How to Measure Call Centre Shrinkage


Mike Donohue looks at what call centre shrinkage is and how you should be measuring it.

The ability to calculate an accurate measure of shrinkage is vital when it comes to resource planning in the contact centre.

Yet many managers struggle with finding the right method of doing so – leading to regular incidences of under- and over-staffing.

There are different ways of measuring shrinkage, with varying degrees of accuracy. So what exactly is shrinkage and how can we minimise its impact?

What is contact centre shrinkage?

One of the most important concepts in schedule adherence is shrinkage. Shrinkage can be defined as the time for which people are paid during which they are not available to handle calls/queries.

Shrinkage can have a significant and often unseen effect on your contact centre’s service levels and call volumes. It’s an unavoidable reality of the contact centre that agents can be in meetings, breaks, on holiday or absent for any other reason.

Your full resource will not be servicing customers at all times, and it’s hard to keep a close track on the impact all of that has.

What impact does this have?

Shrinkage can often be a factor in failing to meet service level targets. Contact centres that take shrinkage parameters into account in their forecasting and scheduling typically achieve higher service levels at lower operating costs.

They often do that by including all call-related activities into the forecast and schedule planning process.

How do we measure shrinkage?

Tackling shrinkage is essentially cyclical, with three main steps. The first is to stop relying on spreadsheets and have the right workforce management (WFM) technology in place.

If you are using a cloud-based software solution in your contact or call centre, you should be able to expect a sophisticated WFM solution to come as part of that package.

This software should give you the historical information to enable you to build a resource plan. This information should not be based on spot checks, but rather on real data from when agents have been logged in and out of the system.

This should show you the peaks and troughs you experience each week on an ongoing basis, which you can then plan agent resource against.

Mike Donohue

Mike Donohue

Then the third step is to manage the actual versus the plan, calculating the impact that things like absenteeism or late individuals have on the service you are delivering to your customers.

Some WFM solutions will give you this information, which should then feed back into your planning to ensure your service levels are constantly being monitored and improved upon.

This allows you to keep a close track on shrinkage, helping you to ensure that cost and service levels are in balance and your resource is being deployed to best meet customer demand.

With thanks to Mike Donohue at Magnetic North

Published On: 1st Apr 2015 - Last modified: 2nd Jun 2017
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