80/20 Call Center Rule: How Does it Improve Agent Performance? (2023)

Every call center service level has a call center rule which defines the percentage of calls being answered in a specified time.

Rule or protocol is the primary and important specification for service level or SL which can help to trace a call center’s performance.

Most call center businesses take service levels like a target that is estimated in 80/20 or 90/60 or any similar value, a combination of two figures.

When a call center business obtains a service level target of 80-20 call center rule, this means the agent of the business is expected to answer 80% of calls in less than or within 20 seconds.

80% of calls shown on your call center should have a queue time of fewer than 20 seconds.

So what’s more behind the 80-20 call center rule? And how to improve an agent’s performance using the 80/20 call center rule? Let’s find out in this article.

What is the Service level in a Call Center?

Service level in a call center can be defined as the rate of calls answered in a given period.

It simply represents a call center or calls center agent answering a customer’s calls within that specific time; the fewer time customers spend waiting in line and the better they’ll be with your company.

The service level is the percentage; the higher the percentage is, the better the level of service. It is the idea of service level as both a goal and a way to measure the performance parameter of the call center and its customer service team.

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How to Calculate Your Service Level?

The simplest way to calculate service level is to look at the number of calls the agents can answer within a certain time frame after the phone begins to ring.

This set time can be anywhere from seconds to a full minute. Divide that number by the number of calls coming in and multiply the result by 100.

The easiest way to calculate service level is to look at the number of calls the agents can answer within a certain time frame after the phone begins to ring. This set time can be anywhere from 10 seconds to a full minute.

Divide that number by the number of calls coming in and multiply the result by 100.

This will give you the service level percentage. Within that calculation, you can better understand the service level in customer service at the call center so you can gauge the quality of customer service callers receive.

Call Center Service Level Formula

Let’s say you aim to answer all calls within 20 seconds. On a given day, your call center dealt with 500 different calls, 425 of which were answered within 20 seconds.

425 calls answered within 20 seconds / 500 total calls = 0.85 X 100 = 85% service level

For that day, 85% of calls were answered within your chosen time frame, making that your service level percentage. That’s a good rate!

Why is Service Level Important in a Call Center?

The main goal of service level in the call centers arises the question of “how to maintain or enhance a specific service level in a contact center.”

(Video) Call Centre Management - Service Level Impacts

The answer is to ensure that you have enough agents on hand at all times to handle incoming calls within the desired time limit. This can be difficult for business owners to handle their customer support calls.

You’re only allowed to answer a certain number of calls at any given moment, depending on the number of team members you have available.

Adding more team members to answer those calls can increase your service level but at a significant expense to your operating budget.

What is the 80-20 call Center Rule?

According to research “When call center business people were asked about their call center service level goal, many call center agents define the 80/20 rule as the primary-designed rule and goal to satisfy their client queries.”

However, an 80/20 call is the standard from a 30-year-old AT&T study applied to the call center service level, which should answer 80% of calls in 20 seconds or less.

It directs the agent to interact and respond quickly when they are on call with their client and answer their question in 20 seconds or less without missing or making them wait.

How to Maintain the 80/20 Call Center Rule?

The 80/20 rule establishes a concept of how quickly calls are answered. However, it only tells a call center how comfortable their clients are or how long they are willing to wait for an available agent. It also doesn’t take into account dropped calls.

With so much variance in the sector, you might be asking what other businesses have against this generally accepted industry-standard service level cgoal.

The truth behind maintaining the 80/20 call center rule you can use is that more and more call centers are taking longer to answer the phone, which indicates that they may be slowing down their average response time to target goals.

How does the 80/20 call center rule work in the fast-paced, time-critical world of call centers?

The call center world is evolving, just like everything else in today’s world of customer service. Part of that adjustment is to allow for longer, more extensive service calls to better serve customers.

Longer calls almost always result in a more positive experience for customers, as these interactions are often more individualized and focused on their genuine requirements rather than simply fulfilling target time goals.

How Can the 80/20 Rule Help with Your Longer Calls and Wait Times in Business?

The call abandonment rate is one of the most significant of these, which can occur when customers wait for an excessive amount of time. Longer hold times are an unavoidable consequence of this longer call structure.

This error shouldn’t be vital; after all, if you make too few calls, your business will suffer. However, the difference is likely to be significant enough that you can save money on labor as a result. If you adopt the 80/20 call center rule, take advantage of the savings.

Some cost reductions should be noted. Longer calls result in fewer calls to answer overall, resulting in fewer workers on the clock.

However, an equally simple alternative can save your clients from having to wait in line for long periods while simultaneously preventing you from having to overstaff your center to deal with the problem.

(Video) What is Pareto Analysis in BPO ?

