Q

# How to increase call center staffing with Erlang C calculator

## Expert Lori Bocklund explains the best way call center management can calculate call volume and help with the need to increase call center staffing with Erlang C.

I supervise a call center of seven agents for a credit union. We are in the midst of an upgrade to our core processor...

and are being told to expect an increase in call volumes by 300 percent for the first couple of weeks after we go live.  I've created a staffing model using an online Erlang C calculator. However, management is not familiar with this formula and does not think it is accurate.  They are suggesting that I use "hours of work that need to be supported in a 30-minute increment." I'm not familiar with this formula. I used what was provided and its results are double what Erlang C provided.  For example, our highest volume hour (at 300 percent increase) is 257 calls. Erlang C calculated a need for 17 agents. However, the "hours of work" formula states I need 34 agents.  Can you provide any feedback on either of the formulas? Or perhaps suggest a better solution for a small call center that temporarily needs to increase call center staffing.

Erlang is important to use in call center staffing because it factors in “random call arrival” patterns, whereas straight workload calculations are linear and do not. You should use Erlang C calculations, along with appropriate considerations of shrinkage. We also advocate educating call center management on the concepts of the Erlang formula, which is easy to do using a calculator. Show them some examples using the calculator with different volumes (e.g., your current peak hour volume and the 300 percent increase). And if they want to understand more about the concepts, buy them a copy of the book “Call Center Management of Fast Forward” by Brad Cleveland (available on Amazon or from ICMI).

A 300 percent volume increase should not drive a nearly 500 percent staff increase (from your current seven agents to the projected 35 agents using the “hours of work” formula your management is suggesting). In fact, because call centers that handle a greater volume and have more staff are inherently more efficient, you should be able to handle the 300 percent volume increase with less than a 300 percent increase in staff, which is what your Erlang models are showing you (increasing to 17 agents from seven being about a 242 percent increase).

You haven’t mentioned any impact on your handle time due to the system change. If you expect handle time to go up as well, make sure your calculations take that into account.

It is important to remember when you are using a calculator that the calculator is totally dependent upon accurate information. If your calculator allows you to input shrinkage factors (absenteeism, breaks and lunches, etc.) make sure they are as accurate as possible. If it does not allow you to do that, then make sure you add it to your end requirement. Example: If the calculator says you need 10 people with no shrinkage factor and your total staff shrinkage factor is 25 percent, then you need to add 2.5 full-time employees (10*1.25=12.5) with shrinkage.

This was first published in October 2009

## Content

Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.

#### Have a question for an expert?

Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.

You will be able to add details on the next page.

Oldest

• ### SQL engines boost Hadoop query processing for big data users

Organizations with big data environments are turning to SQL-on-Hadoop software to speed up analytical queries and data ...

• ### Reality check needed to assess AI applications

When assessing the reality behind today's AI technology, businesses need to think about how it can perform in specific tasks ...

When it comes to building a data science team, businesses should expect to find workers from a variety of backgrounds rather than...

## SearchDataManagement

• ### Four factors for comparing the top Hadoop distributions

By examining the key characteristics presented here -- along with the top Hadoop distributions -- you can determine which ...

• ### Big data challenges traditional data modeling techniques

Surging big data is changing data modeling techniques, including schema creation. The word from Enterprise Data World 2016: Data...

• ### EBay helps drive new style of data engineering

Open source data engineering has become a way of life at e-commerce leader eBay, says the company's Debashis Saha. Kylin is one ...

## SearchSAP

• ### Integrate cloud to on-premises with HANA Cloud Integration

SAP offers a raft of prebuilt integrations that handle many of the key business processes between major cloud and on-premises ...

• ### Courtroom lessons from a failed SAP ERP implementation

A consulting firm's expert witness explains what SAP and a global manufacturer did -- and didn't do -- that led to a major SAP ...

• ### Building data visualization with SAP Fiori tools

Some BI developers will get by fine with features such as the Fiori Launchpad and Overview pages. Here's what's built into Fiori ...

## SearchOracle

• ### ECCU shares ups, downs of Oracle Fusion Financials migration

Moving to Oracle Fusion Financials has been a mixed blessing for the Evangelical Christian Credit Union. It saved money, but had ...

• ### Oracle Enterprise Manager 13c gives DBAs new cloud tools

The latest version of Oracle Enterprise Manager is designed to make life easier for DBAs working in the cloud. Oracle Enterprise ...

• ### Oracle Collaborate conference generates buzz in Las Vegas

The Oracle database and applications forum, presented by three independent user groups, combines hands-on experiences, networking...

## SearchAWS

• ### AWS, partners' balancing act weighs on users, too

AWS partners are a critical part of the growing ecosystem, but the choice between third-party services and the waiting game for ...

• ### Words to go: AWS data storage

If you're confused about which data storage option is ideal for your enterprise, refer to our reference sheet on AWS tools and ...

• ### Using AWS CloudFormation templates to deploy IAC

CloudFormation templates help IT teams quickly and safely update AWS-based applications. The time saved on the back end could ...

## SearchContentManagement

• ### E-signature application saves insurer time and money

Insurance company Unum has experienced a dramatic reduction in document-processing time throughout the company since adopting ...

• ### Slack kicks up dust in collaboration software tool market

Slack is taking aim at traditional communication tools like instant messenger and email. But its integration with other services ...

• ### Office 365 services present confusing overlaps

Office 365 services, including SharePoint, OneDrive, offer overlapping capabilities. Things can get confusing for prospective ...

Close