Workforce Management is the heart of the call center. The WFM team handles many things behind the scenes to ensure day-to-day operations run smoothly. In addition to scheduling and forecasting, they also need to monitor intraday activity and confirm that everyone is performing the tasks they were hired to do. However, many companies don’t understand the importance of real-time adherence or the impact it has when it’s overlooked.
What is Real-Time Adherence?
Real-time adherence, or RTA, is a call center metric that compares agents’ current status to the scheduled work time. When your team monitors this metric, you must look at what agents are actually doing as opposed to what was planned. Every instance that you encounter in which an agent is not available to take calls or perform their scheduled activity negatively affects your real-time adherence.
Which Factors Impact Your KPIs?
Once you understand what RTA is, you can better comprehend how it affects your overall KPIs. Each schedule deviation undermines your business’ ability to service its customers. Even if it’s only a few seconds or minutes to the individual, the time increases exponentially when tallied up for hundreds or thousands of agents who are out of adherence.
Once you start falling below your goals, it creates a snowball effect which is hard to recover from. Fewer agents taking calls leads to longer hold times. If they can’t get immediate service, callers become impatient and hang up. However, more disconnections mean there will be more callbacks. More callbacks inflate the call volume. And, these calls usually take longer since people are frustrated or upset. Longer calls lead to even longer hold times.
For companies that choose not to focus on real-time adherence, the cycle continues on endlessly. Over time, it leads to more bad behaviors, employee burnout, higher attrition rates, and severe understaffing. When you no longer have enough agents to provide quality customer service, it also impacts your bottom line.
How Can WFM Optimize the Workforce through Real-Time Adherence?
Unfortunately, real-time adherence isn’t something that can be fixed later – it must be monitored, adjusted, and handled when it occurs. Many companies choose to overlook the need for this since it is resource intensive and requires constant attention. While it was already hard enough to monitor in a brick-and-mortar workplace, the situation has become more complicated as companies increase the number of remote workers. Supervisors have less visibility and agents have less accountability for their time.
Team leaders and front line staff tend to exist in their own bubble and don’t understand how they fit into the bigger picture. Establishing a Standard Operating Practice for real-time management and a system of checks and balances will help clarify expectations. You must draw awareness to hold times, and hold both supervisors and agents accountable. Team leaders have to ensure that their agents are in the seats and available to take calls. Calling out bad phone behaviors, recognizing patterns of call avoidance, and restricting access to who can change schedules will drastically reduce the impact on your KPIs.
For those looking to stay ahead of the spiral, it starts by understanding what real-time adherence means and why it’s important to your business. However, it also requires enforcing the policies and making it a higher priority.