Real-time: Is adherence a true customer centric measure?

Thanks to David Oxley, senior Customer Service Insight Manager at Asda, who started the debate in our Professional Planning Forum LinkedIn group.  Here are some of the highlights, join the debate.

Jane Bowen, Operations Manager at Worcestershire County Council “We do talk to our people about adherence however my team is not large but their AHT is quite long and therefore it’s an everyday occurrence for a call to cut into break time, immediately putting and advisor out of adherence. Important to manage, but not something I'd consider targeting.”

Kevin Horan, Head of Real Time & Business Continuity Planning, EE “You can do all sorts to manage adherence without driving a culture of not taking a call when due on a break, for example by building a tolerance time either side of the break i.e. the average AHT so in effect the agent is not out of adherence.  Or you can keep it very simple and reflect the overrunning due to taking a call scenario by setting the target % at say 95%. I would also really encourage you not to go down the route of backdating exceptions etc. in order for Operations to hit their target % as this is just masking poor following of their schedules. Furthermore Team Managers/Ops Managers should be empowered to do what they think is right but not have the schedule updated if it wasn't planned i.e. Extending a team brief by 10 minutes as ran out of time delivering key message. We wouldn't / shouldn't update their schedules but the T/M should have the confidence to justify his poor adherence %. 

Adherence is fundamental if you want to get your customers calls answered within threshold & access to an agent in a timely manner is key to customer satisfaction.”

Colin Whelan, Head of Professionalism, Professional Planning Forum, “Adherence is can be tricky.  First of all, you need to understand if your system has positive and negative adherence?

When selling the benefits to an operation, they find it hard to understand why you would penalise somebody for starting early, staying on to finish a call with a customer and going on break late, doing the same at lunch and in the afternoon and then staying late to finish the work for the day, but then to be penalised for that level of customer commitment. This is my experience is ALWAYS the biggest and most difficult challenge to communicate.

But on the other hand, the power of one is VERY clear and neat, we spend time and money forecasting, planning, routing, training etc. and in a queue environment we need enough disposable resource to deal with the random arrival of customer demand. If we plan this to a very specific level, and also plan ALL other activity in the same way now adherence can have a huge cost or a huge benefit.

Who is adherence for? The customer or the company…both and the third one is the colleague. If I go missing, for a day for example, from a team of 10, everybody else has to work 11% harder to pick up my work if the company and the customer are not to be impacted by my absence. Would this be any different over 5, 10 or 15 minutes?

Adherence is proved to deliver a cost benefit, but you should never forget to measure the customer and the colleague benefit of adhering to schedule.”

Phil Anderson,
Contact Centre Specialist,
Professional Planning Forum
This article on Real-Time & Operational Planning forms part of a Resourcing Planning Top Tips article produced by the Professional Planning Forum. If you would like to receive this regularly please sign up here

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