Agent occupancy refers to the percentage of time that call agents spend handling incoming calls against the available or idle time, which is determined by dividing workload hours by staff hours. It is a statistic used in calculating the productivity of a call center. When agent occupancy is the final outcome of how staffing is matched to incoming call patterns to a call center, the desired level of occupancy may drive staffing decisions in a sequential work environment. This useful metric can be utilized to measure instant messaging interactions as well.
Utilization rate, also known as call center occupancy, is measured as:
Handle time (talk time + after call work time) / time signed into a queue.
This metric is expressed as a percentage and tells you the amount of time that work is being performed in support of the call center’s queue. It also tells you how hard the call center agents are being driven. Higher the occupancy rate, shorter is the amount of time between calls. According to a research, 80% occupancy rate means that 20% of the time the representative was available for a call and the remaining 80% the representative was either on a call or in after call work status.
Call center utilization or agent occupancy is not controlled at an individual level. It is rather a group, queue or center measure. Also, it is a function of forecasting and staffing, the workload offered by the calls arriving randomly and the handle times. As a matter of fact, smaller groups have lower occupancy than the larger ones. Also, higher occupancy rates do not always correlate to an increased productivity. Therefore, call center agents can generally handle short bursts of increased activity but sustained high occupancy can lead to burnout. You need to know that call center occupancy needs to be considered along with other factors such as overall productivity, error rates, quality scores etc. in order to make the most out of it.
Agent satisfaction is the key to reducing agent attrition. This can be achieved by allowing agents the opportunity to work from home, on a flexible schedule, or in an office with an ergonomic workspace. This will make them more satisfied with their work and achieve a healthy work-life balance. Simply put, if you want that each agent loves coming to work, you need to provide them with satisfactory working conditions.
2. Choose the new agents wisely:
As a matter of fact, if someone left their last role as a contact centre advisor after six to nine months, there is a possibility that they will leave again. This happens because agents who leave after this time often do so as they realise that there was not much room for job progression in their previous role. Hiring process needs to be more specific so as to find the most appropriate agents. So, in order to reduce agent attrition, you need to consider this factor to ensure that they are aware of possible growth within the contact center.
3. Try to find the right balance:
Agents who are good at taking calls may not necessarily be good at managing people. However, keeping them in the same position for too long may frustrate them due to the lack of progression and move on. Therefore, it is necessary to find the right balance to curb agent attrition. For this, consider developing leadership in the contact centre to find agents who have the right leadership capabilities, such as organisation, influence, and motivation. Also, ensure you don’t make the decision based on call handling alone. Moreover, if you are seen to be helping the agents progress their skills by developing their leadership, you can lower attrition. This is because they will interpret your actions as preparing them for future opportunities and their betterment.
After call work time is a term used to describe the time taken by an agent to complete any transactions or work for a customer after the call has ended. This is considered as an important bit of time in a contact center once a call has ended when the advisor can update the system with the caller’s resolution, next steps, details or order notes. Apart from this, they may also need to make some outbound calls or send emails during this time to progress the caller’s resolution. Once it is done, the agent has to feed the relevant data into the CRM software so that it can be recorded for security purpose and for future marketing needs.
Now, we know the significance of after call work time. Let’s have a look at some of the strategies to reduce it in order to increase the efficiency of the call center:
1. Provide proper training to the agents:
In order to reduce the after call work time, you need to train your agents clearly on what is required in call text, logs or notes. You can consider employing speech analytics software to make entries into the CRM data sheet or call logs automatically. You need to train your agents appropriately before they can use this technology efficiently. Their minds should be trained in a way that they are able to multi-function. They should be efficient enough to not make typos and spot them quickly. Moreover, they should be able to make some notes and entries while talking to the client without taking the attention of the caller. This would help improve KPIs.
2. Strive to manage time classifications:
The overall wrap times of a call center will be hugely inflated if people are using these for breaks, chat time, drink refills, etc. As a matter of fact, most contact centers do have targets on wrap time, which can vary depending on the type of center, but often around 5% of average handling time is used. Making the time classifications clear at a team briefing can help in improving the metrics to a large extent.
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