Provide your customer with the option of being contacted when an agent becomes available, and The callback can be one of the solutions for it.

This saves them time and money for your facility, and you’d be amazed how many clients appreciate having this alternative.

How Does the 80/20 Rule Improve Agent Performance?

You may have understood what the 80/20 rule call center is, how to maintain 80/20 rules for your business and how can 80/20 rule help with your longer calls and call management that can let you build a never-ending relationship between your agents and clients.

However, for continuing the never-ending relationship between your agents and client. You need to take care of your agent’s performance. Their performance matters a lot in your business’s happy customer experience and upbringing.

Here are some of the ideas why to apply the 80/20 call center rule to improve performance:

Fulfill customer expectations

Your customers’ needs have a significant impact on how long they are willing to wait in a call queue before being replied to.

For instance, A consumer who wants a quick solution to a basic query is more likely to hang up after a long wait than one who wants a more full and detailed answer to a more complex inquiry.

The 80/20 rule and better agent performance can effortlessly calculate service level goals. It will provide a sense of acceptable hold times that will fluctuate and hang on to the demands of your customers.

Better understanding

When consumers call your organization, their better understanding of expectations plays a big role in how long they’re willing to wait for their call to be answered.

Long hold times are expected in several businesses (e.g., airlines, credit card firms, etc.), and callers will normally wait longer to talk with a representative when calling these companies.

However, a better understanding of customers is also influenced by their early contacts with your organization. So, if their calls are usually answered fast, they will anticipate the same from your firm every time they contact you.

As a result, when deciding on an 80/20 call center standard, it’s crucial to consider service levels in your industry and the financial outcomes of failing to fulfill your customers’ expectations.

Know Customer Priorities

When a customer chooses your service level, it’s your critical role to consider their priorities. Some customers are ready to drop the quality of the conversation in the hunt for a faster response. Some people are willing to wait for a better agent to come along.

Customers who call you for information about a product they purchased, for example, are more likely to wait longer for a special deal than when they call for information about the product they purchased.

You can be stronger with the 80/20 rule and agent’s better performance of understanding your customer’s priorities.

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Have patience

When setting service levels, it’s critical to consider being patient, whether from your end, your agent, or the client’s. To do so, you’ll need to figure out how long clients are willing to wait before their service quality suffers and they hang up.

It would help to consider whether these figures differ for high-value consumers versus low-value customers.

This is a tough field to estimate because it is affected by personal characteristics such as personality, mood, age, employment status, quantity of free time, and external influences such as time of day, company type, etc.

Create customer profiles and analyze demographic data to better understand your customers’ patience levels.

Have comfort with the client

Customer comfort should be one of the top concerns for agents’ performance for any incoming call center, and it should be considered while choosing a service level target.

It would be best if you researched how the client responds to longer wait times and how wait time can impact your customer’s happiness, satisfaction, loyalty, and after all, it’s for a business image.

Make your agent analysis with clients’ calls comfortably and account for their needs when accessing the service level.

Consider what the customer’s increased lifetime value will be if the service level is improved. You may ensure that your service level metric is linked to customer satisfaction by considering these variables while developing a service level objective.


80/20 call center rule: improving agent performance is an arbitrary target for call centers.

Customers may be willing to wait longer than 20 seconds to speak with someone if they are not forced to do so indefinitely.

They might even choose to locate the solution themselves through a better self-service option or, dare we say it, get a call back from a customer service professional at a later time.

High service levels at your contact center can be costly, and they may even lead to inefficiency if they don’t contribute to corporate strategy or customer satisfaction.

Before defining a service standard for your call center, think about what your customers truly want and how you can link it with your company goals. And be willing to make changes as new information becomes available.

Comment down and share your thought on the 80/20 call center rule and how it improve agent performance.


How can a call center agent improve performance? ›

10 Strategies to Improve Call Center Agent Performance
  1. Create a detailed SOP. ...
  2. Offer a clear career path. ...
  3. Empower your agents with the best technology. ...
  4. Create detailed call scripts. ...
  5. Use Skill-Based Routing and IVR to segment customers. ...
  6. Record and monitor calls. ...
  7. Re-examine your metrics and KPIs to make data-driven changes.
Nov 2, 2022

What is the 80 20 rule in call center? ›

An 80/20 service level in a call center simply means that 80 percent of the calls will be answered within 20 seconds.

How do you improve agent occupancy in a call center? ›

How to Optimize Call Center Occupancy Rate?
  1. 1- Monitor Call Volume At Different Times.
  2. 2- Hold Cross-Training Programs.
  3. 3- Reduce the Number of Agents.
  4. 4- Consider Partial Outsourcing or Hiring Remote Agents.

