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Chitika

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Avail and Queuing

petiks(Picture taken from Ang Blog ng Petiks na Agent)

To an agent like me, the word “Avail” is music to my ear. Avail is short for available -- a state wherein an agent is not receiving any call. In Tagalog, avail means "petiks".

An available state happens when the number of agents exceeds the volumes of calls being received. Example, there are 5 agents that are logged in and there are only 4 customers that are calling. The agent that doesn't have a call is on an avail state.
The longer the avail time, the better it is for an agent like me. It's already a piece of heaven for being paid and doing absolutely nothing.

On the BPO Company’s side, a lot of avail time (and longer avail time) is bad for the business. It means the company is paying agents for doing nothing ("petiks") and the more agents that are on avail, more money are lost by the company. Having a lot of long, avail time results in the following:

  • Voluntary time out (VTO) -- an agent will be given the option to go home early (under time) but the remaining hours will be deducted from his attendance
  • Training, QA huddle or coaching from TL -- if an account or if the company is generous enough to conduct trainings and calibrations
  • Layoff -- This is the sad part. If the account is having A LOT of avail time and longer avail time (30 minutes or more) for weeks, then it's really an indication that the account is overstaff
  • Agents like me can create articles like this one while others watch YouTube or check their Facebook page (it's prohibited so good luck to them if a member of Information Security screenshot their screens)

On the lighter side of the news, Avail time also happens during major holidays in the US like Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's Day. Right now, we have a lot of agents on avail because it's Memorial Day in the US on Monday. Holidays in the US are placed
(as much as possible) on a Monday so that their citizens could have long weekends.

The day after the holiday is usually a dreaded day. It means Queuing Day. Queuing is such a dreaded word in the call center industry. It's the opposite of AVAIL wherein the contact center ​is receiving calls that are beyond the capacity of agents that are logged in on the floor. Example is the 5 agents receiving calls from 6 or more customers.

Queuing also happens when there are a lot of agents that are absents or late. It means that the expected calls that those absent agents should answer, will be handled by the present agents. That's the reason why call center agents are strict with attendance. Plus the fact that the BPO Company is fined for those calls that were unanswered by agents on time (abandoned calls).

Queuing (a.k.a. high call volume) also happens on some accounts (usually DSL accounts). I experienced queuing on AT&T. Our average calls per day on that account are around 30 calls. Average Handling Time (AHT) was at 18 minutes back then.

For now, I'll cherish this AVAIL time that we're experiencing right now. Thank you Memorial Day Long Weekend. Next week after our rest days, we'll face one of our fears -- Queuing!

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