Call Center Efficiency: Productivity Assessment


Call center benchmarking gives companies a vital tool to use for evaluating their call center performance. Although managers can use call center analytics to judge the center’s performance relative to the past, that doesn’t guarantee that customers are receiving an experience that is competitive with other firms. Benchmarking helps change that.

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By performing a call center efficiency assessment based on standard metrics and the performance of call centers managed by other firms, managers can know whether they are providing a level of service that either matches or surpasses their competitors.


Call Center Productivity

Four aspects of call center performance create a framework for measuring efficiency. Those segments include service quality, agent responsiveness, productivity and cost. Call center operational efficiency, also described as productivity, gives important insights into call center performance. The following standard metrics help describe call center productivity and create an important foundation for benchmarking.


Adherence to Schedule

A quantifiable measure for how well agents follow their schedules.

Managers use schedules to define how employees are expected to use their time. When employees closely adhere to their prescribed routine, they leave little doubt as to how the work day is being spent. That high degree of compliance results in an efficient operation. On the other hand, when agents fail to properly follow their schedules, time is wasted and less work than planned gets completed.

The adherence to schedule metric defines how much of the time an agent spends logged in during a shift. The parameter includes the time spent dealing with callers, the time spent after a call and the time used making essential outbound calls. Adherence to schedule also accounts for idle time agents spend while logged into their contact center.

Lunch time, breaks and time spent in training do not count as part of the adherence to schedule assessment. Calculating the metric involves dividing the total time an agent is available for work by the time they were expected to work in a given period. A higher percentage indicates closer adherence and, therefore, a higher degree of productivity. The global value for the adherence to schedule metric is 95 percent.


Average Handle Time

The average time that an agent spends on a caller issue, including phone time and follow-up, or after call work.

Another component of the call center productivity assessment, average handle time, involves the average total amount of time used to handle a call. Call handling includes the time spent on a call, following up that call or performing administrative tasks such as recording the details of a call in the call log. Handling time also involves time spent preparing for the next call by closing unneeded screens and opening a new call record. Managers calculate average handle time by dividing the total talk time, hold time and after-call work time by the total number of calls handled.

High average handle time statistics suggest that agents are having difficulty identifying the reason for customer calls. Confusing procedures can also cause call handling times to increase. Companies can improve call handling time by providing agents with adequate training. Employees who have ample product knowledge and experience, for example, can more readily understand customer issues and provide suggestions without escalating calls or requiring supervisor assistance.


Call Wrap-Up Time

The average time spent on after call work.

Call wrap-up time specifically measures the time used by agents to complete work related to the preceding call. Such work can involve filling out forms, transcribing notes and other activities. Call center solutions can track this metric and display it their software dashboards. Managers can manually monitor call wrap-up in real time by viewing agent statuses. The metric varies much by industry but is globally valued at about six minutes.

High call wrap-up times can alert managers to possible training or procedural issues, but they can also signal moral issues. Managers must address such underlying causes for prolonged call wrap-ups to improve call center efficiency and maximize the time agents spend handling calls. Extremely short call wrap-up times can also signal problems. For example, agents might not be spending an adequate amount of time documenting their customer contacts.


Call Forecast Accuracy

The difference between predicted call volume and actual calls.

Managers plan work schedules based on the volume of calls they anticipate. When such forecasts are inaccurate, an improper match between staffing and activity results. On one hand, having too many agents on duty lowers productivity because of the costs associated with underutilized labor. On the other hand, too few agents can result in call handling delays that degrade the customer experience. Also, understaffed call centers can lead to heightened stress levels.

Call forecast accuracy defines the deviation between how many calls were forecasted for a period and the number of calls that were received. Managers create forecasts using forecasting software and information from their call centers automatic call distribution (ACD) system. The global value for variance in call forecast accuracy is 5 percent.


An accurate assessment of call center productivity contributes to the overall evaluation of call center efficiency. Computing productivity involves metrics such as adherence to schedule, handling time, wrap-up time, and forecast accuracy. The values for call center productivity contribute to the collection of necessary data for call center benchmarking.


Our Solution

Our call center assessments consider every part of your business and all your call center metrics to formulate a comprehensive strategy for implementing call center improvements. We specialize in streamlining call center workflow and improving the efficiency and productivity of your operation. As part of the process, we ensure that you have access to the data necessary to gain the necessary insights into your operations.