How to Improve Call Center Agent Productivity

Call Center | 4 minute read

High call center agent productivity is every call center manager’s dream. Not only does it lead to higher profits and lowered costs, it also results in better employee engagement and improved customer experiences.

So many factors damper agent productivity, like high call volumes and staff turnover, both of which are only too common in the call center industry. As managers, you need to be aware of your agents’ performance to ensure a good customer experience. And, agent performance is linked to agent productivity.

Important metrics and KPIs for measuring agent productivity.

As a call center, you have many metrics and KPIs available to measure agent productivity. Here are a few:

Call abandonment rate.

Call abandonment occurs when a customer hangs up before an agent answers the phone. For example, if 20 calls to a contact center out of 200 are hang-ups, the abandonment rate is 10%. Call abandonment often occurs because customers become frustrated with long wait times. If we’re honest, most customers don’t like waiting, period.

While Voice Call-Backs help lower abandonment rates, they can’t address issues within specific agents. If you notice your call abandonment rate is higher than usual, talk to your agents. Find out what’s stopping them from reaching customers promptly.

Average Handle Time (AHT).

Average handle time is the average amount of time it takes an agent to wrap up a phone call or live chat. Lower average handle times usually mean higher productivity. But, AHT isn’t enough on it’s own. When evaluating average handle time, it’s important to compare it with customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.

Cost per call.

Cost per call is a great agent productivity metric that shows the direct cost associated with each call your center receives. To calculate cost per call or contact, use this calculation:

Cost per contact = monthly operating costs/ (# of contacts or interactions per month- abandoned calls)

Tips and best practices for improving agent productivity.

Metrics are important in identifying performance and operational issues. After looking at the data, act on it. Here are some tips to improve agent productivity:

Offer autonomy.

Your agents play a critical role in ensuring customer loyalty and satisfaction. As the first face or voice of your company, your agents are a customer’s first impression of your company. Your agents’ performance dictates a customer’s likelihood of promoting your brand to others.

Don’t micromanage your agents, especially if their performance is generally strong. Empower agents by offering them autonomy through self-assessment and analysis, self-service tools, and by sharing historical data with them. This information helps agents take more pride in their work and feel more in control of their results.

Give positive and constructive feedback.

Create a culture in your call center where both managers and agents feel empowered to offer feedback. Give positive feedback to your agents in public, and offer constructive critiques in private. Offering valuable feedback improves call center agent productivity.

Invest in your agents.

Make use of centralized knowledge bases and provide easily accessible resources for agents to study on their own. Online content is becoming increasingly popular and effective for knowledge transfer within call centers. Invest in ongoing training for call center agents and make time for one-on-one coaching. Create learning opportunities for your agents to improve.

Offer career growth opportunities.

Call center agents don’t have dead-end jobs, no matter how badly the media portrays our industry. We know that call center agents have opportunities for lateral switches to different departments, as well as promotion potential. But, it’s management’s job to make sure their agents are aware of those opportunities. Promote new roles like supervisors and managers for your agents. Opportunities for career growth improves call center agent engagement and agent productivity.

Offer flexible scheduling.

A post-COVID-19 work era will likely involve hybrid models of remote work. This is especially true for call centers, where 60-80% of agents switched to a work-from-home model. Working from home might appear flexible enough, but it isn’t always. Talk to your agents to know their specific scheduling needs. Additionally, engaging a remote team is vital in improving call center agent productivity.


Call center agents have difficult jobs. With high call volumes, impatient customers, and learning curves with new technology, it’s easy for agent productivity to fall sometimes. Use metrics to assess your agents’ performance and productivity and proactively address that data as soon as possible.

Fonolo’s call monitoring helps you assess call quality, and Voice Call-Backs lower abandonment rate and call handle time. Technology is a great tool to improve agent productivity, but a human touch is always necessary. Engage your agents, invest in their careers, offer them autonomy in their day-to-day work for optimal results.

Fonolo Resource cover image

A Guide to Contact Center Agent Engagement


A Guide to Contact Center Agent Engagement

Fonolo Resource cover image
Fonolo Resource cover image

A Guide to Contact Center Agent Engagement


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