How can we improve performance of agent? ›

8 Proven Tips To Improve Agent Performance
  1. Build Rapport. ...
  2. Host Daily Kickoff Sessions. ...
  3. Lead By Example. ...
  4. Solicit Agent Feedback. ...
  5. Ask For Self-Evaluation. ...
  6. Set Clear Expectations. ...
  7. Offer Rewards. ...
  8. Make Tech User-Friendly.
Apr 7, 2022

How can the performance of an agent are improved? ›

b) Learning

c) Observing d) None of the mentioned Answer: b Explanation: An agent can improve its performance by storing its previous actions.

What is the best explanation of the 80/20 rule? ›

The Pareto principle states that for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes. In other words, a small percentage of causes have an outsized effect. This concept is important to understand because it can help you identify which initiatives to prioritize so you can make the most impact.

How does the 80/20 rule work explain with an example? ›

The 80/20 rule is a statistical principle that states that 80% of results often come from approximately 20% of causes. For example, in business, it is often said that 80% of sales result from 20% of clients.

What are some examples of the 80/20 rule? ›

Pareto 80 20 rule examples: Be more efficient and productive
  • 20% of criminals commit 80% of crimes.
  • 20% of drivers cause 80% of all traffic accidents.
  • 80% of pollution originates from 20% of all factories.
  • 20% of a companies products represent 80% of sales.
  • 20% of employees are responsible for 80% of the results.
Mar 3, 2017

How do call centers motivate their agents? ›

8 Ways to Motivate Agents in Call Centers
  1. Implement The Right Tools.
  2. Offer Rewards And Incentives.
  3. Encourage Feedback And Act.
  4. Foster Open Communication.
  5. Create SMART Goals.
  6. Provide Opportunities For Growth.
  7. Create A Fun & Warm Work Environment.
  8. Team Building Games Are Key.

How do you improve client calls? ›

We've put together our top tips on how to perfect your call handling and impress clients every single time.
  1. Be a 'GOFI' God/Goddess of First Impressions. ...
  2. Be chirpy but not too chatty. ...
  3. Verbally nod! ...
  4. Focus on what you can do and not what you cannot. ...
  5. Say it with a smile. ...
  6. Be efficient and reassuring.

What is your greatest strength as a call center agent? ›

Top 7 Call Center Agent Strengths
  • Great Communication Skills. ...
  • Creative Problem Solving. ...
  • Emotional Intelligence (Empathy) ...
  • Attention to Detail. ...
  • Persistent and Consistent. ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Self-Awareness. ...
  • Lack of Knowledge.

How should an agent handle customer effectively? ›

Here are ten customer service skills agents should master to deliver the very best service.
  1. Patience. ...
  2. Timeliness. ...
  3. Clear communication. ...
  4. Empathy. ...
  5. Knowledge about products and services. ...
  6. Positive attitude. ...
  7. Attentive listening. ...
  8. Organization.

How to improve communication skills? ›

10 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills
  1. Listen, listen, and listen. ...
  2. Who you are talking to matters. ...
  3. Body language matters. ...
  4. Check your message before you hit send. ...
  5. Be brief, yet specific. ...
  6. Write things down. ...
  7. Sometimes it's better to pick up the phone. ...
  8. Think before you speak.

Why is it important for agents to evaluate their performance? ›

When agents are encouraged to evaluate their own performance, they become motivated and invested in their career development. This should decrease attrition rates, sick days, and reduce overall costs.

How can the 80/20 rule be improved? ›

80/20 Training
  1. Replace your shoes every 500 miles;
  2. Increase your mileage by no more than 10% a week;
  3. Negative split a race to run fast;
  4. Long runs should be no more than a third of your weekly distance total;
  5. Eat no later than three hours before running.
Jul 31, 2020

How do you use the 80/20 rule to manage time effectively? ›

Recognizing your 20 percent

When applied to work, it means that approximately 20 percent of your efforts produce 80 percent of the results. Learning to recognize and then focus on that 20 percent is the key to making the most effective use of your time.

How is the 80/20 rule used to improve time management? ›

The Pareto principle in time management states that 80 % of results will come from 20 % of your effort. Consequently, being aware of the Pareto principle can mainly help us set the right priorities. It can help us to focus on activities that will have the biggest impact in our business and personal lives.

What is a call center agent best answer? ›

The role of a call center representative is to answer questions and provide solutions to customers over the phone. When you interview for a call center position, it's important to know the expectations of the role and understand what value you will bring to the organization.

How do you improve customer service answer? ›

How to improve customer service
  1. Empathy, patience, and consistency.
  2. Adaptability.
  3. Clear communication.
  4. Work ethic.
  5. Knowledge.
  6. Thick skin.
  7. Identify common ground.
  8. Practice active listening.

