Hey Call Center Managers – Is your call center efficient, scalable and reliable?

3, June 2016

Calls dropped, waited on queue for long, waited too long to connect to IVR, frustrated customers, over-worked agents,call routing to wrong agents, idle assets, the mad drive for optimization – Are these keeping you awake at night?

Well, you are in the right place. Join the discussion on perils of not sizing your contact center right.

You may now argue, “how is sizing relevant in a cloud contact center era when scalability on demand is a game changer?” Well, you are right and wrong. It is a fact that enterprises urge to move to the cloud but statistics prove that a vast majority of enterprises are still on “on –premise” solutions and hybrid models. Also, cloud solutions can scale as per demand, but you cannot shirk your responsibility behind defining the business logic for the same.

More often than not customers complain:

“Oh the call never gets connected”

“I have to wait for ages to speak to the call center agent”

On the other side – the side which the customer is often oblivious about –  idle agents for whom enterprises pay for, ports and licenses that lay un-utilized


So, where do we strike a balance?

The reasons could be many. One factor that is often overlooked is the sizing of your contact center.

When an enterprise decides to go the contact center way, how do they decide how many servers, ports, licenses, instances are required to start the ball rolling? It is not just a number.

There are numbers, metrics, and logic that matters like call volume, time spent on IVR, time spent with agents, questions like ‘should the calls routed to agent or to IVR’, if so, ‘what percentage should be self-serviced’, ‘how many outbound calls would be made’, ‘when do agents call’, ‘do you have agents dedicated for inbound and outbound calls’.  There are n number of considerations that impact the two main drivers of your business – customer satisfaction and revenue generation.

80% of the enterprises today, do not have answers to these questions when they start off. So they assume or the SI would assume values based on industry practices.

Well a good start! But there is more to it. Designing and running a contact center ‘well’ is both a science and art.

Let me illustrate with an example:

Assume you sized your contact center for 1000 inbound calls per day with a peak call volume (BHCA) of 12%.

Calls per hour (assuming 24 hours CC): 42

Peak call volume: 48 calls (surge of 12% based on industry standard)

Assumed all calls are sent to IVR

Assuming 80% call resolution on IVR itself and 20% would then be transferred to the agent.

No. of calls to IVR: 39

No. of calls to agent: 9

And you have provisioned agents to handle 9 calls per hour.

Now what if 50% of calls decides to speak to agent which means

No. of calls to IVR now is 24

No. of calls to agent is 24

A whopping 62% increase in call volume to agents.

How then would the number of agents that are provisioned suffice to handle the surge?

So calls would be put on cue, customers would be annoyed, agents would be overworked and frustrated, and so on and so forth.

Likewise, the factors could be many. If the actual talk time is greater than provisioned, if the call volume is itself lesser, the peak call volume is not as per standards, if outbound calls also have to be made, with incessant inbound calls how do agents make outbound calls, so promised call backs may not happen, emails and chat may not be answered.

The same issues happen if over-provisioned too. That impact costs for under-utilization which other affects customer satisfaction.

So where do we strike the balance?


To start with, it is great to go with calculated assumptions. But enterprises need to re-calibrate at specified intervals and opt for cloud or hosted solutions for seasonal surges, have virtual agents at disposal, fall back ACD call routing logic in place.

In the case of contact centers, the sum of parts does not make the whole. The factors are intertwined and calls for expertise at various levels – provisioning, managing and for quick, logical decisions.

After all, we all thrive for that three-pronged lofty goal –Happy customers, Happy stockholders, and Happy employees.

The ways to address are many today:

  • Check periodically if inventory and processes are in alignment with real daily scenarios
  • Opt multiple channels working in Omni channel sync based on customer profiles
  • Make predictions based on analytics about sizing, processes as per actual scenario
  • Employ mobile and virtual work-force to scale up when required
  • Move to cloud and get rid of operational headaches

Whatever you choose, however, you do

The point to drive home is that running a contact center is not just about making and taking calls and to successfully run a contact center as a profit and service center, it calls for cognizance of such factors and constant surveillance of the same.

Good day, let’s run together to figure out the maze.