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  • Writer's pictureVinay Vasudevan

WFM for Outbound Planning

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

There are many contact centers that have the majority of their business that depends on the Outbound Campaign.

Especially when the contact center is involved in sales or collections, outbound calls are critical to success. There are many other reasons why outbound calls are required, and it is totally dependent on the process.

Outbound calls can give us insights into the customer's needs. As a result, it helps us balance sales and improve brand awareness.

But, from a WFM planning standpoint, how to manage outbound?

There are many ways to calculate the agents required for outbound campaigns.

In this blog, we will see a few methods to calculate the No. of agents required for Outbound calling using some KPIs which are generally used in the Outbound contact centers.

First, let's gather a few prerequisites for the calculations, as shown below.

No. of Contacts to be Dialled

This is mainly the database in which data will be fed into the dialer for the agents to dial.

This data should be considered as volume. We need to understand that every customer in this database is equivalent to one volume; therefore, if we have 1000 customers in the outbound database, that means the volume is 1000.

Successful and Non-Successful Average Handle Time

In Outbound Planning, two types of AHT come into the picture. i.e., Successful and Non-Successful AHT.

When an agent makes an outbound call, not all the customers receive the call. For example, some may disconnect the call, some may not receive, some may have directed to voicemail, etc. In short, whenever an agent can't talk to the customer about the product, the call is considered to be Non-Successful.

Though the call was Non-Successful, an agent would have spent a specific time on that call, either listening to the ring or voicemail, etc. That time spent is called Non-Successful AHT.

The inverse of this is the agent successfully speaking to the customer, which is called a Successful AHT. As an industry standard, the Non-Successful AHT cannot be more than 60 secs.

We will look at how both the AHTs will affect the planning.

Type of Dialer which will be used

The dialer plays a major role in the Outbound Contact Center. It is like an ACD that routes the call, and there are different dialers available for an outbound contact center. I had written a blog on different outbound dialers a few weeks back. If you have not read it, I would strongly recommend reading it to understand this article completely.

Turn Around Time

All the Outbound calls come with a particular Turn Around Time. This depends upon the type of outbound call, the cost factored, and the Voice of the Customer. Some examples of Outbound Turn Around Time is given below:

  • 100% calls to be made in 24 hours within the lead generation.

  • 80% of the calls are to be made within 4 Hours.

Connect Ratio

Now it is very common that all the calls made to the customer will not be successful. We ourselves would have disconnected the call from many marketing campaigns. Also, some customers may have activated DND.

Therefore, the measurement of successfully placed calls against the total calls is called Connect Ratio.

For example, Out of 1000 Calls, only 700 calls were connected to the customer and were tagged as successful; hence, the connect ratio is 700/1000 = 70%.

Number of Attempts

It is obvious that the contact center will not stop at a single attempt if the customer doesn't receive the call. Therefore, there will be multiple attempts made to a single customer.

Earlier, I mentioned that each customer in the database is equal to one volume. Therefore, if we try multiple attempts at a customer, the volume increases. This will have an impact on the FTE Required.

The total no. of attempts to be made is decided by historical analysis, telecom regulation laws, and the type of outbound calls. Also, there will be a specified time gap between each attempt.


Productivity is a crucial component used in many deferred media planning such as Back Office, Email, Outbound, etc.

The industrial standard considers around 85%, and we will also do the same.

Now that we have most of the inputs required to calculate the FTE let's go ahead and do it.

I have attached the Excel sheet at the end, which has the calculations embedded. Please go through to get a complete understanding.

There are two types of FTE Calculations in the attachment, with four models for each type. Both types show different ways of Outbound calculation, which is entirely dependent on how the process is designed.

As mentioned earlier, there are many types of calculations for Outbound, and I'm only showing two types for illustration purposes.

The Models mentioned in the attachment represent the dialer type as discussed below.

  • Model 1 - Manual Dialer

  • Model 2 - Preview Dialer

  • Model 3 - Progressive Dialer

  • Model 4 - Predictive Dialer

Let's look at the calculations below.

Type 1 Calculations

Here we have used all the KPIs to calculate the FTE required. Note that the Non-Successful AHT decreases depending upon the type of dialer used.

The workload is divided into Successful and Non-Successful for better understanding. The Successful Workload is simple and straightforward, where the overall volume is multiplied by the connect ratio and the successful AHT.

When we say connect ratio, it is no. of calls connected as explained earlier. This essentially means that the remaining 25% was not connected at all. Therefore they turn into a Non-Successful workload.

However, if you observe the Non-Successful workload calculation, I have used the no. of attempts too. So theoretically, if the total no. of attempts is 4, we assume that 75% of connected customers take only the 1st attempt and the remaining 25% of customers take the 3 attempts. Therefore making the total attempts as 4.

So, to have the Non-Successful Workload, I have taken 25% of the volume with Non-Successful AHT and three remaining attempts.

Once we have both the workload, we sum it up and calculate the FTE required. In the FTE Required Calculations, I have divided the workload by 8, considering shift length for a day.

Based on the type of dialer used, the Non-Successful AHT reduces, decreasing the overall FTE required.

Note: The shift length and the shrinkage are subjected to change.

Type 2 Calculations

What we saw in Type 1 can be theoretically implemented for planning, but it majorly relies on the assumption that all the successful contacts happen in the first attempt. But is it practically possible?

I don't think so; therefore, I have also attached the Type 2 Calculations. As you see in the table beside the calculation, there are attempts and the % of calls connected for each attempt.

We use the Daily volume and calculate the Successful Call and Non-Successful Calls. When 25% of the calls are connected in the first attempt, the remaining 75% are dialed out. However, in the second attempt, the connected calls are taken after removing the 25% which was already connected in the 1st attempt.

This brings a significant difference in the workload. Since all the calls are dialed for every attempt, the Non-Successful workload is higher in Type 2 than the Type 1, but removing the Successful calls of previous attempts reduces the Successful Workload.

Once we have both the workload, we sum it up and calculate the FTE required. In the FTE Required Calculations, I have divided the workload by 8, considering it to be shift length for a day. Based on the type of dialer used, the Non-Successful AHT reduces, decreasing the overall FTE required.

If you observe both Type 1 and Type 2 calculations, the FTE required in Type 2 calculations seems higher.

Thank you for reading:)

Stay Tuned!!

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