During an eight-hour shift in the call center with a 30-minute lunch and two 15-minute breaks, is it reasonable to expect my customer service representatives to be in "ready mode" six and a half hours of the day? What is the norm?
The issue you are describing is often called "adherence to schedule." What you call "ready mode" would include time on calls, wrap-up, waiting for calls, and any outbound follow-up required. Most call centers will define a target percentage that allows some cushion, as you are indicating by allowing an extra half hour beyond the known scheduled lunch and breaks – which is fairly typical (93% adherence to schedule). The other factors you might need to consider are things like team meetings and any training, which may increase the off-phone time. Some call centers will go further with their schedule tracking and consider "compliance" – measuring whether people were unavailable for those breaks and lunches not just the right amount of time, but at the scheduled times.
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