Increased productivity in a call center can result in satisfied customers and reduced business operations costs. However, too much productivity isn’t necessarily a good thing because it could indicate that your business has overworked employees.
Call center agent utilization is an important metric that helps management evaluate efficiency and set performance goals. Outstanding service desk performance is more likely when agent use is high.
Here are some fundamentals to help you figure out how well your agents are being utilized and how that may help your business.
What Is Agent Utilization in a Call Center?
Agent utilization is the ratio of agent productivity to capacity. In other words, it’s a measure of the time a call center agent spends handling calls or other work-related tasks in a day.
The utilization rate provides insight into an agent’s performance and whether they are underutilized or overburdened. It also provides insight into the efficiency of a call center’s procedures.
Thus, if you want to assess the efficiency of an outsourced call center and how it can boost your business growth, you need to understand call center agent utilization.
Why Is Call Center Agent Utilization Important?
Using agent utilization patterns, a call center can observe how decisions affect its growth and take appropriate steps to improve further. Information such as the percentage of time that agents are productive can lead to decisions that enhance efficiency without overworking employees.
In general, a high agent utilization means the cost per call is low since agents hardly sit idle. But keep in mind that salaries and benefits make up the bulk of service desk costs. So the more productive the agents are, the lower the cost per agent-assisted contact. On the other hand, a low agent utilization indicates a high cost per call.
A high call center agent utilization rate is often good since it indicates that agents handle more calls in any given time period. However, setting the value too high might result in burnout, low morale, and increased turnover. There needs to be a healthy balance.
How Does Call Center Agent Utilization Help Businesses?
Measuring agent utilization can lead to streamlined customer service, reduced inefficiencies, and improved performance. For you, this means lower costs and a step toward your business objectives.
If you’re outsourcing call center services, agent utilization is a significant indicator of the call center’s professionals’ productivity. It helps ensure that you’re cutting costs instead of increasing them by using personnel dollars efficiently.
For call centers, efficiency becomes an issue at one time or another. This can be a cause for concern if customer satisfaction is your priority. If your customers aren’t happy with the quality of calls, losing them to your competitors becomes a real possibility.
How Is Call Center Utilization Calculated?
The actual computation for call center agent utilization will vary depending on the call center. However, you can get an approximate value using this simple formula:
Agent Utilization Rate = (Total Time in Minutes an Agent Spends on Calls / Total Amount of Work Hours per Day x 60) x 100
Take, for example, an agent that spends about five and a half hours—or 330 minutes (5.5 X 60 minutes in an hour)—per day handling calls. If there are eight work hours per day, then:
Agent Utilization Rate = (330 minutes spent on calls / (8 work hours per day x 60)) x 100 = 68.75%
Call centers will have their own method or software for tracking agent utilization using the required metrics.
What Is a Good Utilization Rate for a Call Center?
The average agent utilization rate is about 48 percent, but the range can vary greatly (from 22 percent to 76 percent). Call centers at the low end of this range are typically smaller service desks. Meanwhile, those at the higher end are usually outsourcers with good scale economies.
Keep in mind that a 60 to 70 percent rate could mean agents are overworked and may soon experience burnout. This is why tracking agent utilization rate is crucial for call centers to continue offering superior experiences to customers.