True Calls Per Hour

The True Calls Per Hour metric is used to measure performance outputs for contact centre frontline agents that attempts to fairly compare performance for agents working different shift times with different call volumes.

Why use the True Calls Per Hour Metric?

With one of the primary tasks of call centre agents to handle incoming calls, call centre managers are looking for ways to identify the strong performers and those that need some extra coaching.

For many calls centres, there has always been the assumption that the agent that takes the most calls is the best agent.

In fact, many call centres have rewarded agents based entirely on the number of calls processed.

But, of course, the logic of the agent who handles the most calls being the best is inherently flawed.

Because the number of calls tells us nothing about the quality of the calls.

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

View the latest definition of True Calls Per Hour (TCPH) and Calls Per Hour (CPH) on the ACPXA Glossary >

How is the True Calls Per Hour metric calculated?

The True Calls Per Hour formula is:

(Number of calls) / (Occupancy)


22 calls per hour / occupancy of 0.87 (87%)

= 25.3 TCPH

Let’s take two call centre employees:

  • The first agent handles 22 calls in an hour with an occupancy of 87%
  • The second agent handles 13 calls per hour with an occupancy of 46%

So who is the better agent?

Calls Handled Occupancy True Calls per Hour
Agent One 22 87% 25.3
Agent Two 13 46% 28.3

Agent 2 is the more productive agent even though they handled 9 fewer calls.

Is True Calls Per Hour a good metric?

Purely for measuring an individual call centre agents output of calls it’s OK. Just.

As a reminder, Occupancy is measured as the percentage of time agents spend in ‘talk’ and ‘after-call’ work relative to sign-on time.

So if from an 8-hour shift an agent spent 4 hours in talk mode and 1 hour in after call mode (total of 5 hours) then their occupancy would be 62.5% (5 hours/8 hours).

Using the example above, because the agent was busy working for 5 hours, the other three hours were spent doing what?

Meetings? Training? Coaching? Or sitting around waiting for calls to come through?

The call centre agent can’t control whether any calls are coming through!

Let’s look at agent 2 again.

Now let’s assume that they still answered 13 calls, and of the 8-hour shift, 1 hour was spent in ‘talk’ time, 1 hour in ‘ACW’ and 6 hours just waiting for a call to come through. Their occupancy would be measured as 25%.

Using the TCPH formula you get a result of 52. So is the agent productive in terms of what they can control?


But for the call centre, is that agent being productive if they were only busy for 25% of their shift?


Of course, there is a relationship between AHT and TCPH – the quicker they are on the calls, the lower the AHT and higher the TCPH result will be.

But as I mentioned earlier, measuring call centre agents just on quantity without a focus on quality is just asking for trouble.

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

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