Why agents that do not logon are not a good idea

2010-10-14
Many call-centers prefer to have agents always logged on, that is, the queue always rings the same set of phones 24/7. This is apparently easier to set up, as agents do not have to log on when they start working and off when they stop.

We advise against this method of managing agents, because:
  • Even if your phones are members of the queue 24/7, it is possible that some of them occasionally go unmanned. As Asterisk has no way of knowing which phones are to be used and which are not, it will simply try and ring them in sequence; if nobody answers, it will try a different one. This raises the wait-time for the callers without giving you any benefit. You may also have callers struck for long periods on queues where nobody answers, because there is nobody to answer but Asterisk is not aware of this!
  • As you have extensions and not people as end-points for your queue, it is very hard to tell who did what, whose performance was good and who answered the phone versus those who did a poor job. They all end up in the same statistics. By having people log on, it is easy to distinguish who did what. It is also easy to tell who is available at a given moment, even remotely.
  • As a result of both bullets above, agents know they are reponsible for what they do and know their behavior is monitored; so they have all the right incentives to do their best.
  • Agents that do not logon at every shift do not appear reliably on the RealTime monitoring in QM - see below.
If you still do not want to use agent logons, QueueMetrics will nevertheless monitor reliably your traffic; the Agents page and statitics that depend on agent sessions will be blank or may yeld meaningless results.

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