Shrinkage….in the contact center, not on Seinfeld!

I recently gave a presentation on how to measure and manage contact center shrinkage and it quickly became clear to me that not everyone understood what I meant by shrinkage.  Most contact center operations folks understand the meaning but a few people thought I was going to be speaking about the Seinfeld version of shrinkage and were intrigued by how this could be a workforce management topic.  For those who don’t know the Seinfeld reference, forgive me.  At any rate, I thought it would be a good idea to blog on the PG-rated version of Shrinkage.

Shrinkage is a critical piece of the workforce management (WFM) process and knowing how to measure and manage it is vital to the success of the contact center.  Shrinkage is comprised of the “unproductive” time that literally “shrinks” the time that agents are available to serve customers.  This unproductive time can include things like breaks, coaching, training, meetings and any offline activity the removes the agent from production. 

The more shrinkage you have, the greater the percentage of unproductive staff making it more likely that you will impact overall results since less agents are available to serve customers.  Left unchecked, shrinkage will negatively affect service levels and the overall contact center budget.  Measuring total shrinkage is good but to manage with it, you need to drill down into the details of the various types of shrinkage (i.e. planned vs. unplanned, paid vs. unpaid, etc.) before you can truly assess the impact it is having on your business and better plan for it on a regular basis. 

This past year, I wrote a Practical Guide to measuring and managing shrinkage which is available on our website in the Interactive Resource Center if you need more detail around how to measure it and manage with it as a culture. 

I’d love to hear from some of you.  How many of you are already actively measuring and managing your contact center shrinkage?  How much shrinkage do you normally have and how much of it is unplanned? 

Troy Plott