There are many opinions when it comes to the productivity of contact center agents. The reality is there is no definitive or optimal amount that makes sense for every and all contact centers. Each contact center has its own unique circumstances that determine how many calls an agent can effectively handle. For some call centers, productive agents will take 40 to 50 calls per day with occasional slow times. Others may take only 10 to 20 calls or even up to 200 calls per day if the call average is two minutes or less.
When it comes to contact center agent productivity, there are many key performance indicators (KPIs) to consider. From availability and handle ratio to average talk time and abandon rate, there are many data points to evaluate. Still, one of the most important KPIs is average calls or service requests per agent because it helps to identify who is especially productive and who may require additional training. It also helps determine if the number of agents is or isn’t aligned with the average number of calls being received.
For example, if your contact center receives 10,000 calls per month. You should divide this number by your number of agents. If there are more calls coming in than agents can feasibly handle, it may be time to add staff. Of course, it’s necessary to consider other KPIs and job responsibilities. Perhaps, if agents could focus more on calls with certain administrative or marketing tasks shifting to back office staff, they may be able to handle a higher call volume. It’s a fine balance and one that needs to be made across departments to maximize productivity and profitability.
Your contact center system should be able to provide you with call volume details per agent to help you evaluate this important KPI. The number can be determined for a specific time increment, such as by the hour, day, week or month. While looking at the number of calls, it’s also necessary to evaluate the minutes and/or seconds per each call.
Agent 1 has the following data per week:
Answered calls: 250
Total talk time: 1,000 minutes (average of 4 minutes per call) or 5 hours on calls per day.
This information can be very valuable for several reasons. If the average number of calls per agent is low, the contact center could experiment with giving more calls per agent or shifting them to outbound work or other tasks during lulls. It can also help streamline and balance staffing needs.
How to Determine the Optimum Number of Calls per Agent
Contact center management needs to determine the appropriate number of calls per agent based on a number of factors. These include the type of calls being received and the average time it takes to handle calls. These numbers can fluctuate depending on types of calls being received and even the time of year. For example, a retailer may be dealing with a high volume of returns after the holiday season which can extend the length of each call. Or, there could be a special promotion that is increasing the number of short calls where agents are providing concise, specific details to each caller. In other words, you won’t want to just look at the number of calls. It’s also important to closely evaluate the type of calls.
HOW TO INCREASE AGENT PRODUCTIVITY?
The number of calls per agents is closely tied to your agents’ overall productivity. Although there isn’t one fail-safe solution for sustaining agent productivity, these ideas can help you boost it.
- Use Information from the IVR
Enable agents to access information collected in the IVR via an agent desktop. This will speed up the time for each call and allows agents to handle higher call volumes.
- Deploy Virtual Contact Center Features
Track agent productivity with real time reporting, live call monitoring and call recording. Add solutions like Callback. Productivity can be jumpstarted with today’s contact center features that can be integrated into existing infrastructure.
- Schedule Short Breaks
Contact center work can be grueling. If agents feel stressed or exhausted from too many calls, they will lose productivity, and their call volumes will begin to suffer. Give them multiple times per day to reenergize and regroup so they can be ready to handle whatever calls comes their way.
- Provide Incentives
Agents often need more than just a paycheck to keep them motivated. Even small incentives can keep them feeling appreciated and enthusiastic. Maintain morale with bonuses, contests or perks that show that you do value their hard work.
- Strengthen Internal Communication and Training
Your agents are your frontline staff. They not only need to be made aware of anything that is impacting customers, they also need to be up on any technology necessary to properly service them. Poor internal communication or insufficient training causes productivity slowdowns along with agent and customer frustration.