Contact Center Shrinkage: Causes and how to reduce it?

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The contact center industry has many KPIs that are necessary to monitor to boost productivity. Similarly, contact center shrinkage is the metric that refers to the time of agents that agents spend time of answer calls and serving customers versus the actual time they spend doing so. It expresses to you how much time agents devote to doing something other than serving customers.

What is contact center shrinkage?

Shrinkage is the essential factor of resource planning. It calculates the work time of agents when they don’t receive the calls even, they are present in the office. As well as the reason of don’t receive the calls is categorized as internal and external.

Causes of contact center shrinkage

Shrinkage is the factor that must measure in the contact center industry. It affects the success of the contact center because utilization of more time with receiving calls and help customers increase your business productivity. Meanwhile, when agents don’t utilize this time and don’t receive the calls due to other activities then it is difficult to meet your predefined goals.

Causes of contact center shrinkage are categorized in internal and external.

Internal causes of shrinkage

  • Projects work
  • System downtime
  • Training and coaching
  • Meetings
  • Spent time to help different departments
  • Unscheduled break

External causes of shrinkage

  • Leave early
  • Late-to-office
  • Absenteeism
  • Sick time
  • Vacations

Above all factors are caused to contact center shrinkage. Before calculation managers first analyze the reason for shrinkage. After that, they focus on the reduction method of shrinkage.

Contact center shrinkage calculation

Calculate shrinkage by using two methods.

1)Number of contact center employees2)Number of hours

Let’s briefly describe these two methods.

1)Calculate in terms of the number of employees

The formula of calculating the shrinkage in terms of the number of employees is as follow:

Shrinkage% = Number of employees needed to take calls/Number of available agents to take calls.

Consider an example. Let us say that you required 100 agents to handle the call volume over a half hour to hit the target. Now, if at any point 30 agents are not available to handle the calls in this targeted time then the shrink percentage would be (100/70).

2)Calculate in terms of hours

The formula for calculating the shrinkage in terms of hours is:

Shrinkage% = Total hours (Internal shrinkage +External shrinkage)

Total available Hours x 100

Use the calculation method according to an industrial level. You consider which formula is best for which situation. The formula of the number of hours is best for measuring and analyzing the performance of agents individually. On the other hand, the number of employee formula is best for planning the manpower necessities for a campaign because this formula will give you the perfect buffer you should have while planning your manpower distribution.

Is a high shrinkage rate impact the contact center proficiency?

High shrinkage rate impacts the contact center proficiency because it minimizes it as well as reduces performance. To enhance the contact center efficiency, it is necessary to minimize the shrinkage factor. In addition, you cannot deliver the best customer support if the shrinkage rate is high. Moreover, the shrinkage rate is helping the managers to analyze the agent’s performance and know that how many agents are required to achieve the goal. However, it becomes indispensable for managers to monitor and track contact center shrinkage rates continuously.

How to minimize contact center shrinkage rate?

The managers can not enhance the contact center productivity and efficacy without minimizing the shrinkage rate. Managers must keep a robust strategy to minimize the shrinkage rate regularly. This strategy focused on the practices that help to minimize the shrinkage rate. Here are some practices that reduce the contact center shrinkage:

1)Understand the cause of shrinkage

Analyze the internal and external factors. Understand that which factors are reasons for high shrinkage. Further, based on this factor, plan how to improve this. Moreover, measure the shrinkage rate continuously because it maintains the workflow and you can accomplish your goal easily. Manage the fluctuations as well as identify all those factors that caused to increase this.

2)Improve schedule adherence

Make a schedule for your agents that helps you track their break time, in time, out time, etc. Achieve your target by scheduling your workflow is easier. You can identify the unnecessary activities that increase the shrinkage rate. Agents mention their time spent in other activities. Moreover, these time logs assist you to calculate the shrinkage rate. Send the report to your agents and the shrinkage rate is automatically minimized.

3)Monitor attendance time

Absenteeism and lateness are the big cause of increasing the shrinkage rate. If it becomes a habit then this is a serious factor. Arrange a meeting with agents and ask them for their absence reasons. Moreover, implement a strategy to increase agent efficiency by reducing lateness and absenteeism.

4)Engaged agents with work

Keep your agents engaged with work because in this way they have seated on their desk and chances of shrinkage are low. But never load your agents with more work because it increases the shrinkage rate. Keep them motivated and inspire them by engaging their work. Furthermore, make a team and assign work instead of assigning the work individually.

5)Give Reward

Only regular appraisals are not enough. Agents need to be some motivation to put more effort into your business growth. Give rewards to the best performers. They motivate and work excitedly.

6)Try variations

Don’t use the same method to track agents’ performance and ways to reduce the shrinkage rate. Try different methods to deal with people. Other than that, managing and monitoring the workplace is a critical part of your business growth.


To wrap up, analyze the employees and work strategies on regular basis to improve the business efficacy. Understand facts and try to resolve all issues that are caused to decrease your business growth. Contact center shrinkage impacts the productivity of the contact centers directly. So, apply the above practices to minimize the shrinkage rate.

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