The Shrinkage definition typically refers to the measurement of any activity or event that takes a call centre agent away from being able to handle customer interactions.

Call Centre Shrinkage is an important figure and of all the contact centre metrics and measures, it’s often one of the most confusing with the actual definition varying depending on who you ask and where they are from.

Key types of call centre shrinkage

Call centre shrinkage can be broadly split into two key categories:

External Shrinkage

Again remember these are activities that are taking your agents away from being able to take calls.

External Shrinkage is typically activities where your call centre agent is physically not even at their desk or in the centre.

  • Sickness/Absenteeism
  • Holidays (annual leave or public)
  • Paid breaks (depending on shift times)
  • Planned Secondment in other areas/departments
  • Being late

Internal Shrinkage

Unlike External Shrinkage, Internal Shrinkage is normally when your agent is actually at work, but still not available to take calls.

This could be due to:

  • Meetings (team or individual)
  • Coaching and training
  • System downtime (unable to take calls)
  • Unplanned facility issues (Loss of power, unable to access floor)
  • Supporting the rest of the business (agents running off to help another area)

Why is call centre shrinkage so important?

Shrinkage is a key input into an Erlang C Call Centre Calculator and has a big influence on the number of staff you need to meet service levels.

It can also be a good indicator of the productivity of your call centre. Generally speaking, low shrinkage can be mean high-productivity, however, a word of caution;

If that low shrinkage is being caused by a lack of training and coaching, it’s only a short-term benefit.

Next steps

  • Download our Call Centre Calculator and you can model the impact of a changing shrinkage value on the number of staff you need to achieve service levels.
  • You can learn more about call centre shrinkage and other call centre metrics in our article on the 10 Most Popular Call Centre Metrics

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