Efficiency of a call center

In the call center more than two-thirds of operating expenses are related to personnel costs. This is why executives in the call center more than in any other type of organization are concerned with how well its resources are being put to use.

The efficiency of a call center can be measured by the following metrics:

• Agent occupancy; measure of actual time an agent is busy on customer contacts compared with available or idle time, calculated by dividing workload hours by staff hours.

Occupancy is an important call center metric of how well the contact center has programmed its staff. If occupancy is too low, agents have not enough to do. If occupancy is too high, agents may be overworked.

• Staff shrinkage; the percentage of time that employees are not available to handle calls.

Staff shrinkage includes meeting and training time, paid time off, breaks, off-phone work. Staff shrinkage plays an important role in determining the number of people to be scheduled each half-hour.

• Schedule efficiency; measure of the degree of overstaffing and understaffing that result from the scheduling design.

Schedule efficiency metrics helps programming the right number of people in place each period of the day to handle customer contact.

• Schedule adherence; measure of the degree to which the specific hours scheduled are actually worked by the agents.

Schedule adherence has a great influence on productivity and service. This is why it is considered to be one of the main team and individual measures of performance.

• Average handle time (AHT); talk time plus after-call work (ACW).

AHT and ACW are usually identified by time of day and by day of week.

• System availability; measure of system speed, uptime, and overall availability.

System availability metrics heps ensure maximum response time and efficiency as well as service to callers. For instance, if the interactive voice response (IVR) is out of service, more calls will require agent assistance than normal, causing long delays, overtime costs, and generally poor service.

• Conversion rate; the percentage of transactions in which a sales opportunity is translated into an actual sale.

Conversion rate can be measured as an absolute number of sales or as a percentage of calls that result in a sale.

• Upsell/ cross-sell rate; a success rate at generating revenue over and above the original intention of the call.

• Cost per call; cost per minute to handle the call workload.

Cost per call can include wage rates in addition to telecommunications, facilities, and other costs. Cost per call metrics help to evaluate how well the center is using financial resources.


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