Is Your Remote Contact Center Properly Staffed? Learn What Metrics Can Help You Understand Peak Volume
Keeping your contact center properly staffed at all times doesn’t have to be difficult, even with a remote team. The key to optimizing staffing is to use the right remote contact center metrics. With clear insights on call volume and agent performance, you can make informed staffing decisions that benefit everyone — the customer, your agents, and the company’s bottom line.
Let’s look at what it’s like to staff for a remote contact center and what metrics managers and supervisors should be looking at to improve staffing.
Why Getting Staffing Right Is So Important
With a remote contact center, optimizing staffing is challenging because you can’t see your agents and gauge if they’re:
- Overwhelmed with calls
- Disengaged because you’re overstaffed
- Perfectly paced with call volume
With too few agents, your call wait times will increase and more customers will abandon the contact. These are red flags that customers aren’t getting the high-quality experience they deserve.
On the other hand, if there are too many remote agents on but calls aren’t coming in, your contact center costs are going to be higher without creating more value for the business.
Even with an in-office team, making sure you always have the right number of agents is difficult because you can’t accurately predict how many calls will come in each day. Unlike staffing for a restaurant, warehouse, or retail store, the workload will vary from day to day and hour to hour.
Contact center staffing involves being ready for the unexpected — those random times when more calls than normal come in.
However, even with the random nature of when customers call, you can still get general patterns. For example, you might notice a peak period mid-morning or in the early evening. Then, you can make sure you have more agents on at that time.
Additionally, with a remote contact center, you can easily resolve staffing around peak volumes. This is because you can schedule agents at peak times and scale back during slower times, instead of expecting everyone on your team to come in for a traditional nine-to-five shift.
Ultimately, if you can get a clear picture of when peak volume times might occur through your metrics, you can optimize staffing.
5 Metrics Remote Contact Center Managers Should Use to Ensure Proper Staffing
Here are the metrics you should use to help you make staffing decisions:
1. Call Volume
Call volume looks at the number of calls that are coming in. You can track call volume for every half-hour or hour of the day to see when your volume tends to peak.
This metric will fluctuate, but if you look at the historical data for your remote contact center, you’ll notice trends. For example, you might see that peak volume happens around 8 a.m. in the spring months, but moves back to late morning in the summer months.
With this metric alone, you can determine what parts of the day you need to have more staff on for. These are your peak hours.
2. Call Arrival Rate
In addition to call volume, you want to look at the call arrival rate for different time periods to get even more granular on volume fluctuations. The call arrival rate is the total number of income calls per minute, hour, or day.
This is a useful metric to watch in real-time. When it gets too high, you can have your agents route calls to your Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to help balance the workload.
3. Average Handle Time (AHT)
This contact center metric is a good one to focus on for contact center productivity and staffing. It shows how much time agents are spending on a call on average.
If you know that the AHT is four minutes and their average after-call work time (ACWT) is one minute, that means your agents can handle about 12 calls every hour. So, if you estimate your call volume for a specific hour block to reach 120 calls, you know you’d need at least 10 agents on if you want to prevent your customers from waiting in the queue.
4. Average Time in Queue
Also known as the average speed of answer (ASA), this contact center metric lets you see how long customers are waiting before they speak to an agent. When the average time in the queue starts to increase, that points to potential problems with the customer experience.
If you see it trend upward for a certain time period — such as Monday mornings or every weekday evening — you know when your agents are struggling to keep up with the call volume.
5. Average After-Call Work Time (ACWT)
After each customer interaction, your agents will spend some time logging any information gathered. They also might need to schedule a follow-up call.
It’s a good idea to pay attention to this metric as well when making staffing decisions for your contact center. If the ACWT is too high, you’ll need to bring on more agents until you can train your team to improve their after-call work time or provide them with tools to work more efficiently.
Get Software with Reporting Features You Need to Make Smart Staffing Decisions
Looking at these metrics can give you the clarity you need to understand peak volume times and staffing needs for a remote contact center. But, to make decision-making efficient, you’ll want to use contact center software that includes a dashboard with real-time metrics and detailed analysis.
Intermedia Contact Center makes it easy to gauge how well your contact center is staffed and what your remote agents require to deliver an excellent customer experience. Contact center managers have useful tracking reports at their fingertips. They can also create custom reports to dig even deeper into how well the contact center is functioning.