Service Level, the most critical Key Performance Indicator in our contract, was always a struggle. We staffed effectively, coached to strong Average Handle Time numbers, and crafted special scripting for our rush hours. We typically met Service Level, but it was an ongoing challenge we never fully mastered. Looking back, I reflect on our technique of driving Service Level with a measure of embarrassment. Our strategy depended largely on two small words: “Auto in.”

When calls flood the center, Coaches and Floor Resources scramble to get agents out of Aux and back into the queue, yelling “Auto in” to anyone in earshot. As you well know, this is a common and necessary part of call center life, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Here’s where things go off the rails: You’re relying on this. Your number one Occupancy-driving practice—by a substantial margin—is stomping around the floor, flinging orders at Agents like noodles to a ceiling, waiting for one to stick. My old center resigned themselves to that same philosophy.

Why? Because it works.

Great, except there’s a cost to this management style. Yes, Agents should remain productive, but Aux abuse should be targeted to specific agents, something Supervisors on the floor should address. Meanwhile, rule-abiding Agents who more diligently attend to their Productivity end up resenting these commands, resulting in a drop in engagement and a rise in attrition.

Like I said, “Auto in” isn’t going anywhere. So what’s the solution? Minimize floor sweeps by increasing Efficiency elsewhere. Implement programs and practices that reduce AHT, leaving your agents more available and giving you a little breathing room between call spikes.

Direct Interactions, a BPO in Seattle, had this exact problem. They needed to keep Agents available for payment collection, so Efficiency was a critical target of their focus. They integrated Clearview’s Performance Management and Quality Assurance tools to measure this. The results were striking: Agents who used Clearview daily were 45 percent more efficient than those who did not. Clearview provided Direct Interactions the freedom to stop worrying about Productivity and enjoy their breathing room.

The solution to an unproductive floor isn’t to simply to “Auto in.” Creative adjustments in how you conduct your daily business—in Coaching, QA, Performance Management, floor communication and fostering Agent engagement—can bolster Productivity in the daily habits of your BPO, making for a workforce less threatened by queue demands and more engaged in the prosperity of your company.