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Agent Utilization Rate

Definition

What is the Agent Utilization Rate?

Agent utilization rate represents the percentage of time an active agent consumes on calls or performing call-related work. Call centers use a wide range of agent utilization rates.

It may also be useful for production scheduling, over-or under-staffing, hours of service, and supported languages.

Very high agent utilization rates will potentially boost the costs by driving up the agent turnover rate. Whenever agent usage rates hit 60–70 percent, the service desk will experience comparatively high agent turnover when it forces the agents too hard, leading to burnout and poor morale.

Agent utilization rate calculation

Agent utilization is the best indicator of productivity growth. Since agent wages and benefits account for more than half of all service desk expenses, if agent usage is high, the cost per touch would be correspondingly low.

To calculate the agent utilization rate, take the amount of time your agents are recorded to be on call or doing call-related duties and split it by the actual time they are on the clock. Then, multiply the corresponding amount by 100, and you have the proportion of agent consumption.

 

What is the Agent Utilization Rate
What is the Agent Utilization Rate?
Outsourcing FAQ

What is What is business process outsourcing?

What is Business Process Outsourcing BPO?

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is the delegation of business processes to an external service provider to a nearby or farther location. BPO uses various technology-enabled services to optimize the delivery of services.

Some of the usual outsourced business functions are the following.

Payroll Accounting Human resources Customer service Sales Marketing

In the case of content providers, these could mean hiring writers, remote editors, or virtual assistants.

BPO speeds up processes and enhances efficiency. Companies that outsource some of their business processes use their time on core services and competencies.

With this shift in focus, companies improve their current processes which may result in improved customer satisfaction. BPO helps companies divert their resources to more critical business strategies.

Often, companies find it impractical to hire a full-time position in-house because of the cost associated with doing so. Outsourcing services can also help them save costs and resources in hiring suitable employees.

How does Business Process Outsourcing work?

Business process outsourcing happens when a business taps a third-party service provider to operate some of its internal processes. Such ‘processes’ include customer service, accounting and finance, or sales.

It is different from hiring an agency to do specific tasks, as the outsourcing provider (BPO) is more concerned with the ongoing production of labour-intensive tasks, instead of the higher-level strategy and guidance.

Now, business process outsourcing has broadened and is more akin to staff augmentation, or staff leasing.

What are the benefits of business process outsourcing?

There are many benefits to outsourcing, as well as some downsides and risks. The common benefits include:

Cost savings

Companies can enjoy savings of up to 70% by leveraging the salaries and costs in countries such as the Philippines and India.

Global market

Businesses get to access a bigger pool of talent that can fit their requirements. They can have better options in hiring employees since they are not limited to what is available in their home countries.

Global presence

At the same time, business process outsourcing opens clients to global trade opportunities. They can establish their global presence and expand more easily to other locations since they already have operations in the area.

Flexible workforce

BPO reduces internal local compliance obligations including providing additional office spaces to employees. Instead, organizations can hold their business operations on a remote setup, most usually having their teams in an office provided by the BPO firm.

Leverage skill

Companies cannot always do everything on their own. BPO enables them to leverage the skills of other specialist companies on more complex tasks such as accounting and IT.

Focus

Lastly, BPO enables organizations to focus on their core business functions. This is since most of their non-core business operations are done with the help of a reliable service provider.

Business process outsourcing examples

The business process outsourcing sector is a vast industry, generating over $200bn annually, and employing millions of people worldwide.

BPO can be seen in different forms and contexts, from hiring single staff to getting an offshore team. Some examples of BPO include:

Big enterprise

Facebook and Uber outsource many of their operational functions, including content moderation for Facebook, and customer service for Uber

Medium-size businesses

A medium business with 50-500 staff might outsource the labour-intensive accounting and finance functions to a team in the Philippines.

Small business and entrepreneur

It is common for small business owners to have a Virtual Assistant (VA) working for them full time and remotely from the Philippines.

What are the different types of BPO?

The type of business process outsourcing can be characterised by their specialisation, location, and size.

