What is Call Center Agent Utilization?

Call center agent utilization is the ratio of an agent’s productivity to their capacity. This workforce management metric is somewhat general and straightforward, and can provide important insight into the effectiveness of call center processes.

Agent utilization is not the same metric as agent occupancy, which is the percentage of time that agents are actively engaged in interaction handling activities compared to their total time logged in.

Call center agent utilization may be somewhat difficult to measure because it takes into account other activities and time uses besides the calls themselves and after-call work. This can include unavailable time spent in team meetings, mandatory breaks, vacation or sick time, and other factors.

The actual calculation for call center agent utilization may vary from one call center to another, depending on the makeup of the business. Typically it will be a variation of this formula:

The average amount of time spent handling inbound or outbound calls per month, in minutes, divided by the sum of time the agent spends handling interactions and waiting for contacts to arrive (or other predetermined time period, in minutes).

Call center software usually will help track each agent’s utilization by the necessary metrics. Management will need to provide additional details outside the call handling functions such as scheduled shifts or hours, but most call center software enables agents to provide their individual details for time spent not logged in, and will automatically track time spent on calls or engaged in after call work.

Tracking agent utilization helps a call center in a variety of ways. Understanding the percentage of productive time spent, alongside measurable results, can lead to productivity improvements and helps ensure agent efficiency while avoiding overtaxing agents. Making sure agents are measured based on reasonable expectations will help keep agents happy which will often in turn help increase customer satisfaction as well.

Managers can also monitor this metric to spot potential future call center agent problems. With call center agent utilization, a higher percentage is viewed as better, because low utilization indicates that your cost per agent-assisted contact is higher. However, too high a percentage may lead to agent burnout, which increases agent turnover, which is detrimental to the overall productivity and costs of a call center.

How NICE can help

NICE CXone is the market leading call center software in use by thousands of customers worldwide. Our solutions help call centers track agent utilization and ultimately deliver superior customer experiences with accuracy, efficiency and consistency. Our user-friendly reporting solutions provide the information call centers need to monitor and analyze agent utilization. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help companies maintain and improve call center operations and meet call center service level standards. CXone includes:

Automation & Artificial Intelligence (AI) – highly advanced, intuitive technology that eliminates mundane tasks and improves customer issue resolutions for better volume and speed. It comes with solutions for self-service, agent-assisted and fully automated alerts and actions.

Workforce Intelligence – a fully-integrated contact center operations engine that turbo charges supervisor productivity by triggering routing or workforce changes to achieve service levels, freeing supervisors from mundane tasks and allowing them to prioritize coaching and agent training.

Workforce Engagement – unlocks the potential of your team by inspiring employees' self-improvement, amplifying quality management efforts to enhance customer experience and reducing labor waste. These solutions include workforce management (WFM), quality management (QM), recording, and performance management (PM).