Volume increases the pressure of managing things at a time. There are times in the call center, when it is difficult to know available agents vs how many are away on a break, attending meetings/training? The difference between the two is Call Center Shrinkage. How many call centers take this factor into account whenever there is a headcount? Shrinkage here plays a vital role in scrutinizing how many representatives you’d need to interact with customers.
Understanding shrinkage percentage as a call center key performance indicator (KPI) can not only improve customer interactions, but also help to handle average handle time, service level, and bottom line of business.
Call center shrinkage is a workforce management metric that describes the number of representatives actively talking to customers or handling calls divided by the number of agents unavailable then. There is some planned shrinkage, like agents needing to attend scheduled meetings, training, or charting things out.
Meanwhile, there is some unplanned shrinkage, like agents calling out sick or on vacation. To have adequately staffed call centers, you need to forecast shrinkage as it is more important than assigning an agent a phone. The definition of shrinkage may vary from organization or industry.
Two main components cause call center shrinkage. Some factors can be controlled, but some are not as they may arise due to unhappy employees, which you can eliminate by addressing the root cause of employees’ grievances.
External Factors - Factors like holidays, vacation, absenteeism, leaving early, coming late, etc., lead to call center shrinkage.
Internal factors - Internal factors like paid breaks, team meetings, one-on-one meetings, coaching/training sessions, system downtime, etc., affect the call center shrinkage.
Understand how shrinkage is calculated and how it impacts the efficiency and performance of the call centers.
Measuring call center shrinkage is not simple as there are two formulae you can use to calculate it – one measures staffing requirement, and the other calculates individual agents’ performance. Take a peek for a more reasonable understanding:-
The percentage and requirement vary according to the industry, but the most accepted figure stands between 30 and 35% for the call center industry. Typically, the shrinkage percentage is measured across 12 months.
Shrinkage rate and performance are inversely related to each other – a high shrinkage rate is an indicator of low performance, vice versa. If the number of calls available agents, the wait and hold time will automatically increase, resulting in reduced satisfaction. Shrinkage is not a productivity metric, but supervisors sometimes utilize it to identify if the overall customer experience can be enhanced.
Agents can face undue pressure due to high shrinkage rates, affecting productivity. Managers can plan as per the call center needs and predefined service goals. Here managers hold a strong responsibility of regularly monitoring and tracking this metric to meet staffing requirements, ensuring the call centers’ efficiency.
The cloud-based call center software comes in handy to track the shrinkage. Manually managing the task can lead to unwanted errors. Before moving on to learning this, certain causes of shrinkage cannot be controlled or eliminated. Following data, most meetings are conducted between morning and afternoon – the time could be considered shrinkage time.
Analyze the data of all departments/teams that have high shrinkage – it will give you insights into which processes need improvement. You can use the latest technology to improve shrinkage rates, keeping a robust strategy to reduce and monitor it.
Several online calculators are available to help measure call center shrinkage by call volume, amount of time, average handle time, and service level. However, you can use contact center software to eliminate manual steps in monitoring shrinkage. By making this a continuous practice, you can keep the shrinkage rate below 35% – the industry standard.
Read more about how Sarv cloud call center software advances powerful cloud telephony solutions with real-time analytics.