4 Call Center Staffing Model Examples

call center staffing models

The success of your call center hinges on having the right staff to provide exceptional service to every customer who interacts with your business. Not only do you need to ensure that you have the right number of agents in the call center each day, but you must also make sure those agents are well-equipped to answer customers’ questions and solve their product issues.

One of the best ways to improve staffing at your call center is to begin with a proven framework that’s worked successfully for many others.

If you’re ready to streamline your staffing, this guide will discuss the pros and cons of four popular call center staffing models and give you the strategies you need to determine which one is right for you.

Why Good Staffing Matters for Your Call Center

Call center staffing is crucial to your bottom line.

If you hire too many agents without enough call volume, you’ll be wasting your money paying your employees to sit around without enough work to do. Conversely, you could risk overworking your staff and agitating your customers with long wait times if you don’t have enough employees.

When you have a good model in place, you can save money, avoid overwhelming your agents, and position yourself well in your customers’ eyes.

The 4 Most Common Call Center Staffing Models

Staffing a call center isn’t as simple as setting up phone lines, hiring agents, and waiting for customers to call for help. It requires careful thought and planning, which often comes with serious questions.

How many agents should you hire? Is it best to hire in-house or outsource those duties? What do customers expect when they contact a customer service agent? 

This is where learning about different staffing models can help. Read on to learn about your options for call center staffing and the pros and cons associated with each.

1. In-House

An in-house call center staffing model is one where you take the reins of the entire operation, including hiring, managing your team’s performance, and purchasing and deploying infrastructure and hardware. This is the most straightforward option and one that businesses of all sizes opt for.

The benefits of having an in-house team are that you maintain control at every turn, enjoy a direct line of communication with all agents, and oversee data privacy and security.

That said, it’s important to note that this model requires a sizable investment for hiring, training, and infrastructure costs, making it challenging to scale and a potential drain on resources.

2. Remote

A remote model is similar to an in-house model, only your agents work from the comfort of their homes or another location of their choosing rather than in an office space.

This model makes attracting talent to your organization a breeze, as many people prefer to work from home these days. It also helps you save on office space and makes it easier to provide around-the-clock coverage due to agents living in different time zones.

Even so, it’s important to note that you must invest in remote-accessible technology and ensure airtight data security practices. Moreover, you may find managing a remote team more challenging than an in-house workforce.

3. Outsourced

Outsourcing is a staffing model that involves partnering with an external call center service provider who hires, trains, manages, and pays agents on your behalf. You may opt for a dedicated team, where agents exclusively serve your customers, or a shared one.

There are three possible types of outsourcing:

  • Offshoring: Hiring a team in a country far away from your own
  • Nearshoring: Using a provider in a nearby country
  • Onshoring: Working with a team in the same country

Many business owners use outsourcing because it can be more cost-effective than hiring your own team. It’s also easier to scale and allows teams to focus on other important business projects. However, business owners must be prepared to relinquish control over the day-to-day operations to make outsourcing work.

4. Hybrid

A hybrid model has less to do with where your agents are located and more with balancing a mix of live agents and automation tools. Many call center managers have realized that some customer issues can be resolved quickly through high-technology self-service options like chatbots or automated telephone prompts.

While a hybrid staffing model may feel impersonal to some, it can help call centers use their resources more wisely by hiring fewer agents. It can also enable the existing workforce to be more productive and efficient by saving time and energy for more complex customer service issues.

Strategies for Finding the Right Model

The best call center staffing model for your operation will depend on several factors. Some questions you should be asking yourself include:

  • Are volumes too high for us to handle in-house? Are they high enough to consider outsourcing?
  • Do our agents need to reside in the same city or country?
  • Do we have the budget to hire in-house or invest in infrastructure?
  • Do we have the space and technology needed for a call center?
  • How long will it take to get a call center up and running on our own?
  • Do we need access to highly specialized agents? Do we already have that talent in-house?
  • Do we need to adjust the size of our workforce seasonally?

Answering these questions will help you determine which call center staffing option is most practical for your needs and budget.

How to Calculate Staffing for Call Centers

Knowing how many agents you need is critical to choosing the right call center staffing model. Forecasting your staffing needs starts with collecting and analyzing accurate call data.

At the very least, you’ll want to know your call volume, average handling time for each call, and your service level (percentage of calls answered within a specified time frame). It’s also helpful to know the following:

  • Occupancy Rate: Percentage of time agents spend answering calls
  • Shrinkage: Percentage of time agents are unavailable due to things like meetings, sick days, and professional development
  • Average Time to Abandon: How long a caller will wait in the queue before hanging up

Once you’ve collected this data, put it into an online Erlang Calculator, a tool designed to calculate the number of agents an organization needs to maintain adequate staffing. Use the number you get to decide whether you should hire in-house, outsource your customer service, or use a remote or hybrid model.

Understanding Your Staffing Needs Is Key to Your Success 

A thorough understanding of your staffing needs is key to meeting business goals and offering the service your customers need and deserve.

Since most customers make repeat purchases when they experience great service, maintaining adequate, well-trained customer service staff that can resolve issues quickly and efficiently can help businesses increase their bottom line.

Although it may take you some time to find the staffing model that works best for you, the effort you put in will be well worth it. Use some of the methods you’ve learned in this guide, and don’t hesitate to speak with a call center staffing expert to help you navigate this process.

Once you get it right, you’ll be able to streamline your operations, cost-effectively provide service, and take both your level of service and your business to new heights.

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