Call centers have always had time clocks. It is an easy way to make sure agents are arriving for their shifts punctually, that they are not having long lunches, and that they are not leaving early. Some call centers still use mechanical time clocks that you might find in a factory or warehouse.
Just because an agent is “clocked in” does not mean they are on the phone, serving customers. There are always those agents who are agonizingly slow to get at their desks – they need to get a cup of water, any coffee, go to the bathroom or chitchat with colleagues – as they go down the aisle towards their own cube. Getting these agents to the phones sooner is usually critical to improve customer service and more, maximizing agent productivity.
So what is the easiest method to ensure agent time will be used efficiently? Simple: You compare ACD logon time to time-clock entries.
To ensure agent time will be properly utilized, you need to make sure agents are logged on and ready for calls coordinating with the clock time. You may even consider using your ACD agent log-on and log-out times intended for payroll – depending on the culture and procedures you have established.
Today’s call center scheduling solutions allow call middle managers to easily and quickly compare clock time to log-on time. This is achieved through integration while using call center ACD.
Call center managers who are still using spreadsheets in order to schedule agents possess a more difficult time accomplishing this, as clock period and ACD reports need to be run separately and another imported into the other in order for agent issues to be quickly and successfully uncovered (and subsequently reconciled).
You should let your agents realize that this will become a new part of your management practices so as to know what to expect. You might want to explain that that it is necessary to make sure that everyone is doing the same amount of work. The program is being used to motivate agents who are not productive to move it up a notch. You might also let them know that it is essential in order to meet project aims.
Then you can easily build parameters – for example, you might allow five minutes in between clock-in time and ACD log-on time, in order to give the agent a reasonable amount of time to get to their seat and login. You might decide not to take disciplinary actions until an agent’s 6th “violation” – whatever rules you choose to establish, it is essential that you just share them with agents ahead of time and have an open dialogue with regard to the policies you are going to enforce.
Many companies have reduced agent workforces in their call centers, which has made it more important for call center managers to ensure that agent time will be maximized. Using call center scheduling solutions to compare clock time to ACD time is one among numerous strategies intended for improving call center performance while holding down operational fees.