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Call center employee incentive programs

Expert Lori Bocklund advises a reader on how to set up a call center employee incentive program and which metrics to use as a base.

We are currently working on a call center employee incentive program. We have schedulers who work different shifts, part-time and full-time. Is there a way to come up with a formula that will measure the percentage of calls a scheduler takes, so regardless of how many hours an employee works in the call center, the incentive program is based on what is done while he or she is available on the phone?

While you could certainly calculate a weighted indicator of percent of calls taken tied to percent of the available shift time, this is not a metric we would recommend. First, it is very non-standard. Second, it measures things that call center employees can't control -- how busy it is, and how appropriately staffed the call center is during their shift. It could also trigger unintended behavior, like people trying to take the most calls, to the detriment of quality.

We suggest you work with some more mainstream metrics. Start with service level for the team, and quality for individuals as well as the team. Look at ranges for things like handle time and wrap up time. And use adherence to make sure staff are spending time as intended. The only common metrics which level the playing field across shifts with varying number of calls, handle times and complexity are metrics tied to the quality of contact handling. Depending on the nature of your "scheduling" contacts, you may also be able to tie employee incentives to outcomes such as first call resolution and accuracy.

This was last published in September 2007

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