Calls Per Hour

The Calls Per Hour metric is used to measure performance outputs for contact centre frontline agents working across different shift times that receive different call volumes.

Why use the Calls Per Hour Metric?

Call centre managers are always looking for ways to measure the performance of contact centre agents and traditionally that used to be based on the number of calls an agent answers in a shift or per hour.

But that logic was inherently flawed for a number of reasons, least of which was the complete lack of focus on quality metrics.

For now, we’ll put the quality issue to one side and focus purely on the assumption that the more calls an agent takes the better.

The challenge with this concept, of course, is that a contact centre agent can’t control the number of calls that are presented to them.

How is the Calls Per Hour metric calculated?

The Calls Per Hour metric is very similar to the True Calls Per Hour metric and to explain, I’ve got an example below.

Let’s take two call centre employees:

  • The first agent works the day shift (which is super busy) and they normally average 10 calls per hour
  • The second agent works the night shift (which is pretty quiet) and also averages 10 calls per hour

Just looking at the average of 10 calls per hour result we could say both employees have the same performance levels.

But this is where the Calls Per Hour metric comes into play.

The formula for the Calls Per Hour metric is:

(calls handled) / (login time – wait time)

The important part here is the wait time (also known as Available Time).

As the agent can’t control the fact no calls are being offered to them, the available time is subtracted from their overall time.

In our agent 2 example, as we mentioned the night shift is very quiet. In fact, it’s so quiet they spent 20 minutes out of every 60 minutes just sitting there waiting for a call to come through.

So let’s see who is more productive using the CPH formula:

Calls Handled Logged in time Wait Time  Time on phone Calls per Hour
Agent 1 10 60 0 60 16.66
Agent 2 10 60 20 40 25.00

As you can see above, the second agent is actually more productive with 25.00 CPH.

Again, the idea behind the CPH metric is you remove the component the agent can’t control which is the time logged in when no calls are coming through.

Is Calls Per Hour a good metric?

It’s a good start.

But much like AHT,  CPH is not a good metric for frontline agents.

The focus you want for your frontline staff is to focus on the conversation, not a stopwatch.

Sure, it’s important to make sure your contact centre agents are productive, but my suggestion is that metrics that measure the quantity of the agent’s output like Calls Per Hour are better suited to Team Leaders/Centre Managers.

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