What is Schedule Adherence?

Susanne PittsApril 20, 2021

Whether your contact center is big or small, managing and engaging your workforce is a critical challenge—and opportunity. In today’s work-from-anywhere world, it is essential to maintain optimal schedule adherence, so agents are available when your customers need them most.

Having the right people in the right place at the right time has never been more critical. That’s precisely why our team at Verint would like to walk you through an in-depth look at schedule adherence. We’ll discuss the details around what schedule adherence isand ways you can improve scheduling in your own business.

Our goal is to help you gain meaningful engagement from customers and employees. Improving the schedule adherenceof your contact center employees is a significant piece of that puzzle.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the world of schedule adherence.

What Is Schedule Adherence?

Schedule adherence, by definition, is a workforce managementmetric contact center managers can use to track an employee’s ability to stick to their schedule. To improve efficiency, contact centers focus on two main types of schedule adherence:

  1. Real-time adherence:comparing how an agent is currently spending their time vs. their schedule.
  2. Historical adherence: Managers pull adherence reports to compare the time an employee spends conducting call center activities vs. the time spent on less productive activities.

It’s important to have a proven, efficient process for tracking schedule adherencebecause it’s a vital metric to your contact center’s performance. A failure to control schedule adherencecan adversely impact your customer experience and the delivery of your SLAs.

An example of schedule adherencemight include pulling historical adherence reports if you begin to see customer satisfaction or SLA deliverables slipping. Managers can then compare these reports to a benchmark schedule adherencefigure to decide if new protocols need to be put in place to maximize the productivity of customer service representatives.

How Is Schedule Adherence Measured?

Since schedule adherenceis such an important metric for contact center performance, it’s fortunate that there’s an easy, concrete method for its calculation. Contact center managers can calculate their employees’ schedule adherencewith this formula:

Schedule Adherence

(Call Handling Time + Post-Call Work Time + Other Work-Related Activity Time) – (non-work related activities + break time)

Scheduled Time

Schedule adherenceis measured as a percentage, with the maximum being 100%. However, if employees were to achieve a 100% schedule adherencerate, this would mean they were constantly on their phones addressing customer requests. While the numbers might look good in the short term, this would eventually lead to employee burnout and cause drastic decreases in productivity later down the line. 

Contact center employees are only human. While a schedule adherencerate of 100% would be nice, this isn’t possible in the real world. 

Efficient call centers decide on a “target” schedule adherencerate. Managers should make all call center representatives aware of their target, which is typically a schedule adherencerate of just under 100% for a productive call center. Historically, contact centers have found 90% to be a good target number.

Calculating a benchmark figure is an integral part of the schedule adherenceprocess. A solid “baseline” for productivity needs to be set so you can gauge if your staff is becoming more or less productive over time. Actively tracking and measuring schedule adherencewill make addressing customer experience and productivity issues much easier in the future.


Ways to Improve Schedule Adherence 

Low adherence numbers can come from a variety of causes. A slow login process, employees logging in late, and personal distractions can all affect productivity. Ultimately, this decrease in productivity will negatively impact the overall customer experience.

If you’re currently experiencing low schedule adherence numbers and wondering how to improve them, here are a couple of tips and tricks:

1. Make Schedule Adherence Part of Your Identity

In any industry, culture is an aspect of your company that flows top-down. If you can get upper and mid-level management of your contact centerto embody productivity and schedule adherence, customer service employees will pick up on it also.

Reiterating how important it is for employees to do their part and embodying those principles yourself will inspire focus and productivity in your staff. By focusing on a team environment that promotes respect, fairness, and a customer-first mentality, you’ll begin to see employees become more available, and customer feedback will trend positively as a result.

2. Reward and Incentivize Productive Agents

Your contact center management can’t solely focus on negative behaviors. While low schedule adherence, distractions, and poor employee habits need to be addressed, you need to focus on both sides of the coin. Only having conversations around your employees’ shortcomings will negatively affect morale and productivity.

Rewarding and incentivizing productivity is a way to positively reinforce your employees for a job well done. It also goes a long way toward creating a productive team culture within your organization. Your reward system will keep your highest-performing agents at the top of their game, as well as motivate less productive agents to improve and move up the ranks.

Running Like Clockwork with Schedule Adherence

Although holding employees accountable may require some tough conversations, schedule adherenceis too important to be overlooked. We understand managers may not want to be the “bad guy,” but ensuring employees stick to their schedule is for the benefit of your customers. What’s more, schedule adherencecan be done in a positive way that leaves employees feeling productive and empowered.

For five more ways to improve your contact center’s schedule adherence, check out this helpful on-demand webinarhosted by Verint and 8×8. In this webinar, Verint’s Trudy Cannon, Director of Go-To-Market Strategy – Workforce Engagement, and 8×8’s Andressa Marlan, Sr. Product Marketing Manager – CcaaS, will break down the top 5 actionable ways your business can tackle and improve schedule adherence.

While schedule adherence is just one piece of the puzzle to empower employees to be at their most productive, workforce forecasting and schedulingis also crucial. Learn more today how Verint helps enterprise and small-to-medium sized businesses tackle the growing challenges of managing the modern workforce.