Call center occupancy is one of the key metrics that is often confused with an agent’s productivity. Essentially, It is the percentage of time that an agent actually spend handling incoming calls against the available or idle time, which is determined by dividing workload hours by staff hours. Agents can achieve 100% occupancy rate, but it may not stand true for agents productivity.
With the less available resources, there might be a possibility that the agents achieve good rate of occupancy but at the same time it’s not necessary that they achieve 100% productivity. To have a well-defined standard of service, it is necessary to keep a good track of the occupancy rate of each agent. Therefore, occupancy rate is the measure of pace of work and the efficiency of the agents. It has a direct relationship with the pace of work, i.e., when occupancy rate is low, pace of work is slower and vice versa.
While the efficiency of the agents should not be confused with their productivity, another way to increase efficiency in groups can be done by combining two different groups. This is assuming agents are cross-trained and are well versed in handling calls from their experience in previous group(s).
How to calculate Occupancy rate:
Occupancy Rate: Logged in time – Miscellaneous time
Logged in time
Let’s take a detailed look at ways to optimize occupancy rate in call centers:
Call monitoring for improved efficiency: In order to maximize the occupancy rate of agents, managers should focus more on monitoring call volumes at different times of the day to identify the peak hours and off-peak hours. Call quality monitoring is also important to improve the service quality with reduction in cost. Strategizing the occupancy of each agent during peak hours can certainly help in decreasing the time customers have to wait in a queue. Call center managers can also listen to the customer interactions on live calls and can analyze the pain points of the agents to see where they are lacking while conversing with customers. This will minimize the time spent on a single call, leading to enhanced efficiency of agents. Moreover, achieving more than 90% of occupancy is a difficult task and can put extreme pressure on the workforce. Managers can also arrange for training sessions and can also formulate redressal plan for agents depending on the results derived through the monitoring process.
Agent utilization during quiet periods: Call centers face huge number of calls but there might be days when the call traffic is not much. For those days, call center managers should ensure full utilization of agents by engaging them in other activities. Managers can ask agents to make outbound calls for service feedback and for cross-selling products of their interest. They can also arrange training sessions for agents during quiet periods to strike the right balance between handling customer calls and reducing the overheads of the call center. Also adding fun at workplace by creating competitive and team-oriented environment will not only motivate call center agents but at the same time will help in improving their performance.
Call center outsource for unpredictable traffic: During peak hours, it becomes difficult to put customers on hold or in queue. If predicting customers traffic was an easy task, call centers would never have to face any challenges at all. However, predicting daily traffic is a tough cookie to crack. If call centers were able to analyze the day of the week during which the call traffic may be higher, they would be in a better position to handle customers. However, outsourcing is one of the convenient option that call centers can look towards, to provide additional resources for peak hours. Instead of asking permanent staff to attend more calls in peak hours, it is better to switch resources between the main call center and the outsourced call center. This will also ensure that the occupancy rate of each staff is maximum and their efficiency is not getting affected during peak hours.
Self-service for routine activities: This is one of the most crucial tool that organizations are using these days to reduce the burden on call centers. Providing customers with self-service options for requesting service calls, placing and tracking order, obtaining product information will ultimately reduce the call volumes and will help in optimizing the occupancy level of each agent.