Illustration by Eric Jackson

Our top blog post in May focused on an age-old challenge for many contact centers—schedule adherence—and offered tips for creating a culture that promotes good attendance. Other hot topics for the past month included a WFM excel trick for counting days, findings from our recent Contact Center Training Poll, advice for empowering agents, and the do’s and don’ts of adding proactive work in your contact center.

Promoting a Culture of Attendance
Poor attendance is one of the top reasons for termination in a contact center. According to Benchmark Portal, the average adherence to schedule rate is 89%. Sadly, this means that, for every 10 scheduled agents, one is not working. With industry numbers like this, we can either throw in the towel or accept the status quo or we can create an environment that recognizes and rewards good attendance behaviors.

WFM Excel Trick for Counting Days
I am a workforce manager, which means I need to count days for many reasons: payroll days for my staffing models; working days, so that I don’t apply shrinkage to people on vacation or FMLA; and index days, so I don’t treat a month with 10 weekend days the same way I would treat a month with eight weekend days.

Management Training: Keeping Pace with Change
New technology, emerging channels, social media and rising customer expectations are all transforming the customer care environment. In our recent Contact Center Training poll, 61% of organizations provided ongoing training for supervisors, and just over half (52%) did so for managers. Most that did said that they only offered 50 hours or less of ongoing training per year for supervisors (70%) and managers (72%).

Empowered Agents: A Key to Customer Satisfaction
According to a study from Customer Experience Management, 71% of agents do not have the authority to satisfy a customer. OUCH! With high attrition comes the need to limit the authority of agents—whereas experience generates knowledge and judgment as well as an understanding of what is best for the customer and organization. If allowed the opportunity to provide exceptional service, most agents would do whatever is needed to exceed a customer’s needs.

Proactive Do’s and Don’ts
In many contact centers, proactive contacts seem to function as “filler work”—an activity that gets done when there is some down time (which, of course, there never is). That’s unfortunate, because proactive work is one of the few ways we have to really change the culture and the prevailing attitudes toward contact centers. It’s a way to show the organization that we are more than just an expensive department that reacts to the inquiries delivered by customers and prospects.