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What's the best ratio of employees to supervisor in the call center?

Is there a standard supervisor/call center agent ratio for a large call center? If not, what would you recommend?

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There is no standard ratio, but I would say it is typical to see 15-20 call center agents per supervisor in a large call center. We have seen much higher numbers in some circumstances with temps or part-time staff, and it is very hard on the supervisors because they can't provide much coaching time for call center agents. Call centers that are extremely focused on the customer and staff development may have lower numbers, but of course that incurs additional costs. In a recent modeling effort where my consultancy, Strategic Contact, considered various call centers we've seen and a variety of industry data from benchmarking studies, we used 1:17 as our ratio for a large call center.

This was first published in April 2008

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