What makes you a strong customer service agent answer? ›

My biggest strengths are empathy and great communication skills. I always actively listen to the customer and then talk him through how to solve his problem or what I'm doing to help him out. I try to put myself in the customer's shoes and make sure I can understand their needs best.

What are your top 3 strengths answers? ›

Some examples of strengths you might mention include:
  • Enthusiasm.
  • Trustworthiness.
  • Creativity.
  • Discipline.
  • Patience.
  • Respectfulness.
  • Determination.
  • Dedication.

What is your greatest strength unique answer? ›

“My greatest strength is attention to detail. I've always been detail-oriented in my work, and it's something I enjoy. I saw on your job description that this role involves a lot of detail-oriented work, which is one reason I applied.”

What are 3 qualities of a great customer service agent? ›

Essentially, the 3 important qualities of customer service center around three “p”s: professionalism, patience, and a “people-first” attitude. Although customer service varies from customer to customer, as long as you're following these guidelines, you're on the right track.

How can an agent strengthen his relationship with the customer? ›

5 Ways Agencies Can Improve Client Relationships
  1. Set Clear Goals and Expectations. Goal-setting is essential for any campaign. ...
  2. Understand Your Client Better. ...
  3. Work Together as Partners. ...
  4. Report Your Progress and Results. ...
  5. Deliver On Your Promises.
Sep 30, 2021

What are the 5 necessary skills for good communication? ›

  • WRITTEN COMMUNICATION. Convey ideas and information through the use of written language.
  • ORAL COMMUNICATION. Convey ideas and information through the use of spoken language.

Which communication skills do you need most to improve? ›

Here are the top 11 communication sub-skills that are most in-demand in 2023:
  • #1. Written And Oral Communication. ...
  • #2. Presentation. ...
  • #3. Active Listening. ...
  • #4. Nonverbal Communication. ...
  • #5. Feedback. ...
  • #6. Respect. ...
  • #7. Confidence. ...
  • #8. Clarity.
Feb 1, 2023

How can I improve my call center skills? ›

Here are 9 qualities that make for a successful call center agent.
  1. Knowledge retention. An agent's mission is to provide the highest quality support to customers. ...
  2. Attention to detail. ...
  3. Organization. ...
  4. Flexibility. ...
  5. Friendly. ...
  6. Calm under pressure. ...
  7. Effective communication skills. ...
  8. Speed.
Nov 8, 2022

How can you become a top performance in a call center? ›

How to Improve Your Agents' Performance
  1. Focus on one task at a time. ...
  2. Be more organized. ...
  3. Set stretch goals. ...
  4. Ask your coworkers for feedback. ...
  5. Learn more about top performers. ...
  6. Apply the Pareto 80/20 Rule. ...
  7. Learn How to Match a Task with the Allotted Time. ...
  8. Use online productivity tools.

How do you improve call quality? ›

How do I improve call quality on the mobile app?
  1. Narrow down the scope: Data Type. ...
  2. Switch from mobile data to Wi-Fi or vice versa. Always use the medium that will be the most stable. ...
  3. Disconnect/turn off any Bluetooth devices and use the built-in microphone. ...
  4. Check for updates to the app.

How can I be a good customer service agent? ›

7 Must-Have Qualities of a Stellar Customer Service Rep
  1. Problem-Solving Skills. The number one skill you need to excel in for good customer service is problem-solving. ...
  2. Clear Communication. ...
  3. Friendly Attitude. ...
  4. Empathy. ...
  5. Business Acumen. ...
  6. Product/Service Knowledge. ...
  7. Strong Time Management.
Jan 31, 2023

How do you manage performance in a call center? ›

Performance Management – 8 Tips to Boost Your Call Centre
  1. Eliminate ambiguity by setting expectations. ...
  2. Pay attention to individuality and empower your agents. ...
  3. Provide regular, targeted feedback sessions to employees. ...
  4. Positive feedback is the key. ...
  5. Demonstrate leadership and build relationships with your team.

What is the most important key performance indicators for a call center? ›

#1 Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

One of the most important call center KPIs is the customer satisfaction rate.

What is the most important skill of a call center agent? ›

The most important call center skill is effective communication as it is the key to successfully taking on most agent responsibilities. Effective communication can be defined as the verbal ability to explain complex topics in a simple, easy-to-understand, and efficient way.


1. Free Call Center Training | 2022 Call Center Performance Targets | MetricNet
2. Introduction to Inbound Contact Center Metrics Module 2 | Free Call Center Training
3. Cognitive Contact Center by Cisco
(Cisco India)
4. Service Level Metrics that Matter | Free Training for Call Center and IT Support Professionals
5. Free Call Center Training | Agent Job Satisfaction Measurement and Management
6. Contact Centre Mythbusters Part 1
(CX Central)
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