How to Calculate Productivity in the Contact Center

It is a tricky question for any contact center manager. Which metrics to take into account and which not? How to measure agent productivity properly? We’ve tried to answer these questions.

In this article you will find detailed information on such issues:

What is productivity?
Contact center productivity metrics
Common mistakes when calculating productivity
How to increase productivity in your contact center?

What is productivity?

Productivity is the amount of work done within a specific time. 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.

Let us 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 your agents spend 75% of their work shift on doing their job and 25% on non-work-related tasks and activities.

This 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).

Contact center productivity metrics

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

First Call Resolution (FCR) rate. This metric 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 performance.

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 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 shows how many calls were successfully connected to your agents compared to those that fail. Using it, 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.

Common 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 a contact center.

Occupancy. It is an important metric for management because it shows how much of their resources are being used. But 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 increase productivity in your contact center?

The answer to this question may become a topic for a separate article so we will try to highlight some main 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 be able to deliver higher quality service, increasing customer satisfaction. A more diversified daily routine can have a positive impact on your employees’ sense of fulfillment and their productivity as a result.

Practice constant coaching and monitor calls regularly. Call monitoring can be a perfect coaching tool if done regularly. Your managers can listen to the calls and select successful and unsuccessful samples, using them on coaching sessions. With the Voptime Cloud call center solution, they can also create scorecards that allow them to grade your agents’ performance and comment on what they have to improve. 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.

Improve your self-service strategy. Remove 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. 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 also important to regularly update a FAQ page on your website because it can reduce the number of repetitive queries as well.


Measuring contact center productivity may be quite a tough task. It all depends on your company’s goals so it is up to you what indicators to consider as the most important. We recommend you using an efficient contact center software that will make your calculations much easier.

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