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What Is Call Center Schedule Adherence?

What Is Call Center Schedule Adherence

Call center adherence is a crucial practice within a call center environment that refers to the rate at which agents adhere to their predetermined work schedules. 

This is essential for call centers to optimize agent availability, maintain consistent service levels, and enhance customer satisfaction at any given time. Here, every moment counts, and every customer interaction matters.

This means schedule adherence is like the heartbeat of a call center. 

So, what is your call center schedule adherence rate? Is it between 85% to 90%? Then, lucky you, otherwise it’s time to wake up to improve the conformance rate. But wait, what is the conformance rate now? Both are almost similar terms, but no worries.

Today, we will delve into,

  • Importance of call center attrition
  • How to calculate it
  • Ways for better improvement
  • Difference between schedule adherence and schedule conformance

Ultimately, you will surely increase your call center adherence rate.

Why Is Adherence Important In A Call Center?

Importance Of Adherence In Call Center

Let us see two significant points why adherence is vital in a call center.

A study by PWC found that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, which includes shorter wait times, which is only possible with a high adherence rate.

The Erlang C formula is a standard method for calculating staffing requirements. This formula considers schedule adherence as a critical factor in achieving service-level goals. Falling short on adherence can result in service level failures. 

Without any doubt, you now know the importance of schedule adherence in your call center.

A well-structured schedule ensures enough agents are available to answer customer calls promptly. Especially during peak call hours, customers do not have to wait long. Ultimately, there would be no overstaffing or understaffing issues. This leads to a balanced labor cost, and all the resources can be used in the proper manner.

Agents can also stay stress-free, as they can finish work on time, a better promotion towards a healthier work-life balance. There will be a smooth transition between different shifts. Gradually, you will see a lesser attrition rate in your call center.

How Does Schedule Adherence Work In A Call Center?

Three Parameters Based On What Call Center Adherence Work

Schedule adherence in a call center works in a fast-paced environment that requires a delicate balance of time management, technology, and human touch. The whole call center relies on these three criteria.

Time management is the most essential parameter in call center services that a dedicated human must handle. Managers employ real-time monitoring system tools or often use software to monitor critical KPIs and create schedules closely.

Personnel must effectively prioritize their tasks in order to adhere to the schedule as much as possible. This covers their start and end hours as well as their lunch and break intervals.

The software helps forecast call volumes, average call handling time, and calls per hour and monitors agent adherence in real-time. The tools determine whether an agent is being used as efficiently as possible by comparing the data with the schedule.

This data-driven approach gives insight into the top achievers and low performers to give them additional training or take necessary steps.

How To Calculate Schedule Adherence?

Calculating the adherence rate is not complicated if you have all the data. It simply needs the total assigned time and how long agents take to fulfill the task.

Schedule adherence rate formula


Suppose your company call center agents have a 9-hour shift from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Here is a chart of an agent’s timetable for a whole day. The total time spent on breaks is 90 minutes, and a 9-hour shift counts for 540 minutes, so he spent 450 minutes on his entire task.

Schedule adherence Example

The schedule adherence rate = ( 450 / 540 ) * 100 = 83.33%

A 100% adherence rate is totally unrealistic because humans can not work straight for hours without any disruption.

What Factors Affect Schedule Adherence?

Several factors, which can be intentional or unintentional, can interfere with an agent’s daily work.

  • Personnel arrive late or leave early.
  • Taking off-days.
  • Unscheduled breaks.
  • Technological issues interrupt work.
  • Spend too much time socializing with colleagues.
  • Spend time on social media or personal texting.
  • Intentionally setting status to busy or away for not attending customers.

6 Ways To Improve Schedule Adherence In The Call Center

Now you know how vital schedule adherence is for a call center and the perfect equation to calculate the rate. Let us move forward with ways to improve call center agents’ performance that will lead to a high adherence rate. 

In case the percentage is lower than expected in your company, the following steps can better help increase productivity.

1. Identify Current Performance Adherence And Analyzing Agent Deviations

Before you start improving the service level, you need to assess the current state deeply. Your managers need to be very organized in tracking the data of agents’ performance. Then, they need to understand the pattern of both adherence and deviations.

Once you come to know about the reasons, address the specific issues that need immediate action and improve the areas.

Employees may have some personal issue or problem with the company that affects their productivity. Initially, try to solve them; otherwise, this can cause employee burnout.

2. Automated Workforce Management Solutions

Workforce Management, in short, WFM, is widely known in the call center context. In this way, you can effectively align your employees with the business resources, ensuring customer satisfaction.

If you want your agents to assist customers at the right time, then there is no alternative option to implementing WFM in your business. Focus on three criteria: reps availability, target task, and forecasting.

These solutions can assist in creating efficient schedules based on forecasted call volumes, track real-time adherence, and quickly identify and address issues like understaffing or overstaffing.

3. Use Employee Management Tools

Managing a small amount of data is not a big deal for a small call center. But for larger companies, keeping track of tons of data every minute and maintaining accuracy is not a piece of cake. 

But thanks to the advancement of technology, there is a lot of software, or tools, for tracking the overall company performance efficiently.

So, implement employee management tools like time tracking, cold call amount, performance monitoring, active working status, and communication platforms. These tools ensure transparency and facilitate better communication between agents and managers.

4. Regular Adherence Monitoring

Continuous monitoring of schedule adherence is essential. This doesn’t just mean tracking whether agents are following their schedules. It also involves analyzing trends over time, identifying patterns, and understanding the impact of non-adherence on overall call center performance.

Then, your company can act accordingly on the pain points.

5. Establishing A Reward System To Motivate High-Performing Agents

Recognizing and rewarding agents who consistently adhere to their schedules can motivate others to improve their adherence. Studies show that rewards have a positive effect on agents’ performance.

This can be through financial incentives, recognition programs, or career advancement opportunities. By continuing this, employees will show more dedication toward their responsibility and become more punctual. You have to keep implementing different leadership styles and methods to know which one is working in your call center’s favor. 

6. Providing Flexibility

While adherence is essential, rigid scheduling can be counterproductive. Also, reps may become frustrated and stressed by maintaining the strict rules. 

If you want your employees to work best, you must also focus on their mental health.

Offers some degree of flexibility, such as shift swapping, flexible start times, or the option for remote work, can improve employee satisfaction.

Difference Between Schedule Adherence and Schedule Conformance?

Schedule adherence measures how healthy tasks are being executed according to the planned schedule. At the same time, the amount of time an agent works overall concerning their schedule is calculated by schedule compliance. 

In short, adherence comprises all of the scheduled tasks, whereas conformance covers direct work time.

While conformance tracks the amount of time an agent spends working in relation to their schedule, adherence tracks how effectively a call center employee follows their schedule.

Both of the metrics are important in terms of measuring employees’ productivity and dedication towards them. Both terms are equally crucial for the company’s overall growth and need continuous monitoring.

Ways To Improve Schedule Adherence

Final Words

Call center adherence is the cornerstone of a call center. This simply means how much employees are sticking to their schedules. A reasonable adherence rate of 80% to 90% can help you achieve,

  1. A high call center adherence rate ensures
  2. Efficient use of resources
  3. Better productivity of agents
  4. Agents engagement
  5. Customer satisfaction
  6. Consistent staffing level

If your call center is doing good, there is no way to rest now. This is an evolving process where there are continuous changes that need proper coping mechanisms. So, precisely follow our tips to improve your call center schedule adherence.

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