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Top 10 Reasons to Consider Shrinkage in Resource Planning

Shrinkage is a crucial factor to consider when developing a capacity plan for a contact center.

What is Shrinkage?

Shrinkage refers to the amount of time that agents are not available to handle customer calls (i.e., non-productive time), even though they are scheduled or paid to be at work. It accounts for various factors that can reduce an agent's actual productive work time.

It is important to factor shrinkage into your resource planning for several reasons:

1. Accurate Staffing

Shrinkage accounts for the time that employees are not available to handle customer interactions. By factoring in shrinkage, you can ensure that you have enough staff to cover the anticipated workload, reducing the risk of understaffing or overstaffing. This helps maintain service levels and customer satisfaction.

2. Cost Efficiency

Overstaffing leads to higher labor costs, while understaffing can result in poor service quality and customer dissatisfaction. By considering shrinkage, you can optimize staffing levels, which can reduce costs while maintaining service quality.

3. Improved Forecasting

Shrinkage includes planned and unplanned time off, such as vacations, training, meetings, and breaks. Incorporating these elements into your resource plan allows for more accurate forecasting of staffing requirements, which is crucial for meeting service level agreements (SLAs).

4. Employee Morale

Overworking agents without accounting for their breaks or personal time can lead to burnout and decreased employee morale. A resource plan that considers shrinkage helps ensure that agents have time for breaks and personal activities, which, in turn, can boost morale and retention.

5. Compliance and Regulation

Labor laws and regulations often require that employees receive certain breaks and rest periods. Ignoring shrinkage could result in violations of labor laws, which can lead to legal issues and fines.

6. Optimized Service Levels

Shrinkage planning allows you to align your staffing with expected demand patterns. This helps in maintaining consistent service levels, reducing customer wait times, and enhancing the customer experience.

7. Risk Mitigation

Shrinkage planning allows you to prepare for unforeseen events that can affect staffing levels, such as sickness, emergency leaves, or unexpected spikes in call volume. By including a buffer for shrinkage, you can mitigate the risks associated with these variables.

8. Resource Allocation

Considering shrinkage helps you allocate resources efficiently, directing staff to training sessions, meetings, and breaks at times when call volume is expected to be lower. This maximizes resource utilization.

9. KPI Management

Shrinkage can affect key performance indicators (KPIs) like Average Handle Time (AHT) and Service Level (SL). Factoring in shrinkage ensures that you can set realistic targets and measure performance accurately.

10. Data-Driven Decisions

Shrinkage data, when tracked and analyzed, provides valuable insights into agent productivity, scheduling effectiveness, and resource allocation. It helps in making data-driven decisions for process improvement and efficiency.

In conclusion, considering shrinkage when developing a resource plan is essential for effective call center management.

It ensures not only that you have the right number of agents available to handle customer interactions, but it will also balance operational efficiency with employee well-being, and help you meet your service level objectives.


Cinareo can help you understand your specific shrinkage factors and use them as input into the capacity planning process.

Cinareo complements any WFM platform and sets a new standard for strategic and tactical capacity planning and decision support for multi-channel contact center environments.


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