When it’s OK to Give Less Than 100%

We are always being told to give 110% or pushed to always strive for 100%. Sometimes that just isn’t possible. Take schedule adherence in the contact center, for example.

Schedule adherence = are my agents doing what they are scheduled to do?

Typically your contact center has a percentage goal that the employees strive to reach. If your center is anything like the one I used to work in, management may decide to be a little lenient at first and let something like 97% be the goal. You are able to marry-up the idea that you need agents to be there for your customers’ questions but that those agents are real people, living in a world where sometimes “things happen.” This shows that you still expect your agents to follow their schedule but that you understand that the drive through line at lunch might occasionally be longer than expected.

What I found myself doing was spending at least an hour a day manually excusing “exceptions”, those times when the agent was out of adherence, coming in late, leaving early, etc. A lot of those exceptions were legitimate though! The agents aren’t at fault if a call comes in right before they’re supposed to take a break. We certainly can’t hold it against them, right? So we adjust and excuse and they end up hitting the goal.

Now our agents hit their goal and we’re all feeling pretty good, except that they really aren’t hitting that goal. Without adjustments, they might be hitting something more around the 75-85% range. This number is the REAL number – their actual schedule adherence. And unless you have the hours to spare manually adjusting it (and who does?), then that noticeably less than 100% number should be the expectation.

So, what number do your agents try to reach?

Thanks for reading!

~Shanti Lall

Shanti Lall

Shanti Lall

I came to Interactive Intelligence in 2010 as an operational trainer for the Education department. For about a decade before that, I worked in a contact center, where I started out as a line-level agent taking customer service calls. I worked my way up to team lead, supervisor, and finally, project manager. I was doing quality management with a circa 1982 tape deck in a spare office with a speaker phone and workforce management in an Excel spreadsheet with about 5 billion lines of formula. Eventually we upgraded and brought in Interactive Intelligence. When I’m not training people who can relate to my former life, I’m traveling with my family.