Ask the Workforce Wizard

Question:

We are being challenged internally as to why we do not report on Maximum Delay and focus on it as a key service indicator. Our response is basically that Service Level provides a more accurate view of the overall service that we gave while  Maximum Delay provides a more narrow view of only one call. While we do review Maximum Delay performance internally to identify any staffing or routing issues, it’s not a key service metric that our senior leaders should be gauging   performance on. Just wondering if you all have anything to share that would help tell this story.

Answer:

Your perspective that Maximum Delay is just one call is correct. It is the worst case during the measurement period — the one individual who waited the longest either to be answered or to abandon (whichever your system is set to report).    While service level indicates what percentage of callers are answered within the preset goal, the wait for those who were delayed longer than the goal is unreported. For example, if the goal is 85% of calls answered in 30 seconds, the Service   Level reports the percentage in 30 seconds but tells us nothing about the 15% who were delayed longer than 30 seconds. It could be just a few seconds longer and it could be minutes. Longest Delay in Queue (LDQ) gives a picture of the  possible delay that those 15% are experiencing, albeit the one worst case. In general, we see LDQ used primarily as a trigger to identify staffing issues or call routing issues. However, that long delay could have been a result of a sudden surge of calls or a few very long calls rather than a normally random distribution that the planning algorithms expect. If there seems to be a longer than usual LDQ at the same time each day, it is likely a staffing shortage and shifts might need to be adjusted. It could be a time when shrinkage is spiking as well such as might happen right after a large lunch group is due back and adherence is not great. LDQ is an indication that the match between staff and workload was not as hoped, but  if the same half-hour shows an acceptable service level, then it is probably a minor anomaly.

In conclusion, Maximum Delay is mostly an anomaly measure — the luck of the draw that had a lot of callers coming in at once and some unlucky person was milliseconds behind the others and therefore gets the long wait. It’s not indicative of real service delivered to most. Service level is a much better measure to use.

Question:

What information have you found about contacting agents with work related info on their “off” time? For instance, new scheduling offerings may become available at different times during the day that are first come, first serve. If an agent is on site and able to read the published memo, they get an advantage. However, agents who are off and don’t have access feel slighted. If we offer them the ability to get a text message, they expect to be paid for the time spent reading/responding to workplace concerns. How do we solve this to provide the agent with timely communication but not consider it work time and pay them for it?

Answer:

If the memo is related to processes regarding their job, then it should be on paid time. If, however, the information is about overtime, time off opportunities, or new available schedules, for example, that’s a work-life balance option, and does not require being paid. To further illustrate, if they were receiving information about their benefits enrollment, they would likely spend more personal time reading it, because it benefits them personally and is not related to their job function. Additionally, I think you could have them indicate if they wanted to receive the information outside of work, and if they do, it’s voluntary and therefore not paid and that is stipulated. All of our agents have access to their work e-mail via a web portal when they are outside of the center. It’s their choice if they want to keep up on e-mail when they are not working. We publish extra hours available via e-mail also on a first come, first serve basis so if they really want the hours they know what to do.

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