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Agent Utilization Rate


Market research 04 12
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Even with the use of advanced technology and AI, customer service agents still remain the most vital part of the Call Center equation. While the intention of using IVR, chatbots, etc. is to provide faster service to the customers, 55% of customers still prefer talking to a live agent. 

Agents can show customers empathy and understand their feelings. While AI-powered software may provide them accurate information, callers prefer the human touch when they contact a Customer Service.


What is Agent Utilization in a Call Center?

Agent Utilization = Work Produced / Work Capacity

As per the formula of measuring Agent Utilization, the metric gives insight into the productivity of the agents in the Call Center. It tells you if your agents are working effectively during their working hours or not. 

Industry-standard for Agent Utilization Rate suggests that the metric should be between 85% and 90% for a successful Call Center.

Agent Utilization Rate1

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How can you measure Agent Utilization Rate?

Measuring Agent Utilization Rate is considered difficult because it includes not only the time of Calls handled and after-call work but also other activities and time. This can be time spent in meetings, breaks, and other factors which cannot be tracked. 

These factors affect the Utilization Rate of an agent because the agents cannot track the time they spent in an internal meeting. Therefore, the Agent Utilization Rate can also differ greatly all across the Call Center Industry depending on how the center operates. 

Work Produced and Work Capacity should be analyzed across a different period due to the varied workload in different seasons. This brings to a variation of the formula:

Agent Utilization = Average volume of contact handled in set time period X Average time spent per contact / average number of working hours in the set time period

Agent Utilization Rate2

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How can Agent Utilization Rate help you?

With agent utilization rate an organization can give you a clear picture of the performance of the agents. It can help the managers improve productivity while ensuring agent efficiency and reducing agent overwork. 

For instance, with an Agent Utilization Rate of 95% you can identify issues in the quality of work and agent burnout.
You can ensure that the agents work within reasonable expectations and conditions. This will keep the agents satisfied with their work and as a result, keep the customers happy. 

While staffing your department may not be the solution you are looking for, high service levels can create extreme pressure on your limited employees. An overwhelming demand for support requests can affect the performance and productivity of the agents. 

This will not only reduce the Agent Utilization rate but on contrary increase Agent Turnover Rate. Analyzing the Agent Utilization Rate across all the departments in your call center can help you understand when it is time to hire some more employees. 

An increasing number of employees can take the workload off the limited employees. Performing without added pressure can help improve productivity and motivate agents to provide better customer support.

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Should you aim for a 100% Agent Utilization Rate?

Agent Utilization Rate3

A 100% Agent Utilization Rate may seem like it means more productivity and employee engagement. But, it increases the stress of an agent leading to agent turnover, poor work quality and leaves agents with less time for administrative work.

Agent Turnover

  • The goal of a 100% agent utilization rate is an impossible standard to achieve. Cooped up in a call center for hours under the pressure of increasing service level can burn out the agents. This will lead to them leaving the company to look for a less stressful job.

Poor Work Quality

  • With the stress of achieving a high service level, agents will feel overworked. They will try to rush calls and projects in order to keep up with the increasing demand. So, the agents may not pay attention to the quality and accuracy of their work.
  • Moreover, working fast and under pressure can cause them to make many mistakes which will delay the projects.

Less Time for Other Work

  • An increase in Work Capacity can reduce the time an agent has for internal matters. Trying to meet the expectation and complete the workload, the agents will have no time left for training. With no time in hand, agents cannot improve and learn new skills. As a result, you cannot utilize the agents to their full potential.
  • 100% utilization rate can be harmful to the call center. The goal of Utilization Rate for a call center should be between 80 to 90%. This way you can ensure an efficient internal workflow with agents spending time on generating revenue for the company.
  • It is important to find a balance between agent utilization rate and agent productivity.You must be aware of the speed and efficiency of each agent before scheduling the workforce accordingly. Some agents can manage a lot of calls while some agents are slow in completing their tasks. 
  • To increase productivity and agent utilization while keeping agent turnover to a minimum, you must assign the right schedule to the right agents.
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Depending on the goals of a call center the utilization rate can vary. However, a general goal for Utilization Rate is 75 and 85%.

To calculate the productivity of an agent in a call center we take the formula of 

Productivity = Total Output / Total Input X 100 

Output is the amount of time an agent actually spends working. Input is the total amount of time they are supposed to spend (working schedule).

Occupancy refers to the logged-in time of an agent, while Utilization refers to the total time an agent spends on work including the logged-out time. 

Utilization includes the time spent on training, meetings breaks, etc.