How to Calculate Productivity in the Contact Center

Share this page:
Is measuring productivity in a contact center hard? We don’t think so. Which metrics should you take a close view of? How to measure agent productivity properly? We’ve answered these valuable questions. And answers might surprise you.

For instance, in this article you’ll find detailed information on such issues:

What is a call center productivity and how to calculate it?
Why is it important to control the call center productivity of your call center agents?
The most valuable contact center productivity metrics
Most obvious mistakes when calculating productivity
How to boost productivity in your contact center?

What is a call center productivity and how to calculate it?

Frankly, productivity in a call or contact center is the utilization of time and resources by a company for achieving desirable outcomes. The main goal is to provide an effective conversation for both customer and company – fast. However, not the speed but the customer experience must be in the first place.

We can calculate it by using the following call center productivity formula:

(Total Output / Total Input) x 100 = Labor Productivity

Total Output is the time each of your employees spends on actually achieving their targets (for example, talking to customers or doing after-call work).

Total Input is the time they have to spend, that is their working schedule.

From this productivity formula, let’s say your agents worked an 8-hour shift. It is their total input for the day. However, they spent 6 hours on work-related activities.

So their productivity will be:

(6/8) x 100 = 0.75 x 100 = 75%.

It means that the labor productivity of your agents looks as follows. They spend 75% of their work shift on doing their job and 25% on non-work-related tasks and activities.

This labor productivity formula is good for getting an overall understanding of your employees’ productivity but it is more effective to break it down into specific goals and track by certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Why is it important to control the call center productivity of your call center agents?

This question is about whether it is worthwhile to have agents in a call center or you can do their jobs on your own. As a matter of fact, the control of productivity of your call center agents is the number one goal the manager should be concerned about. 

The big picture of the current state comes when you use the labor productivity formula. Then you easily measure the impact of retention rates, customer satisfaction, first call resolution, and more.

Additionally, customers are far faster at the call center performance of agents than any manager whatsoever. After first and second negative experiences, they readily switch to another brand and share their complaints through social media, harming the image, decreasing revenue, and more.

However, when you establish strong control over the agent’s performance, constantly using the productivity formula listed above, the customer engagement skyrockets as well as the revenue.

Now, managing remote employees in a contact center is far harder than in an office-based environment. Still, there is a powerful tool for accomplishing this goal such as call center software.

The most valuable contact center productivity metrics

We recommend using these KPIs to measure your contact center productivity:

First Call Resolution (FCR) rate. This is one of the most valuable productivity metrics. It shows how many customer requests were solved during the first contact. The industry standard is around 70-75%. If your FCR is lower you should get to the bottom of it. If it is even higher, you can be proud of your agent's performance.

Average Speed of Answer (ASA). Have you ever wondered why customers hang up before your agent will answer the phone? Perhaps you should review the time customers wait in a queue, before your agent answers. The faster your queue moves, the better chance customers never hang up. On average, customers are ready to wait for about 2 minutes in a queue before hanging up.

Abandon Call Rate (ACR). It is the number of calls that were ended by the customer before an agent answered. For instance, if 10 calls out of 100 are lost, it turns out that 10% of calls did not result in a conversation between the customer and the contact center agent. If ACR is too high, you should consider changing dialing software or expanding your agents’ team to optimize the workload. Moreover, high ACR may result in some legal issues because in many countries this metric is defined by law.

Percentage of Call Transfers. This KPI is very important because it shows how many calls your agents transfer to their more qualified colleagues. If it is too high it might strongly affect your customer satisfaction so you may need to rethink your call routing strategy or deliver additional training to your agents.

Call Completion Rate. It really shows how many calls were successfully connected to your agents compared to those that failed. This is a top-notch indicator mirroring real team productivity. And you can see how many repeated calls were made because of some reasons (for example, connection failures).

Percentage of Repeat Calls. This metric can help you to assess how successful your agents are in solving customer problems during the first contact.

On-Hold Time. How long do your customers wait on hold until an agent finds out the details and gives a complete answer? Too long on-hold time can make them frustrated by your service.

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT). That’s the key performance metric that shows how your agents handle customers to satisfy their requests. The more customers are satisfied, the larger returns for your company. Plus, a satisfied customer is a retained customer, which means more money for your company.

Most obvious mistakes when calculating productivity

Daniel Ord, one of the leading trainers in Contact Centers & Customer Experience, highlights the most common mistakes that contact center managers make while calculating call center agent productivity:

Including the number of contacts processed over a certain period. He does not recommend doing it for service-level-based contacts. Such an indicator is good for a factory but not for business goals.

