ICMI is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


6 Tips to Make the Most of Agent Downtime in a Contact Center

Contact center managers can use workforce engagement and optimization tools to measure Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like total calls, calls in queue, wait times, hold times, average talk times, net promoter score, and customer satisfaction score. This helps supervisors determine what is happening, when, and more importantly, how supervisors can act on the information gathered to provide the highest possible level of service.

If extra time is identified that can be utilized constructively, here are several activities your contact center workforce can undertake that could benefit both agent and contact center:

Review eLearning Materials

Supervisors can use workforce optimization tools to schedule agents to review eLearning materials. Depending on an agent’s evaluation, the agent may be assigned materials to help them improve their greeting, empathy, sales skills, or discovery skills. Supervisors may also call team meetings to educate agents about what they’re witnessing on the floor, a new product launch, or important company news.

Analyze KPIs to Improve Productivity

Similarly, agents can be scheduled to review KPIs in their agent portal. Agents can see how they perform against their peers. The KPIs are based on evaluations and recording statistics across the center, department, or team. When agents improve their KPIs, it helps them become eligible for better shifts and promotions.

Review Call Recordings & Evaluations

Agents can also use the quiet time to review call recordings and evaluations to compare how they have improved. Seeing and hearing their interactions can help them grow in these areas.

Employee Parameter & Schedule Adjustments

Supervisors can also make use of idle time for themselves by reviewing recordings of agents’ entire shifts, including "filler events," to determine what agents were doing during quiet times. They can also ensure agents are utilizing offline time. Workforce optimization solutions offer screen capture or live monitoring capabilities that help supervisors monitor agents to make sure the agent is using their time constructively in the agent portal or completing other assignments.

Cross-Training Coaching Sessions

Downtime is also a great time for hosting coaching sessions. These can be done individually with a supervisor, especially if agents need to improve in specific areas. Agents shadow top-performers to listen to live calls. Sometimes learning from a peer overcomes the perception that a supervisor is not in the trenches and somewhat detached.


A popular type of peer review is called a calibration, in which a group of agents gathers in a room to review calls from different agents. In addition to helping agents improve, peer coaching is a great way to groom top performers for supervisor level roles.

Agents are curious about their performance and progress. Constructively using these techniques during downtime can benefit everyone, create a positive environment, and help agents stay engaged. By encouraging agents to review their KPIs and call recordings, and providing coaching and cross-training opportunities, you involve agents in their own success. And when agents are successful, the entire contact center is successful.

Topics: Agent, Coaching And Quality Management, Knowledge Management