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Understanding Agent Occupancy

Agent occupancy refers to how busy are agents in actually handling a call. Thus, it is directly in proportion to the call workload and indirectly to the number of agents. Apparently, if there are more calls, agents become busier handling calls and agent occupancy increases. However, with more agents receiving the same no. of calls, agents are less busy and agent occupancy decreases.

Agent occupancy can be computed by dividing the amount of workload by the staff hours in place. Following this, a 12 man staff handling 10 hours of workload (total time of calls), agent occupancy is only 83%. If the workload increases with the same no. of staff, agent occupancy increases. For instance, a 12 man staff handling 11 hours of workload results to an agent occupancy of 91%. If we increase the staff, say 16 with the same workload of 10, agent occupancy decreases to 62.5%. Thus, larger call centers, those with more agents available to handle calls, enjoy the economies of scale because they are able to better address peaks of call demands while maintaining quality level of service.

Is there an ideal agent occupancy rate? A low occupancy rate would be ideal for agents because they get to relax more at work. It is however not ideal to companies because that would mean that they are not able to optimize the productivity of their staff and get the most of what they pay. To remedy this, call center companies fill the idle time of agents by engaging them in supplementary support activities such as data-entry, attending training, conduct research about their customers or any other job related work or activity to make themselves productive and increase their occupancy rate.

A high occupancy rate is obviously not favorable for agents because that would mean they are very busy. This however is both favorable and unfavorable for the company. It is favorable because they are able to utilize agents and get every penny’s worth of money they pay the agents. On the other hand, this could also be so exhausting on the part of the agent which can result to a decrease in their quality level of service.

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