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Three Fun Ways to Help Your Contact Center Workforce Understand The Importance of Schedule Adherence

Best of ICMI Articles in 2020 - #1 

Man juggling a tennis ballAs workforce management professionals, we all know the difference that just one agent can make in our net staffing, and that’s true no matter how large our organization may be.

Unfortunately, our agents don’t always understand that concept. They may be thinking, “What difference can it make that I come back late from lunch? There are 200 other agents out there on the floor.” And while we all know the benefits to the call center when agents adhere to schedule – improved service level, better customer service, and cost savings for the company – sometimes these benefits are not enough to motivate agents.

So what can we do to teach “The Power of One” to our agent population? A great way to help agents understand this concept is through interactive, fun activities. Here are some examples:

Tennis Ball Activity

Pull together a group of associates and ask them to line up in two groups facing one another. One side represents the customers and the other serves as call handlers.

Give each of the “customers” a tennis ball - this represents a phone call. Then ask the customers to begin throwing the ball back and forth to the “agent” across from them. They will find this is very comfortable as long as there is a one-to-one ratio of customers to call handlers.

Now send one call handler on break but leave all the customers. Send another call handler on an "unscheduled break" and leave all the customers. Keep throwing the balls back and forth to the remaining call handlers. The participants will easily see the impact of losing one agent, and then they can feel the real impact of losing additional agents. This is also an excellent illustration to employ when talking about average handle time, schedule adherence, queue times, and service level/ASA.

Bucket Activity

You might want to do this one outside!

Have one volunteer slowly pour water into a bucket - the water represents incoming calls/orders. After the bucket is full, start to poke holes into the bucket, and say that the first holes represent someone leaving for a break or lunch according to their schedule. Agents can come up to plug these holes to stop the water flow.

Then poke some holes to represent agents out of adherence – late to work or from a break, for example – and do not plug those holes. As the water drains down, so goes the service level! The draining water can also represent lost orders or lost customers who have waited too long in queue.

The Balloon Game

This is a fun game that only requires balloons and a little space.

Inflate a bunch of balloons. Have your agents gather in a room, one preferably with space to move around and a high ceiling, and get a few people to start tossing the balloons in the air. The object of the game is to keep all the balloons in the air and not let any touch the floor.

Now, start taking agents away to represent agents out of adherence. Keep adding balloons and let them see how difficult it is to keep all the balloons in the air with fewer people.

These fun, physical activities can help drive home the concept that delivering good service to callers depends upon every single person being available when scheduled. There are many ways to teach “The Power of One” to your agents - try one of these ideas, or one of your own, and see what works for you!

Topics: Culture And Engagement, Employee Experience, Gamification