Generalist or specialist BPOs

Business process outsourcing is in the human resources and professional services sector. However, their services extend across all industries. The majority of BPOs are generalists, in that they offer a full range of professional services.

Meanwhile, some specialise in certain verticals such as the following.

Legal process outsourcing

Legal process outsourcing deals more with delegating legal processes and compliances to legal firms in another area.

Knowledge process outsourcing

Meanwhile, knowledge process outsourcing enables companies to outsource knowledge-related work including research and development, innovation, and creatives.

Location

Business process outsourcing typically operates from developing nations such as the Philippines, India, and Colombia. They typically have cheaper cost-of-living and bigger populations. Different locations offer different advantages.

Size of BPO

The bigger BPOs employ more than 250,000 people. They are huge, global operations. Medium-sized BPOs range from 500-5,000 staff and offer a full range of services. The smaller BPOs might have 1-500 people.

Functions of business process outsourcing

Collectively, business process outsourcing provides any kind of staffing solution. Common functions of BPO include:

Finance and accounting

Outsourced finance and accounting services help businesses manage their books, monitor cash flow, and keep up with corporate income tax compliances without fuss.

Healthcare

Healthcare outsourcing, meanwhile, organizes various back- and front-end functions done for the healthcare and insurance industries.

Creative and content

Creative services outsourcing covers everything from post-production of Hollywood movies to newspaper and website content.

Tech, IT and development

IT outsourcing involves delegating network management, web and app development, and cybersecurity protection to IT firms in different countries.

Sales & customer support

Some BPO providers specialize in sales and customer support for pre- and post-sales transactions. This helps companies meet the expectations and demands of their customers, keeping them satisfied even after their purchase.

Marketing

BPOs and marketing firms can help in ongoing marketing, communication and branding activities for their clients. This helps them attract more suitable leads in a cost-efficient way.

Talent and HR

Businesses can delegate HR, recruitment and compliance to professional employer organizations to maximize recruitment and workforce management.

Administration

Generalist BPOs help organizations accomplish general business administration and operational activities. This includes data entry, appointment setting, and other related functions.

Supply chain management

Lastly, e-commerce stores benefit from outsourcing supply chain management to manage warehouse and delivery processes.

Top BPO companies in the world’s top outsourcing hubs

A wide range of business process outsourcing companies in different parts of the world provide utmost services to their Western and local clients. Many of them even earned recognition by award-giving bodies due to their performance in both their roles and their level of care for the employees.

Check out the top BPO companies in several outsourcing destinations below.

Top BPO companies in the Philippines Top Indian BPO companies Top South African BPO companies Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services

With the rise of new offshore outsourcing locations, companies can have better options in terms of location and services they can delegate. However, finding a suitable BPO company can be a daunting task to be done on their own.

Good thing advisory services such as Outsource Accelerator is there to help them.

Outsource Accelerator is the most trusted source for independent information & advisory for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). We have over 5,000 articles, 350+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 2,500+ BPOs from different locations.

Outsource Accelerator's offerings make it easier for clients to learn about, and engage with, business process outsourcing companies worldwide.

Want to learn more about outsourcing? Check out the Inside Outsourcing book as well as the Inside Outsourcing book review today!

What is Agent Occupancy?

What is Agent Occupancy?

Agent occupancy means that the percentage of time spent on answering inbound calls by a call center agent is against the available or idle time. It can be measured by dividing the workload time by staff time. It is a statistic used to measure the efficiency of a call center agent.

The agent occupancy is sometimes confused with the utilization of agents. Both metrics have the same numerator but they have different denominators. The agent occupancy denominator is the cumulative time the speech, text, or chat agent logs into the framework, far different from agent utilization. Meanwhile, agent utilization indicates the overall time consumed by an agent through chat, voice, and email.

How to calculate the agent occupancy?

Agent occupancy is a standard and significant service desk indicator for monitoring and trends. This is because it gives an example of how active agents are when logging into the system. However, for the reasons outlined. The Occupancy Rate and the Service Level will inform you whether the personnel level is set correctly for any given period.

