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Simply having the right people to handle customer interactions continues to be one of the most important aspects of customer service today.  Sure, there is self-service technology to help deflect some of those “easier” interaction requests, but without humans, many businesses could not function.  Your humans are there to solve problems, but you must account for historically high and low call times, operating hours, holidays, stakeholder inputs, and of course your knowledge of known business patterns.  But what about the unknowns?  According to a Call Centre Helper story, “contact center shrinkage is a measurement of anything that takes an agent away from their ability to take customer contacts.”   With all the measurements in place, including shrinkage, you’re ready to build your staffing plan.

When staffing your center, you may have come up with a rough number (sometimes referred to as napkin math) of people you need to handle the interactions based on all the factors I listed above. If you use that napkin math as the sole basis to staff your center, you will almost always come up with a staffing shortage and your center will be understaffed.  You see, napkin math doesn’t account for the random nature of contact arrival, granularity of your historical data, and unforeseen factors like contact center shrinkage that can be a major factor in the success or failure of a staffing plan.  Today’s Workforce Management suites use many different methods to build staffing plans.  Let’s discuss how contact center shrinkage will be a key input to that plan.

Reasons Why Contact Center Shrinkage Happens:

  1. Things you can control – vacation time off, meetings, training events, offline project, breaks and mealtimes.
  2. Things you can’t control – unscheduled non-productive time like sick days, tardy arrivals, early departures, break/mealtime overages and other unplanned/undocumented time.

Contact Center Shrinkage:  Things You Can Control

First, you can determine how much vacation time you need to schedule on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis based on your company’s HR policies (or an employee union if you have one) which describe the time off accrual as well as break and meal time requirements.  Conversations with your center’s management team should involve the WFM team to account for meetings, training, and project time.  Knowing these details are the first input into shrinkage.

Contact Center Shrinkage:  Things You Can’t Control

Now, the uncontrollable shrink.  Unfortunately, humans are not robots and do get sick.  Knowing historical averages of your sick time usage will help you narrow down this aspect of uncontrollable shrink so you can partially account for it. Unfortunately, other aspects of uncontrollable shrink are a little bit harder to account for but still can be obtained.  For example, it is often quite hard to calculate overage at meals and breaks.  Zeroing in on uncontrollable shrinkage is probably the best place to start.

Now sure how to account for shrinkage in your environment?  Do you think your environment is different and doesn’t fit the standard models or calculations?  Do you see existing staffing models continue to fall short in your contact center?

Let’s talk.  The WFM consulting team at Group Elite is second-to-none.  Email us your shrinkage questions at info@groupelite.com and we’ll share our best practices and get your staffing back on track.

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Chris Rand

Chris Rand

Chris has nearly 20 years of experience with Workforce Management in various industries including satellite TV, business to business and financial services.  He has helped build WFM teams from the ground up and most recently acted as the WFM Business Subject Matter Expert for a large retirement services company.  As the Business SME, Chris was responsible for not only assisting with the day to day operations of the WFM application (including troubleshooting and back end integration) but also as the key knowledge management source for all WFM processes and procedures in the company.  In addition to that role, he acted as the WFM team supervisor and team lead for the growing WFM team during times of staffing changes and transition from one leadership organization to another.  Upon joining GEC, Chris shares his knowledge of the Verint WFM platform with customers in WFM Training and Consulting sessions.