AUX Codes (or Auxiliary Codes, Reason Codes) are used to track the time a call centre agent has deliberately chosen to not accept calls delivered by the ACD.
These should not be confused with Line of Business codes (LOB) which are used to capture information about why the customer has called.
For most call centre agents, to be able to use AUX Codes they are required to first log in to the Automatic Call Distributor or Contact Centre Software that send calls to agent’s extensions as per the defined Call Routing strategy.
So what are auxiliary codes in a call centre?
Auxiliary Codes enable the contact centre employee to enter a code that is typically done via the ‘unavailable’ or ‘Not Ready’ buttons on the phone and are used to determine the reason a contact centre agent is not able to accept calls.
When the button is pressed, the ACD will prompt for a reason code/status with some examples listed below.
Whilst the codes can be used if the agent is having a mental break, being in an Auxiliary state/status doesn’t always mean the employee isn’t being productive.
For example, they may be responding to some emails or completing an e-Learning module and just need some time without being interrupted by calls.
The challenge with the AUX state is whilst it gives you some insight into where agent time is being spent, it tells you nothing about the output/productivity of the agent whilst they are in that state.
So if, for example, an agent was responding to emails and they had a total of 3 hours in the ‘Emails’ Auxiliary Code, that’s all you will know – they were working on emails but you won’t have any idea how many emails they completed.
Common Call Centre Auxiliary Codes
- After Call Work (this can be automatically activated after each call for a default time period)
- Outbound calls
- Tea break
- Lunch break
- Emails/Written Correspondence
- Toilet break
- Getting a drink
Being able to add/edit/delete Auxiliary codes is typically a feature of your ACD (and if it’s not you need to upgrade so check here for a list of industry suppliers).
Reporting can typically be run at any interval period as well as on real-time dashboards.
AUX Codes Best Practice
For WFM managers and contact centre managers it can be tempting to account for every single second of your workforce.
Whilst there is little doubt that having a granular view of how your workforce spends their AUX time can be beneficial, it can be a difficult thing to monitor.
Especially if you have too many options.
As you can’t track output, the only way to verify an agent is in the correct AUX state is to physically observe them.
In a small centre, this may be possible but in a large centre, it’s practically impossible.
For this reason, most contact centres seem to restrict themselves to a maximum of five AUX codes.
Some key tips:
- Don’t use a specific code for the toilet. It’s disrespectful and demeaning. Some centres use a ‘Personal’ auxiliary code which could mean grabbing a drink, going to the toilet, stretching your legs etc).
- Be clear on when it’s OK to log out completely or use an AUX Code (recommend logging out for unpaid breaks only – e.g. lunch)
- Learn: Search our courses for emerging and existing contact centre managers >
- Read: Tips for contact centre managers >
- Related Glossary Term: Call Centre Wrap Codes or Line of Business Codes
- Download: Erlang C Calculator >
- Search: Industry suppliers of call centre technology >