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The Costs of Call Center Overstaffing and Understaffing

[fa icon="calendar"] February 24, 2015 / Ashley Kalcic

No call center is perfect when it comes to forecasting and scheduling. Even with advanced technology, statistics, and Workforce Management software there are too many uncertainties that impact the call center on an interval level. The goal of any forecaster or planner is to strive to be as accurate as possible in their forecast of requirements and scheduling their associates. Carelessness in doing so can result in heavy costs for the company. Although it may seem obvious how understaffing can negatively affect the call center, there’s a high cost in overstaffing as well.

Costs Of Understaffing

1. Poor Customer Service

  • Leads to a negative brand image. According to Forbes, a customer that has a true positive experience will share that story on average with 4-6 other individuals. A customer who has a true negative experience will share that story with, on average, 9-15 individuals. Negative interactions will spread twice as fast as positive ones.
  • Bad customer service will ultimately lead to a loss of customers. It takes five times the amount of resources to gain a new customer than it does to retain an old customer. Unhappy customers are likely to talk negatively to their friends and colleagues about their bad experiences.

2. Agent Burnout

  • Agent burnout is directly related to agent turnover. When employees are stressed and overworked, they’re more likely to leave. Don’t forget, there are significant costs involved when hiring and training new agents to replace them.
  • Agents are so busy answering call after call that you cannot afford to take them out of their seats. This will decrease time for training and one-on-one meetings with supervisors necessary for professional development.

3. Missed Service Levels, Abandoned Calls and Missed Revenues

  • Many government agencies and other corporations have fines for missed service levels or abandon rates. This is also apparent in contracts with vendor partners and their agreements with agencies.
  • The situation worsens when abandon callers call back, resulting in longer queues throughout the day.
  • This results in missed opportunities to gain revenue from sales, orders, and also affects the retention of customers.

Costs of Overstaffing

1. Financial Impact

  • The largest overhead cost for the entire call center is staffing, which can be reduced if agents are utilized and not overstaffed.
  • The turnover rate increases, resulting in more work for Human Resources.

2. Bored Workers

  • Agents have increased downtime, resulting in difficulty in keeping staff in chairs.
  • This leads to unengaged employees taking longer breaks and lunches, and spending time surfing the internet.
  • As workers feel less engaged agent turnover increases.

3. Inefficient Utilization of Resources

  • Strongest employees will not always be scheduled to their area of strengths.
  • Team leads and supervisors have more responsibilities and may not have time for efficient coaching sessions.
  • The best employees throughout the day are then taking a smaller percentage of the calls.

Adequately staffing your call center operations is imperative to the success of your business. Overstaffing for the workload can be just as detrimental as understaffing. There is much to be considered in order to create an accurate forecast. To learn more about resource planning and call center staffing reference this post on the Steps of Workforce Management.

The Call Center School offers an entire series dedicated to Workforce Management training, to find out more about the courses offered visit our Workforce Management library. For the opportunity to be become Certified in Workforce Management through The Call Center School enroll in our e-learning courses.

Topics: Workforce Management

Ashley Kalcic

Written by Ashley Kalcic

Ashley Kalcic is dedicated to global success of The Call Center School, focusing client acquisition, retention, and market presence. With a foundation in contact center workforce management, she has a strong basis for contact center training and development. Ashley has worked on addressing the training needs and initiatives of hundreds of clients from small contact center organizations to large fortune 500 companies. With a B.A. in psychology from Northern Illinois University with a focus on Industrial Organizational and Cognitive processes, Ashley Kalcic has a firm understanding of what helps motivate, retain and satisfy individuals in the workplace. With that knowledge, she promotes ongoing training and development at all levels of the contact center, from frontline staff to contact center supervisors, workforce managers, and quality assurance specialists.