4 Excuses agents use to cheat call center workflows

Sneaky girl in office planning e

Call centers often implement strict protocols to boost productivity and customer satisfaction. But what if agents are cheating their way around your policies?

Inefficiency and slow responses are among the biggest enemies of customer support providers. As such, companies have streamlined their processes and enforced rules to ensure fast service delivery. Agents must also do their part by adhering to internal rules and exert their best efforts every day.

When burnout and stress kick in, however, the quality of your agents’ performance suffers. Being constantly buried under customer calls can force agents to cheat around workflow protocols to make their tasks easier.

Although you should prioritize your employees’ well-being, letting these offenses slide will send the wrong message to your team. It will affect your reputation as a leader and harm the performance not just of your team but also that of other departments.

To enhance workflow management, watch out for these four most common excuses that agents use to trick the system.


1.     “I was in the restroom.”

office employee opening door to washroom

This is a common strategy among call center agents. When asked why they’ve been away for a questionable 15 minutes or more, they’d simply say they were on a bathroom break. Unfortunately, it’s a little awkward, and not to mention rude, to probe into this excuse. It’s a private thing, and there’s no way to tell whether the agent is telling the truth.

Enforcing rules around this could be a little difficult. Some managers impose a limit on the number of bathroom breaks that agents can have each day, but often, such rules can be unhealthy. If you’re seeing suspicious patterns, it’s up to you as a manager to remind your agents to stay focused on their tasks.


2.     “It’s the computer’s fault.”

businessman holding hammer about to hit laptop

You notice that one of your agents is offline and is not receiving any calls, so you ask him about it. He immediately says it’s an IT problem, and you dismiss the case abruptly. After all, you don’t want to be bored with all the technical details. In the end, you just tell your agent to call the IT staff to fix it.

This is probably the worst way to deal with this situation, and agents would start to use this excuse repeatedly.

When dealing with situations like this, you have to get involved with the details. Ask agents to describe the problem so they’ll find it harder to make up an excuse.


3.     “The previous call took so long.”

customer service agent working with headache

After each call, agents must immediately press the “end call” button so they can accommodate the next customer support transaction. Otherwise, they’d still be flagged as “on a call” when in reality, they could be chilling out or dozing off.

The best way to spot this is to make regular rounds on the production floor. You may also want to review call recordings every now and then and implement sanctions or send out warnings to violators.


4.     “I’ve already signed out for the day.”

woman entering building opening glass door

It’s perfectly normal for employees to get excited as their shifts are about to end. When they can’t wait to go home, however, they’ll be tempted to dodge the last customer call that sneaks in at the last minute. To do this, they may use any of the excuses mentioned above.

Some call centers arrange overlapping shifts to prevent gaps in service delivery. They usually implement a mid-shift (usually around 3:00 PM until 11:00 AM) sandwiched between the day and graveyard shifts. You may also walk around the floor and browse call logs to pinpoint the guilty ones.



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