Call centers are all about efficiency, efficiency, efficiency. In such a competitive work environment, increased productivity is the key to success.
Productivity depends on a number of factors, including up-to-date technology and optimized workforce management. Indeed, throwing money out of the window by leveraging an outdated system and having high levels of agent idle time is clearly a mistake.
We have already talked about in a previous article how you can reduce agent idle time. This time, we’re going to take things a step further and talk about what call center shrinkage is, and how you can reduce it to keep your productivity high.
What is Call Center Shrinkage?
Call center shrinkage refers to the number of agents who are actively answering calls at a given time divided by the number of agents who are not available to serve customers for any reason. The difference between the two is called call center shrinkage, indicating how much time your agents spend not helping your customers.
As we all know, agents will call in sick and go on holidays every now and then. Similarly, team meetings and training sessions are part of every call center agents’ job.
As such, call center shrinkage comes from both internal and external factors: among other things, internal factors include holidays, sick time, lateness, while external factors might be lunch time, meetings, training sessions and after call work.
At a call center, data is everywhere: agent average talk time, average call volume, the proportion of closed deals or first call resolution are all examples of important call center metrics that are readily available.
When it comes to managing call center shrinkage, thorough planning is your ultimate key to success. And luckily, in a call center you’ll have plenty of data helping you to make accurate forecasts.
As such, make sure to leverage your data and forecast how many calls will be coming based on your call history. Also, you can investigate average agent talk time or the proportion of closed deal and come up with strategies to improve them.
Rely on part-time and remote workforce
Hiring remote agents is nothing new to the call center industry. In fact, as we already mentioned in a previous article, employees prefer remote working.
On the other hand, call centers can also greatly benefit from hiring both remote and part-time agents, helping call center managers better manage workforce and react to sudden peak times.
For example, in case of an unexpected flu season, which is an external shrinkage factor, you can rely on your part-time or remote agents, improving your shrinkage rates.
Take advantage of technology
Technology is advancing at lightning speed with better and better state-of-the-art technology tools entering the market year after year.
By leveraging innovative contact center technology, you can create real-time statistics, which will be essential to help you keep shrinkage rates low by monitoring and evaluating your processes and agents’ performance.
For example, you evaluate how much time your agents spend with after call work, how often they participate in meetings and how effective is your training system.
Working on these factors will all contribute to keeping call center shrinkage rates relatively low, and thus improving your productivity.