efficient schedules, keep track of agents’ performance, and so on.

Sandipan Khadka is an Associate Content Writer at Dialaxy with the knack of writing content that is appealing for the readers. He has written broadly in the area of VoIP and call center solutions.