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Call center terms and definitions -- utilization, attrition, occupancy, shrinkage

Lori Bocklund reviews common call center terms including attrition, utilization, occupancy, shrinkage in this expert tip.

What does annualized attrition mean in reference to the call center? Can you tell me the difference between occupancy

and utilization for the call center? How do we calculate leakage/shrinkage?

Annualized attrition is generally referred to as turnover – the percent of call center staff lost that year. Some companies will define positive or internal attrition separate from other attrition to show the results of promotions within the company versus those who quit or are fired.

Occupancy and utilization are two call center terms that are used interchangeably in the industry. Both reveal the percent of time call center agents are on calls or in wrap-up (basically, doing call-related work).

Shrinkage is a measure of how much time is lost to things like vacation, breaks, lunch, holidays, sick time, and training. So you calculate it by first defining what you need to include, and then defining how much time is needed for these things. It is often expressed as a percentage, but can also be a factor applied to the number of staff needed active on phones to reflect the number you need to schedule (e.g., 1.3)

This was first published in November 2006

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