Here is the formula for agent occupancy rate:

Agent Occupancy Rate = Handle time (talk time + after call work time) / time signed into a queue.

What is Key Performance Indicator (KPI)?

Key Performance Indicator definition

A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a critical indicator of a company’s progress in reaching its objectives. It is used by different organizations at different levels to evaluate each process that contributes to the progress of the company and its overall performance.

Critical indicators are categorized into two categories: Quantitative and Qualitative.

Quantitative is based on numerical standards of a goal while qualitative refers to the quality based on physical feelings, tastes, or opinions. 

They are also measured into five types: Input, Process, Output, Outcome, and Project. Since this is an embodiment of a SMART goal, it measures its objectives and individual goals through the methodology and presents it in data form. 

Key Performance Indicator examples

Indicators may fall into different points of measurement: financial metrics, process metrics, customer metrics, and people metrics. For instance, assessment of net profit, cost of goods sold, and the tally of revenue vs. target falls on the financial metrics. 

For people metrics, there’s the average number of employee turnover, training and seminars held for employees, and the number of open positions every quarter. 

Process metrics, meanwhile, measure the number of processes it has for each role over the efficiency of these processes.

KPI by industry

Regardless of whether you call them indicators or measures, KPIs are the most crucial benchmarks for the performance of an organization or industry. Using and measuring the right KPI is a key step in your business’ road to success.

Determining what indicator you want to utilize is the hardest part of performance management. It can be financial, customer-focused, process-focused, and many more.

KPIs vary between different sectors. These industry-specific measures will enable you to analyze your data to know your performance and create concrete decisions for your company.

The BPO sector also has a set of KPIs followed. Supervisors monitor and measure the performance of its employees through the average number of calls in a day, the percentage of call drop rates, call handling time, transfer rate, and the average of issues the agent resolved since the first call.

Outsource Accelerator provides you with the best outsourcing companies in the Philippines, where you can save up to 70% on staffing costs. We have over 5,000 articles, 350+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 2500 BPOs… all designed to make it easier for clients to learn about, and engage with, outsourcing.

What is Internal Metrics?

Definition of Internal Metrics

Internal metrics are methods introduced and applied to measure the success of inbound or outbound call centers. Usually, a call center works in a pressured atmosphere where administrators need to handle tasks, including the timely response to every call while maintaining a high degree of customer support, and customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Internal metrics are evaluation indicators used for the assessment, comparison, and monitoring of results or output. Usually, companies use a group of metrics to create a dashboard that managers or consultants analyze daily to maintain performance reviews, perceptions, and business objectives.

Call center internal metrics 

Average Handle Time (AHT). AHT is the approximate length of the entire customer service transaction, from the time the customer initiates the call until the completion of the conversation.

Blocking Rate. Blockage Metric lets the staff track the number of calls that could not be addressed due to business constraints or infrastructure problems. 

Cost per Contact. The Cost per Contact KPI calculates how much each contact costs your call center, which is a vital part of the cost-benefit study at the same time.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT). Consumer Satisfaction (CSAT) is a sign of customer pleasure. CSAT is based on a brief survey that consumers fill out after a discussion.

Forecasted Calls vs. Actual Calls. It is a primary factor in deciding the actual amount of capital needed, calculated as a proportion of the difference between the number of calls predicted and the number of calls received.

Number of Calls Offered. It is the total number of calls sent to the call center, including abandoned calls or calls where the caller gets a busy signal.

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About OA

Outsource Accelerator is the trusted source of independent information, advisory and expert implementation of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

The #1 outsourcing authority

Outsource Accelerator offers the world’s leading aggregator marketplace for outsourcing. It specifically provides the conduit between world-leading outsourcing suppliers and the businesses – clients – across the globe.

The Outsource Accelerator website has over 5,000 articles, 350+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 3,000+ BPO companies… all designed to make it easier for clients to learn about – and engage with – outsourcing.

About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.