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Call Center Shrinkage

What is Call Center Shrinkage?


Call center shrinkage is the difference between the time you pay agents to attend to customers versus the actual time they spend attending customers.


You can also define it as:

  • Any scheduled or unscheduled activity that prevents agents from attending customers.
  • Set of elements that hinder an agent's productivity and their ability to serve customers.
  • Difference between the number of agents required and the number of agents available during a set period.


The factors that contribute to call center shrinkage are broadly categorized as external and internal shrinkage factors.

External factors include tardiness, sick leaves, other holidays, and vacations. On the other hand, internal shrinkage factors are lunch breaks, training, meetings, calls, and other scheduled breaks.


How to Calculate Call Center Shrinkage


There are two ways to calculate the call center shrinkage:


1. Number of Hours

Shrinkage = (Total Shrinkage Hours / Total Working Hours) * 100

For example, in a 40-hour workweek, an agent spends 12 hours on break, meetings, and other factors.

Then, call center shrinkage = (12/40) *100 = 30%


2. Number of Agents

Shrinkage = (Number of Agents Needed / Number of Agents Available) * 100

For example, let’s say you need 100 agents to handle the call volume over two hours, but only 80 are available.

Then, call center shrinkage = (100/80) * 100 = 125%


Here are some tips to help reduce call center shrinkage:

  • Regularly measure call center shrinkage.
  • Monitor schedule adherence to ensure agents work for the required hours.
  • Track employee absenteeism and actively work to minimize it.
  • Reward agents with the least shrinkage rate.

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