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Case study: Reality Based Scheduling; Improving customer satisfaction and agent job satisfaction.

SITUATION: Employee absenteeism negatively impacted service levels

Meeting service level agreements (answering calls within a specified amount of time) has always been paramount for Center Partners and their clients. Because unscheduled absences make it difficult to answer calls as promised, Center Partners considered absenteeism a serious infraction. When company leaders learned, however, that over 7% of their labor force was on corrective action for taking unscheduled leave, they decided that absenteeism was a systemic problem and not solely employee driven. Looking deeper, they found that managing corrective actions was time-consuming yet ineffective, and the company was losing good employees because of rigid scheduling parameters.

RESOLUTION: Reality Based Scheduling

Reality Based Scheduling (RBS) motivates employees to take personal responsibility for meeting schedule obligations and for planning in advance (at least 24 hours notice) for their time off. It is based on the assumption that employees do their best work when they have flexible scheduling options that recognize the realities of life, and give them some control over whether or not they are granted scheduled time off.

The key success factors of RBS are:

* Hire an appropriate number of agents to cover anticipated scheduled and unscheduled absences


* Give all employees a bank of paid and non-paid time off each month

* Make the process for scheduling time off realistic, flexible, and personal

* Encourage managers to approve employee requests for scheduled time off whenever possible

* Share the scheduling responsibility between employees and managers

* Reward employees who call in when taking unscheduled time off by giving them the opportunity to earn back missed hours and to erase the "exception"

OUTCOMES: fewer unscheduled absences, improved client service, and increased employee satisfaction

Reality Based Scheduling--a total system change--has resulted in new thinking across all levels of the organization. Rather than referring to "absence" and "tardiness," people think about "time away from work." The company tracks the unscheduled time away from work each employee uses, and all employees manage their own time away from work over a rolling 180-day period. As a result, unscheduled absences have decreased, service levels have increased, corrective actions have decreased, and instead of managing corrective actions--coaches can now focus more time on performance management.

RELATED ARTICLE: Key Benefits of Reality Based Scheduling

* Service levels in one program improved 10%

* Corrective actions were reduced by 48%

* Coaches gained eight hours per month for performance management

* Productive schedule hours increased by 3%

Martha Lanaghen is a member of the Center Partners Executive Team. She can be reached at

BY Martha Lanaghen, Center Partners, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Technology Marketing Corporation
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Lanaghen, Martha
Publication:Customer Interaction Solutions
Article Type:Advertisement
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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