Occupancy. Occupancy rate is an important metric for management because it shows how much of their resources are utilized. Yet, it won’t help you to maintain a good service level. To achieve a good SL, you need to have some agents in “reserve” if some random contacts arrive. You should also keep agent occupancy under 85/90% to avoid your employees’ burnout.

Too much focus on average handle time (AHT). If you use AHT as one of the main indicators of your agents’ productivity it may affect your call quality and customer satisfaction because they will try to finish conversations as quickly as possible to meet this metric.

How to boost productivity in your contact center?

The answer might surprise you. This question can be a topic for numerous articles, yet we highlight the crucial points.

  • Develop multichannel agents. Train your employees to work with different communication channels - webchats, email, messaging apps. It will allow them to develop new skills and make their work more diversified. Also, your customer service department will deliver the highest quality of service, boosting customer satisfaction. The more diversified daily routine brings a positive impact on your employees’ sense of fulfillment.
  • Practice constant coaching and monitor calls regularly. Call monitoring is a perfect coaching tool that is constantly implemented. Your managers can listen to the calls and select successful and unsuccessful samples, using them in coaching sessions. With the Voptime Cloud call center software, they have the scorecards, which allow them to grade your agents’ performance. Agent scorecard designed for comments on what they need to improve first. It is also helpful to listen to live calls as well. Using different call monitoring modes (call barging, whispering, or hidden mode), your supervisors can help newbies during the onboarding process by giving them some tips during the conversation, providing them with feedback right after a call, or jumping in the conversation if necessary.
    Monitoring of calls does not only help you to track the performance but shows the agents how they should interact, based on real calls.

    Even if you meet a situation when you need to decide who is right – customer or agent, the calls monitoring system will give you the precise answers. It records calls, shows your weak sides in conversations, and gives the material for discussion in meetings.
  • Improve your self-service strategy.Reduce to zero all repetitive questions that do not require agents’ involvement. Use IVR and chatbots to provide customers with self-service. It will reduce your agents’ workload and make them more productive. Well, if you already have these self-service options, you should constantly check if your customers don’t face difficulties while interacting with them. It is critical to regularly update the FAQ page on your website because it drastically reduces the number of repetitive calls, queries, and every negative or positive feedback.
  • Use the IVR to segment customers. The interactive voice response system (IVR) is a piece of software for sorting customers depending on historical data, account information, and most frequent requests. Because of accurate routing to the relevant representative, IVR saves time both for the customer service team and customers. 
  • Decrease repetitive agent tasks. To boost the performance of individual agents, empower your agent’s productivity with the top-tier IVR and chat bot features. IVR will provide relevant services for customers and a chat bot will inform and show solutions. Really, why should you bother staff with repetitive and mundane tasks? It’s easier to delegate this job to the software. All your agents will do is handle challenging conversations and use their knowledge, energy, and time on providing a perceived value to customers.
  • Eliminate avoidable calls. The optimization of workflow is one of the priorities on the path for a productive workflow. And eliminating calls that are mundane is the first step. It’s perfect to have a conversation with a person that has a challenging issue. All other obvious calls can be avoided by IVR, FAQ’s and databases. These are powerful tools for agent empowerment and customer engagement. Plus, you have the option to eliminate undesirable callers by blocking inbound calls. 
  • Empower your agents with the best technology. For small and mid-sized businesses there is no better solution than cutting-edge call center software. Plus, it’s amazing and easy to integrate into any kind of CRM system. No investing, just a desktop or laptop, internet connection, and headsets. That’s it – you’re qualified to be the most efficient call center. For more than a decade, Voiptimecloud helps small and mid-sized call and contact centers bring their working ideas to fruition. Your call or contact center starts to work within 24 hours without any delays or sophisticated knowledge. You work, our professionals do everything else.
  • Reward successful agents for employee satisfaction. The best agents work because of the enjoyment and the success attitude. Still, they want appreciation from the managers. Financial rewarding, promotion, and giving of meaning to agents that reach precise results is one of the best retention and productivity-boosting strategies easy to implement.
  • Make data-driven changes. What are the must-have agent productivity tools? With the call center software, it’s easy to achieve all the necessary insights about your contact center – grants lasting success. It gives the big picture for the contact center’s activity and the option to pivot, when necessary, in the direction you need. Historical and real-time data at your fingertips is all you need to establish productivity growth today. 

Featuring the industry 

Measuring call center performance and agent productivity may be tough. It all depends on your company’s goals. And we highly recommend following our advice first. Plus, we must mention that contact center software transforms your contact center into an investment center.

Tanya Gonchar

Expert in call center process automation, Head of Marketing at Voiptime Cloud. Interested in customer service, B2B sales, marketing, business analysis.

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, analyse site traffic, personalize content, and serve targeted advertisements. Read about how we use cookies in our Privacy Notice.

Customer Contact Central