How to Calculate Shrinkage in Call Centers: A Comprehensive Guide


Greetings fellow call center managers and analysts! In the world of call centers, shrinkage is a critical metric that measures the percentage of time that agents are not available to take calls. Calculating shrinkage is essential because it directly impacts the efficiency of your call center and ultimately, your bottom line. In this article, we will guide you through the process of calculating shrinkage in detail. So, whether you’re new to the call center industry or an experienced manager, this guide will equip you with the necessary knowledge to keep your call center running smoothly.

The Importance of Shrinkage in Call Centers

Let’s take a moment to understand why calculating shrinkage is so crucial for call centers. Shrinkage is a measure of the time that agents are not available to take calls. It includes time spent on breaks, training, meetings, and other non-call-related tasks. In short, shrinkage directly affects the ability of your call center to handle incoming calls. Knowing how to calculate shrinkage is critical for managing your workforce and optimizing your staffing levels.

What You’ll Need

Before we dive into the calculations, let’s make sure you have everything you need. These are the basic tools that you’ll need to calculate shrinkage:

Tool Description
Call Logs A record of all incoming and outgoing calls in the call center
Schedule A schedule of all agents and their shifts
Attendance Records A record of all agent attendance, including breaks and time off

How to Calculate Shrinkage

Step 1: Determine Total Available Time

The first step in calculating shrinkage is to determine the total available time that agents have for taking calls. This is the total amount of time that agents are scheduled to work, minus any planned breaks or meetings. To calculate total available time, use the following formula:

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Total Available Time = Scheduled Hours โ€“ Planned Breaks โ€“ Meetings

Let’s say your call center is open for 8 hours a day, and each agent works an 8-hour shift with a 30-minute lunch break. If there are no planned meetings, the total available time for each agent would be:

Total Available Time = 8 hours โ€“ 30 minutes = 7.5 hours

Step 2: Determine Total Logged-in Time

The next step is to determine the total amount of time that agents are logged in and available to take calls. This includes time spent on calls, time spent in after-call work, and any other call-related activities. To calculate total logged-in time, use the following formula:

Total Logged-in Time = Total Time Logged in by Agents

Let’s say that during that 7.5 hour shift, an agent logged in for 6 hours and 15 minutes. That means the total logged-in time for that agent would be:

Total Logged-in Time = 6 hours 15 minutes

Step 3: Determine Non-Productive Time

The next step is to determine the non-productive time that agents spend on activities that are not directly related to taking calls. This includes time spent on breaks, training, meetings, and any other non-call-related activities. To calculate non-productive time, use the following formula:

Non-Productive Time = Scheduled Non-Productive Time โ€“ Actual Non-Productive Time

Scheduled non-productive time is the time that agents are scheduled to spend on non-call-related activities, such as lunch breaks, training sessions, and meetings. Actual non-productive time is the time that agents actually spend on these activities. Let’s say that an agent is scheduled to take a 30-minute lunch break and attend a 1-hour training session, but they only take a 15-minute break and the training session is canceled. The non-productive time for that agent would be:

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Non-Productive Time = (30 minutes + 1 hour) โ€“ (15 minutes)

Step 4: Calculate Shrinkage

Finally, we can now calculate shrinkage. Shrinkage is the percentage of total available time that agents are not available to take calls. To calculate shrinkage, use the following formula:

Shrinkage = Non-Productive Time รท Total Available Time ร— 100%

Let’s say that the non-productive time for that agent was 1 hour and 15 minutes, and the total available time was 7.5 hours. The shrinkage for that agent would be:

Shrinkage = (1 hour 15 minutes) รท (7.5 hours) ร— 100% = 16.67%


What is a good shrinkage percentage for a call center?

A good shrinkage percentage for a call center depends on many factors, including the size of the call center, the types of calls being handled, and the staffing levels. In general, a shrinkage percentage of 20-30% is considered acceptable. However, if your shrinkage percentage is consistently higher than this, it may be an indication that you need to optimize your workforce and staffing levels.

How can I reduce shrinkage in my call center?

There are several strategies for reducing shrinkage in your call center, including:

  • Implementing call center scheduling software
  • Providing clear expectations and guidelines for breaks and activities
  • Incentivizing agents to maintain high levels of attendance
  • Offering ongoing training and development opportunities to improve agent skills

Can I calculate shrinkage for individual agents?

Yes, you can calculate shrinkage for individual agents using the same formula outlined in this guide, but with individual agent data rather than aggregate data for the whole center.


We hope that this guide has provided you with a comprehensive understanding of how to calculate shrinkage in your call center. Remember that shrinkage is critical for optimizing your workforce and ensuring that your call center runs smoothly. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to accurately calculate shrinkage and make informed staffing decisions. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different strategies for reducing shrinkage, and always be on the lookout for ways to improve the efficiency of your call center.

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Take Action Now

If you haven’t already, start tracking your call center’s shrinkage today. Use the formulas and tools outlined in this guide to calculate your shrinkage, and analyze the results to identify areas for improvement. By proactively managing your shrinkage, you can optimize your workforce and improve the overall efficiency of your call center.

Closing Statement with Disclaimer

Calculating shrinkage is an essential part of managing a successful call center, but it’s important to remember that shrinkage is just one metric among many. Always keep in mind the larger goals of your call center, including providing excellent customer service and maximizing revenue. Remember that the strategies and formulas outlined in this guide are just examples, and may not be suitable for all call centers. Always consult with your team and analyze your unique data to make informed decisions about staffing and optimization.