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How to calculate staffing needs for a new call center

I need to calculate staffing needs for our new call center. If I know the precise number of customers we have, is there a formula I can use to determine our initial staffing needs? The models I've seen require that you know the call volume, and I won't know that until the call center is up and running.

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Unfortunately, there is no formula or rule of thumb to relate customers to staffing.

The key factors to consider are:

  • How often customers will call
  • What they will call about
  • How long the calls will be
  • What wrap-up is required
  • Your target service level
  • How much time will be spent on other tasks – either work related or non-work related

    The number of times customers contact a company -- call volume -- and the nature of those contacts can vary tremendously. The other factors noted are a function of your business strategy, operational strategy and contact types. Taking all of this into consideration, the ratio of customers to staff is a "custom" calculation for each company. The best approach is to create a model, make assumptions and review those assumptions with people who have some insights on the products or services you are offering and what types of contacts you will create. You may be able to benchmark with others in your industry, but take that with a grain of salt, as the assumptions and inputs can vary significantly.

  • This was first published in November 2007

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