Call Center Flashback!

Throughout my book I shared some actual scenarios that occurred in a call center- good and bad.  The goal was to make the book more interesting and realistic.  In line with the classic television show Dragnet, please be advised of the following disclaimer with a slight spin: The story you about to “hear” is true.  (in this case) The names have been changed to protect the “guilty”.

Florence was known as having one of the lowest productivity results in the call center. She recently moved to my team and I noticed her talk time (amount of time spent assisting the customer on the phone) was very good, but her ACW was extremely high. Her quality was also very good, which would suggest Florence had sufficient skills to handle her calls. I had to determine why Florence’s ACW was so high. What was she doing in ACW that prevented her from moving on to take another phone call? During initial coaching sessions, she did not give a reason for having such a high ACW. I reminded her of the need to lower her ACW in order to improve her overall productivity results. On one particular day, I informed Florence I would be sitting with her to monitor her performance. I advised that I was just taking notes and she was to handle her calls as if I was not present. While sitting with Florence, I noticed she was very knowledgeable of policies and efficient in navigating through the various systems. She was a fast typist and could multitask well. She handled her calls effortlessly and moved to the next call quickly. I was impressed! But still, why was Sarah’s ACW historically high? Upon completing the monitoring session, I returned to my desk to write up my analysis. I pulled several summary interval reports from previous days and compared them to the summary interval report during the time I sat with Florence.  Note: Summary interval reports are historical reports that show the number of calls handled by a representative and the amount of time used in states such as ACW and hold. Upon review of the reports, I noticed Florence’s productivity during the hour I sat with her was much higher than during the intervals when I did not sit with her.  I also noticed her ACW was much lower during the interval I sat with her, so again the question was what was causing Florence to have such a high ACW when the supervisor was not sitting with her.  Is she talking to her coworkers? Is she taking breathers between calls? Is she leaving her desk to talk to her coworkers while in ACW? Or is it all of these? I met with Florence to share my findings in that she was very productive when I sat with her. I then shared the summary interval reports of her performance when I did not sit with her. When I asked why her ACW was so much higher when I did not sit with her, she admittedly said, “You busted me.” Florence revealed she tends to take a breather after calls or might visit her coworkers when she is in ACW.  After this coaching session, Florence began to show improvement with her ACW; however, she still required monitoring because of her workplace immaturity.  Sometimes this statement is true:  “When the cat’s away, the mice will play!”

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