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Glossary

What is call center shrinkage?

Call center shrinkage in BPO is a metric for workforce management that refers to the length of time that agents are paid yet unavailable to handle customer calls. Well, there are two types of shrinkage. The first one is planned shrinkage, where the agents are scheduled for staff meetings and training. Whereas the second one is unplanned shrinkage, where the agent calls in sick or leaves on vacation.

What are the Factors that Cause Call Center Shrinkage?

Well, there are the following two elements that are considered when call center shrinkage calculates:

Internal Shrinkage:

  • One-to-one and team meetings

  • Training and coaching

  • System failure or downtime

  • The special project works

  • Helping another department

  • Unscheduled breaks

External Shrinkage:

  • Vacations and holidays

  • Coming to the office late

  • Sick leaves

  • Unplanned absence

  • Leaving early from the office

How Can We Calculate Call Center Shrinkage?

There are two ways that can use to calculate the call center shrinkage value. The first one is through the number of hours and the second one is the number of call center employees. So, let’s have a look at them!

Through the number of agents

Percentage of Shrinkage = Numbers of agents that need to take calls/Number of agents that are available to take calls

Through the number of hours:

Percentage of Shrinkage = (Total hours including internal and external shrinkage/total available hours)*100

How to Reduce Call Center Shrinkage?

In this era, manually tracking call center shrinkage or using contact center software can help determine when and where shrinkage happens during the day or during a procedure. You can find the highest percentage of shrinkage during the morning and afternoon hours. Besides, one-on-one sessions also cause call center shrinkage.

The call center shrinkage might change based on the weather, which can assist you in correctly designing the office space and features. For example, in the winter, agents may want to spend more time outside in the sun and extend their breaks. Additionally, there may also be certain sections or teams within the call center that experience the most shrinkage, or those employees that take advantage of the situation. Therefore, analyzing this data can provide important information about a person's job dedication and the work environment within a team.

Hence, call center management can effectively assure that agents strictly follow the schedule by discovering how shrinkage occurs in the first place.


Beyond the manual managing of call center shrinkage, businesses can employ technology to handle the shrinkage. Here are some solutions that will help you to manage call center shrinkage:

  • Workforce management software (WFM) may help automate the whole forecasting process, resulting in more accuracy than old spreadsheet methods. Additionally, this software can also aid in the scheduling of agents, allowing them to create their schedules within a set of parameters set by management.

  • Today, call center software also gives agents the option to set their availability to 'Break.' So, you may efficiently automate the tracking of this interval using advanced call center performance tracking methods.

  • By monitoring worker performance, system-level call center solutions eliminate shrinkage and bring down different inefficiencies as well.

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