Contact Center

How to deal with no call no show in call centers?

Madhuri Gourav
December 14, 2023
 mins read

Last modified on

The "no call no show" (NCNS) scenario is one of the most difficult ones a manager may encounter in the fast-paced world of contact center operations. When an agent fails to show up for their shift without any prior notification, it can disrupt the workflow, impact team morale, and compromise service levels.   

This guide takes you through effectively dealing with no call no show and minimizing their impact on your operations.

Tackle No Call No Show Scenarios with Expertise

Understanding NCNS and Its Implications

NCNS means 'No call no show' and refers to an employee's absence from work without notifying their supervisor or seeking prior approval. 

In a call center, where staffing levels are closely tied to service quality, an NCNS can be particularly disruptive.

Implementing a Robust No Call No Show Policy

Implementing a robust 'No Call No Show' policy is essential for businesses aiming to streamline operations and maintain scheduling reliability.

1. Establish Clear Guidelines with Policy Communication: Clearly communicate your no call no show policy during onboarding and through regular reminders. Ensure that all agents understand the consequences of NCNS incidents.

2. Define Consequences with Disciplinary Actions: Outline specific disciplinary actions for NCNS incidents, which may include verbal warnings, written warnings, suspension, or even termination for repeated offenses.

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The Meaning of No Call No Show, and A Few Absurd Excuses for No Call No Show 

'No Call No Show' is a crucial concept in professional settings, emphasizing the importance of reliable attendance and accountability in the workplace.

1. Meaning of No Call No Show

The term "no call no show" (NCNS) in a workplace context, including call centers, refers to an employee's absence from their scheduled shift without notifying their supervisor or seeking prior approval.

It is considered a serious breach of professional conduct as it can disrupt operations, especially in environments like contact centers where staffing levels directly impact service quality and team workload.

2. Absurd Excuses for No Call No Show in Call Centers

While there can be legitimate reasons for an employee's inability to show up or call in advance, sometimes the excuses provided can be quite absurd or unbelievable. Some of these might include:

  • Overly Elaborate Personal Emergencies: Stories that seem far-fetched or overly dramatic, often involving unlikely sequences of events.
  • Alien Abductions or Paranormal Activities: Claims of supernatural occurrences or extraterrestrial encounters.
  • Time Travel Mishaps: Excuses involving time confusion, like forgetting the day, waking up thinking it's the weekend, or even bizarre claims of time travel.
  • Pet-Related Excuses: Unusual pet emergencies, like a dog eating the car keys or a cat turning off the alarm clock.
  • Outlandish Transportation Issues: Claims of highly improbable transportation woes, such as being chased by wild animals on the way to work.
  • Misadventures: Tales of getting lost in familiar territories or ending up in different cities unintentionally.
  • Weather-Related Excuses in Clear Conditions: Blaming extreme weather conditions when the weather reports clearly indicate otherwise.

While some of these excuses might occasionally be genuine, they often come across as implausible and can be a cause for concern regarding the employee's reliability and professionalism. In a call center where dependability is key, such instances typically warrant further investigation and an appropriate managerial response.

Effective Strategies for Managing No Call No Show

Dealing with a no call no show (NCNS) situation at work requires a balanced approach that combines understanding, clear communication, and adherence to established policies. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to handle such incidents:

1. Attempt to Contact the Employee:

As soon as you notice an employee’s absence, try to contact them to ensure their safety and understand the reason for their absence. Use multiple methods if necessary, such as phone calls, texts, or emails.

2. Document the Incident:

Keep a record of the absence and your attempts to contact the employee. Documentation is crucial for any follow-up actions and for maintaining an accurate record of the employee’s attendance.

3. Review Your No Call No Show Policy:

Before taking any action, review your organization’s NCNS policy to ensure that your response is consistent with established procedures.

4. Assess the Situation:

Once you make contact, or if the employee returns to work, assess the situation. If they had a legitimate emergency, consider showing leniency. However, if the excuse seems unjustified or if this is repeated behavior, follow your disciplinary process.

5. Implement Disciplinary Actions if Necessary:

Depending on your policy and the circumstances, disciplinary actions may include a formal warning, suspension, or even termination for repeated offenses.

6. Communicate the Consequences:

Clearly communicate to the employee the consequences of their actions and how NCNS incidents impact the team and the organization.

7. Provide Clear Expectations Moving Forward:

Reinforce your attendance expectations and the importance of notifying supervisors in case of potential absences.

8. Cover the Workload:

Arrange for temporary coverage of the employee’s duties if necessary. This might involve redistributing work among team members or calling in backup staff.

9. Analyze Patterns and Address Root Causes:

If NCNS occurrences are frequent, analyze patterns to identify any underlying issues. Factors like burnout, unclear policies, or personal challenges need to be addressed.

10. Foster a Positive Work Environment:

Create a work culture where employees feel valued and are, therefore, less likely to skip work without notice. Open communication, support for work-life balance, and employee engagement initiatives can help reduce NCNS incidents.

Dealing with no call no shows effectively is crucial for maintaining discipline, morale, and productivity in the workplace. It’s important to balance firmness with fairness and empathy, understanding that each situation may have unique circumstances.

Dealing with the Aftermath of NCNS

Proactive and systematic approach is crucial for businesses to address 'No Call No Show' incidents, minimizing disruptions and maintaining operational efficiency.

1. Covering Shifts

  • Cross-Training: Ensure that multiple agents are trained to handle different roles, allowing for easier coverage of absentees.
  • On-Call Staff: Maintain a roster of on-call staff who can step in during unexpected shortages.

2. Review and Adjust Policies as Needed

  • Regular Policy Review: Regularly review and update your NCNS policy to ensure it remains effective and fair.

3. Open Communication Channels

  • Encourage Communication: Make it easy for agents to notify supervisors of potential absences. A culture of open communication can prevent many NCNS incidents.

Turning Challenges into Solutions

Dealing with no call no shows in a contact center requires a balanced approach of clear policies, understanding, and effective management strategies. By establishing a robust NCNS policy, fostering open communication, and implementing preventive measures, call center managers can mitigate the impact of these incidents and maintain a productive and efficient work environment, ensuring agent performance. 

Ultimately, the goal is not just to address the issue but to create an atmosphere where NCNS becomes a rarity rather than a regular occurrence.

Manage No Call No Show Incidents Proactively


1. What is the best reason for a no call, no show?

No call, no show situations are often due to emergencies like medical emergencies or accidents, but employees must inform their employer promptly.

2. How to manage absenteeism in BPO?

BPO absenteeism can be effectively managed by implementing clear attendance policies, monitoring patterns, addressing employee engagement and burnout, offering flexible scheduling options, and providing support programs.

3. How much absenteeism is acceptable?

Organizations and industries typically consider a 1-2% absenteeism rate, 2-4 days per year, as normal or acceptable, depending on job nature and company policies.

4. How much unexcused absenteeism is acceptable?

Unexcused absences are less tolerable than excused ones and can lead to disciplinary action. Companies should define and communicate to employees what constitutes an unexcused absence.

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