Ask the Workforce Wizard

Ask the Workforce Wizard

Question:

I am looking for some information around creating goals for agents around occupancy. Some questions: What is a standard occupancy rate percentage goal? Does it make sense to measure both Occupancy and Schedule Adherence? Is available time counted against the agent? Also, we are considering removing average handle time (AHT) from the agents’ goals. We’d like to  replace it with another “efficiency” goal. Any ideas as to what other call centers measure their agents on? Thanks!

Answer:

Here are some thoughts around occupancy. There is no standard occupancy rate as the occupancy rate is a function of team size and speed of answer goal. If you have larger teams, the  occupancy will rise naturally so day shift workers will have higher occupancy than night shift normally. If you want to answer faster, you have to build in more idle time between calls and that will lower the occupancy while more people answer the same workload. Many centers like to keep occupancy at a reasonable level to avoid burnout and boredom so it is nice if you can hit 75-90% but it cannot be set as a goal without risking speed of answer results.

Occupancy is a good measure of the center as a whole to ensure that the center is as efficient as it can be. Cross-training, for example, increases team size and occupancy, so it is desirable  where possible. Schedule adherence is a good measure of agent performance as they control this almost entirely. Sure, there is the occasional long call at break time, but if the adherence  goal is set at something below 100%, then time has been built in to accommodate those situations.

Time sitting in the available state is not the fault of the agent but is a function of the team size and workload given to them. If a team is small that answers the same call type, then  available time will be higher than for a larger team handling another call type. Very long calls need more available time to ensure speed of answer goals than shorter calls. And the  schedule that WFM puts out directly affects how busy the agents will be and how much available time there will be as well. So available time is really the agent doing exactly what they are scheduled to do – be available for any work that comes in. So if you are going to count it, count it for the agent not against them.

Availability is often used as a goal for agent efficiency. It is  the total of the time the agent was logged in and available to the callers as well as any unavailable time that is productive for the customers. For example, if the agent is logged in and either on a call, in after call work, or idle waiting for a call, all of these count as the agent is available to the caller whether there are  any calls or not. Add to that any time that the agent is doing off-phone work that is serving the customer such as e-mail, web chat, call backs, outbound and you can also include research time if you can track it effectively. It generally requires an ACD that can track agent time in a variety of categories such as AUX or Idle with Reason Codes to support the agent indicating  what they are doing when unavailable for calls. That would allow you to separate breaks, coaching and other actives from the customer support work. The exact formula varies from one center to another depending on the tasks that agents are assigned so there is no “industry standard” formula or expectation.

Have a tough question?

Send it to wizard@swpp.org and we’ll try to find an answer!