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Calculating the call center agent seat utilization ratio

What is the ideal seat utilization ratio for the call center industry? I read somewhere that the figure should be 1.3. Can you provide the calculation for this metric?

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Seat utilization (or sharing ratio) generally refers to the ratio of call center employees (agents) to seats in the center. The general calculation is the number of representatives divided by the number of available seats. For example, a 200-seat call center with 350 call center agents would have a seat ratio of 1.75 -- there are 1.75 agents for every seat.

There is no ideal ratio for all call centers. Seat ratio is a cultural and financial decision, and the opportunity is different for a center with extended versus limited hours and shifts or part-time versus full-time staff. The opportunity also depends on the nature of the operation and the technology in place -- desk sharing is easier in paperless environments.

When deciding upon the appropriate seat utilization ratio for your center, keep in mind that employee satisfaction and comfort could impact your turnover, productivity and even customer experience.

This was first published in July 2007

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