Maximum Occupancy – The Most Common Resource Planning Mistake

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Jonty Pearce, Editor of Call Centre Helper, explains how maximum occupancy is the most common resource planning mistake that contact centres make when working out how many staff they need. In this video Jonty explains:
• Maximum Occupancy
• What Is Occupancy?
• Maximum Occupancy of 85%
• Why It Is Important Occupancy Doesn’t Exceed 85%
• What Happens When You Take Occupancy Over 85%
• You May See AHT Increase
• How Do You Factor in Maximum Occupancy?

Video Transcript

Hi. I’m going to take you through the most common resource planning mistake that contact centres make when working out how many staff they need, and that is maximum occupancy.

Maximum Occupancy

And the simple rule is you shouldn’t let maximum occupancy go above 85%.

What Is Occupancy?

So what is Occupancy? Occupancy very simply is the total contact handling time divided by the total logged-in time. And if you want a percentage, you multiply that by 100.

Maximum Occupancy of 85%

A maximum occupancy of 85% would be basically 51 minutes of total contact handling time, divided by 60 minutes of total logged-in time, times 100 to get a percentage. So in essence, an agent on average should be handling calls for no more than 51 minutes out of 60.

Why It Is Important Occupancy Doesn’t Exceed 85%

So why is this so important that we shouldn’t take this over 85%? Well, I think the analogy is a bit like a car. It’s very tempting to get a car and run it flat out, but you and I know if you do that with a car, there’s a very good chance that if you do that for too long, then things are going to overheat, and it’s exactly the same with your staff.

What Happens When You Take Occupancy Over 85%

So what happens when you take your occupancy over 85%? Well, the simple thing is that if you’re running your staff flat out all the time, then they start to get burnt out. They start not to be able to think straight. And that leads to one thing, and that is the A-word – Absence. Monday morning staff don’t show up for work. There’s one other A-word that can happen as well, and that is Attrition.  It’s not untypical in the contact centre industry to see attrition rates of 40% or more.

You May See AHT Increase

You might see average handling time and talk time increase.  The reason for this is that people are so busy their brains don’t have time to reset between calls. And so effectively they take longer to think. So talk time increases. Also, people can’t get a break, so you can get a break if you conceal it in things like wrap time. What you might find is if you’re running at 100% occupancy, you are just hiding your maximum occupancy.

How Do You Factor in Maximum Occupancy?

So how do you factor in maximum occupancy? Well, in some Erlang calculators, but by no means all, you can factor in maximum occupancy. So very simply, don’t let your maximum occupancy go above 85%. If you are looking for more great video insights from the experts, check these out these videos next:
Author: Jonty Pearce
Reviewed by: Robyn Coppell