Adherence to schedule is an important performance objective for agents. It is within their control (when implemented appropriately) and measures if agents are available to handle contacts as scheduled.
However, to ensure your approach is supporting the culture you want to establish, consider these suggestions for getting the best results:
1. Educate each person on how much impact he or she has on the queue, and therefore, the importance of adherence to schedule.
2. Establish concrete service level and response time objectives that everybody knows and understands.
3. Educate agents on the basic steps involved in resource planning so that they understand how schedules are produced and where they come from.
4. Develop appropriate priorities for the wide range of tasks that your agents handle, and guidelines for how to respond to real-time conditions.
5. Provide real-time service level information to agents, but be sure to back it up with training on how to interpret it, and how to respond at the team and individual levels.
6. Manage schedule adherence as locally as possible, e.g., by individuals themselves and within their supervisory teams. It should be tracked for trending and planning purposes (next point), but a bottom-up approach works best.
7. Adherence results and trends for agent groups and the contact center itself are valuable for planning and to assess how well the management approach and supporting processes are working.
In sum, adherence to schedule is an important objective. But apply it carefully, get involvement from the ground up, and back it up with the right education on why timing matters so much.
Excerpt from Call Center Management on Fast Forward by Brad Cleveland.