Occupancy

Call centre occupancy (aka Utilisation) is best defined as the percentage of sign-on time a call centre agent spends talking and doing legitimate after-call work.

Occupancy is typically used by call centre managers as a metric to determine how hard your frontline agents are working.

High occupancy means there are little gaps between calls whereas low occupancy means agents have plenty of downtime between calls.

Given call centre labour is expensive, with good WFM practices a normal call centre aims for around 80% occupancy ensuring there is a good balance of keeping your agents busy without overloading them with calls potentially leading to burnout.

How is Call Centre Occupancy calculated?

The formula for occupancy is typically:

(talk time and ACW) /(total sign-on time)

Assuming a call centre agent spent 4 hours in talk-time and 2 hours in ACW for an 8-hour shift that would give them an occupancy of 75%

6 hours divided by 8 hours equals 75%

Is Call Centre Occupancy a good metric?

Yes, although it depends what you are trying to measure.

As we mentioned earlier, the purpose of occupancy is to determine how hard your workforce is generally working.

However, there is a big catch here.

Your occupancy figure is a direct result of your Workforce Management planning and your desired Service Levels.

In an emergency services call centre where they need to answer ALL calls within 5 seconds, you will have a very low occupancy.

Why? Because you need to ensure there are lots of available agents to handle calls as soon as they arrive.

So for agents, there will be plenty of time sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.

Another thing about Call Centre Occupancy…

Just because a call centre agent has high occupancy does not mean that they are productive!

They could have very long conversations that aren’t efficient or instead of spending time after the call (ACW) writing customer notes etc they could just be playing solitaire!

Call Centre Occupancy Key Tips

One of the laws of contact centres (well maths really) is that it’s impossible to have high service levels AND high occupancy.

So as a rule of thumb remember: as Service Levels go up, Occupancy goes down.

There is nothing an agent can really do to influence occupancy.

Your occupancy result will be an outcome of the staffing, call demand, average handle time and service level goal.

Recommended further reading: The Top 10 KPIs and Metrics in call centres (and what they all mean) 

Looking for some great courses?

We offer a number of courses to help either existing or up and coming contact centre leaders on our CX Skills website including:

Upcoming Industry Events:


Customer Experience and the COVID Crisis with Don Peppers

Free
Scheduled
Event Organiser:
CX Central
Virtual/Online

Join leading global CX expert Don Peppers and host Justin Tippett from CX Central on this free webinar - Customer Experience and the COVID Crisis to discuss:

- Why a good “customer experience” is even more central to long-term business success
- How to benefit from the dramatic rise in online, interactive activity; and
- Why trust is even more vital than it ever has been, amid the COVID crisis.

Virtual Coffee: Carrots and Sticks

$30
Scheduled
Event Organiser:
Auscontact
Virtual/Online

In the final Virtual Coffee session for the year, this workshop explores the theory behind motivation and how leaders motivate others (and themselves) - plus some great tips!

Managing Difficult Customers – November 2020

$397
Scheduled
Event Organiser:
CX Skills
Zoom

The Managing Difficult Customers November 2020 course is delivered by global CX-Expert Daniel Ord teaching frontline agents how to identify different types of difficult customers and different types of difficult situations and use root cause analysis to apply the correct solution with confidence.

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