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Cinareo User Guide

Your guide to capacity planning and financial analysis

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Step 2 of 10: Work Volume

Work Volume

Enter the work volume forecast by month for each queue.

Service Level or Productivity

Cinareo uses a modified Erlang algorithm to calculate the number of required agents based on the service level, weighted AHT and volume of calls for non-deferrable work types. As the traditional Erlang C is the gold standard approach to determining staffing requirements, there are several key issues that planners must take into consideration when using the formula:

A. The Erlang Model may overestimate the required number of agents.

Erlang calculations assume that there are no lost or abandoned calls and that there is no blockage (i.e., the customer never hears a fast busy tone). If the total number of forecasted calls, including those that abandon, are input into the Erlang C formula, it tends to overestimate the number of agents required and underestimate the service level that will be achieved. Many contact centres use this overestimate as a buffer for seasonal trends and ad hoc spikes in volume. It is important for planners to check the historical abandonment rate to find the size of the problem before deciding on the best demand volume to use in the model.

B. You will need to deduct calls which abandon after a short delay.

Calls that abandon after a short delay of less than 10 seconds are often the result of wrong numbers and other invalid calls. To account for such ‘short abandons’, they should be deducted from the forecasted call demand when calculating staffing requirements.

C. Erlang C is not for use with non-abandoning contacts.

Erlang C was originally designed to handle inbound calls only. It was not designed to calculate staffing for deferable, non-abandoning contacts such as emails, back-office case work, and letter mail. Erlang can be applied to contacts that have similar attributes as calls, such as webchat or in-person counter service.

D. Productivity in place of Service Level for Deferrable contacts

Staffing requirements for deferable type work will be close to the workload hours as the work activities are sequential as in the case of E-Mail, Letter Mail, and Case Management where there are extended service level objectives measured in hours or days rather than in seconds or minutes. As a result, it is standard practice to use a productivity factor (see Table 1) that approximates the amount of idle or non-productive time per hour that you expect from your agents. Note, this factor is over and above any shrinkage factors (e.g., break time) used in Step 5. For example, if you expect agents to be occupied 51 minutes per hour, then a productivity of 85% should be input into the Productivity field.

Table 1: Productivity and Productive Minutes per Hour


Productive Minutes per Hour





















E. Chat Concurrency

When working with a chat queue, Cinareo will ask you to enter a chat concurrency factor. The chat concurrency calculation will affect the number of chats that an agent can handle each hour based on the forecasted chat handle time, and as a result, modify the number of required agents to handle the chat workload. If agents are only tasked with handling one chat at a time, enter 1. If there is an expectation of two or more concurrent chats, enter the value (X.X).

F. Work Arrival Pattern (optional)

Work arrival patterns indicate the percentage volume of weekly work that is forecasted to be received by day of week and interval (15, 30 or 60 minutes) of the day. Using the Work Arrival Pattern improves the accuracy of the production hours and staffing requirements for each queue/skill.

Enter the open and close time for each day of the week.

Enter the daily volume of work forecasted to arrive by day as a percentage of the total weekly volume. The total percentage of weekly volume must add up to 100%.

Enter the interval-level volume of work forecasted to arrive as a percentage of total daily volume. The total percentage of daily volume must add up to 100%.

Click “Save” to lock in the data entries.

Click “Next” to go to the next step.

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