Customer Experience

Updated On: Apr 1, 2024

Agent Utilization Rate: How to Calculate & Improve it

Reading-Time 10 Min

Agent Utilization Rate

Call centers are responsible for managing a high volume of customer interactions, making agent utilization rate a critical metric for performance.  

Unfortunately, according to a recent survey, the average agent utilization rate is just 48%. This means one-third of the agent’s time is unproductive, resulting in decreased efficiency and revenue loss. In the fast-paced world of call centers, optimal operational efficiency is critical, and one essential indicator that plays an important role is the agent utilization rate. 

This blog will explore the significance of agent utilization rate, strategies to improve it, and best practices for optimizing call center resources. By the end of the blog, call center managers will better understand how to achieve peak utilization rates and enhance overall performance. 

What is the Agent Utilization Rate?

Agent utilization rate refers to when an agent works on call-related tasks, such as attending calls, conducting research, and performing after-call work (ACW). It is determined as a percentage of the agent’s available work hours over a specific period. 

The statistic is an essential indicator of a call center’s operational effectiveness. High utilization rates indicate that agents use their time well, leading to greater productivity and income.  

Conversely, low utilization rates suggest that agents might be unproductive and idle, resulting in revenue loss and poor performance. As a result, reaching peak agent utilization rates is critical for call centers to optimize resources and improve overall performance. 

Why is Agent Utilization Rate so Important? 

With the ability to measure the amount of time an agent spends answering calls and attending to other call-related tasks, the agent utilization rate is essential for call center management and professionals to track and monitor an agent’s productivity level.  

An agent with a high agent utilization rate is making efficient use of their time, boosting output and improving client satisfaction. On the other hand, low utilization rates indicate that agents need to be more active and productive, which reduces income and results in subpar customer service. 

Achieving a high utilization rate in a call center is crucial as it ensures that it operates optimally. Customers can anticipate prompt answers to their questions, reduced wait times, and quicker call-handling services when there is a high utilization rate.  

A high utilization rate center guarantees optimal resource optimization by using fewer agents to manage more interactions and reduce wasteful spending. Call centers can improve customer experience by implementing focused methods to increase agent utilization rates and boost business performance. 


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What is the Difference Between Agent Utilization and Occupancy Rate? 

  • Occupancy Rate measures explicitly the time an agent spends directly interacting with customers or performing tasks immediately before or after a customer interaction. 
  • Agent utilization emphasizes agents’ efficiency in utilizing their time for tasks directly related to customer service. 
  • Agent utilization considers all productive tasks related to customer service, including calls, emails, and other activities. 
  • The occupancy rate is more narrowly focused on agents’ time actively handling calls or engaging in post-call work

How do we Calculate the Agent Utilization Rate? 

The entire productive time an agent spends answering calls and other associated tasks is divided by the total time the agent was available for work, then multiplied by 100 to determine the agent utilization rate

Agent Utilization rate = (Total time handling calls+doing work) / Total available time * 100 

For example, if an agent worked for 7 hours and spent 4.5 hours handling calls and performing other related work tasks within that period, the calculation would be (4.5 / 7) * 100, which gives a utilization rate of 64%. 

How to Increase the Agent Utilization Rate?

Increasing the agent utilization rate is essential for optimizing operational efficiency and maximizing resource utilization. But it should be done so keeping in mind the general performance and well-being of the agent.

The following are some salient ideas and recommendations to improve agent utilization: 

1. Balance with Agent Well-being 

While maximizing agent utilization is crucial, it’s equally important to prioritize agent well-being. A workforce free from burnout is more engaged and productive. Establish a supportive work atmosphere, encourage a good work-life balance, and use flexible scheduling.  

Ask agents for input on a regular basis to learn about their concerns and change as necessary. Acknowledge and honor outstanding work to raise spirits and promote a positive work environment. 

2. Implement Effective Workforce Management 

Managing the workforce effectively is crucial to maximizing agent utilization. Call center management needs to make use of sophisticated scheduling technologies to align agent abilities and availability with workloads. Data-driven planning and forecasting should take past trends and data into account.  

Review and modify personnel levels on a regular basis in response to shifting demand trends. Provide supervisors with the resources and instruction they need to lead teams efficiently and handle problems quickly. 

3. Provide Continuous Training and Skill Development 

Invest in ongoing training and skill development programs to keep agents updated with the latest industry trends and technologies. Provide them with the resources they need to tackle a variety of tasks and obstacles.  

A skilled labor force is not only more productive but also more flexible in response to shifting needs. Establish a culture of learning that motivates agents to gain new skills and hone their current ones, which will boost output and improve job satisfaction in general. 

4. Implement Automation for Routine Tasks 

Use automation technologies to manage repetitive and monotonous operations so that agents can concentrate on more intricate and valuable duties. Determine which procedures can be automated without compromising the quality of the services.  

The workload on agents can be greatly decreased by implementing bots, AI, and robotic process automation. This increases overall efficiency and frees up time for higher-value interactions. Chatbots with a robust knowledge base can help automate repeated queries.

5. Track and Examine Metrics 

Provide a comprehensive structure for monitoring and evaluating performance indicators. Keep a close eye on important metrics, including agent productivity, customer satisfaction rate, and call resolution times. Make use of these insights to pinpoint areas that need work as well as trends and strengths.  

Organizations can make well-informed decisions, streamline processes, and continuously improve the general effectiveness of their customer service operations by implementing a data-driven approach. 


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6. Make Clear Communication Channels 

Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful utilization. Create effective and transparent channels of communication throughout the company. Make certain that all agents have easy access to information about assignments, deadlines, and updates. Research says 76% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments. This is why omnichannel customer service is important.

Encourage an atmosphere where agents are at ease in disclosing their thoughts and worries. Effective communication fosters teamwork, minimizes misinterpretations, and results in a more unified and efficient labor force.

Review and improve communication procedures often to keep up with evolving needs and technological advancements. 

Improve Agent Utilization Rate with Knowmax 

Knowmax, a CX-first knowledge management system (KMS), significantly boosts agent utilization by ensuring agents can instantly access accurate information. Knowmax improves agent productivity by expediting the retrieval of knowledge, which shortens the time it takes to resolve client inquiries.  

Its user-friendly platform makes training quick and easy, enabling agents to manage a variety of duties effectively. Knowmax optimizes workflows with real-time updates and insights, which raises utilization rates.

Because of its specialized approach to CX-centric knowledge management, Knowmax is essential for improving agent effectiveness and general customer happiness. 

Yatharth Jain


Yatharth has over 8 years of experience in CX, KM, and BPM. He founded Knowmax to make knowledge a genuine superpower for CX teams. He blends his experience working with CX and KM leaders across industries with the latest technology trends to build products people love.

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