When planning to implement Talk, you'll want to consider how many Talk agents your support team requires. Each organization has its own set of support practices and will consequently have different staffing needs. To make things easier, we've outlined some issues you should consider when determining the number of agents required by your support team.
This article contains the following sections:
Calculating the number of agents
Deciding on the number of agents to staff can depend on your company size, the services you offer, and your consumers. To help determine your number of agents you can use the Erlang C online calculator. This calculator looks at the following issues to help estimate the number of agents required hourly.
|Erlang C calculator input||Description|
|Calls per hour||How many calls do you receive every hour?|
|Average handling time, s||How long is your average total call duration, including wrap-up time in seconds?|
|% of calls to be handled||What is the percentage of customers you would like served during your maximum wait time?|
|Waiting time||How long is your maximum allowed wait time?|
- Calls per hour: 30
- Average handling time: 300
- % of calls to be handled: 90
- Waiting time: 10
Based on this criteria, the company would need to schedule six agents for the hour.
Keep in mind the formula is only a guide and ignores things like breaks for your agents, multiple shifts, and other requirements.
Once you've settled on your staffing needs, keep monitoring your call volume to ensure it's the optimal number. Zendesk provides a range of reporting options to help you analyze your calls:
- If you are on the Talk team plan, you can view the Zendesk Talk Team dashboard (see Analyzing call activity with the Talk team dashboard)
- If you are on the Talk Professional or Enterprise plans, you can view the Zendesk Talk Professional dashboard (see Analyzing call activity with the Talk Professional dashboard).
- If you are using Zendesk Explore, you can create reports based on your Talk call data, and also use the pre-built reports on the Zendesk Talk dashboard (see Overview of the Zendesk Talk dashboard).
The next section helps you to identify additional factors to consider when determining your staff number.
Scheduling your agents
While the Erlang C calculator helps you estimate the number of agents you'll need, the final number depends on your organization, business objectives, and fluctuating factors such as seasons and days of the week.
Below are some general ideas to keep in mind. You should continue to check your call activity on your Talk dashboard, and in reports to monitor your increases and decreases in times.
When do you receive the most calls?
To get a better idea of the busiest times, you can look at your Talk dashboard. This can impact what days of the week you schedule more agents on and what time of the day. For example, customers use their lunch break to contact customer service, so you might need to adjust your agents' lunches to before or after the midday rush.
Are you supporting multiple timezones?
If you're a larger company with customers in multiple timezones, you might want to stagger agents to meet the real-world demands of your customers. While not everyone can provide 24/7 support, you might want to take staffing into consideration if you plan to provide support outside 9-5 hours.
What type of business are you?
Your business services can influence several different facts. For example, if you provide a complex product, your customers might require more personalized support. Agents might need to spend more time with customer, thus driving up the average call duration. To ensure customers don't have to wait too long to be served, you should consider adding more agents.
Additionally, depending on your business type, the different seasons might impact your call volume. For example, if you are a retailer, you'll find the holidays will cause a spike in customer service.
Are agents going to be supporting more than one channel?
If agents are going to be balancing time between channels, you will need to consider how much time agents will need in each channel and your most popular channels. You can measure these results by comparing your different reporting dashboards.
What is your Talk support goal?
As mentioned before in the Calculating the number of agents section above, an important factor in measuring the number of agents is the percentage of calls you would like agents to handle during your maximum wait time. You can use the Talk Professional agent activity report and the Talk Team agent activity report to see how many calls are being accepted by your agents.