We recently completed a survey with the Contact Center Networking Group, the industry professional network for the customer care service and contact center industry. The main results can be found in an infographic at the bottom of this post, but we’ll recap some of the key issues here.
Calculating Costs is Complicated
This topic has been interesting to us since we began the journey of Tenacity as a company. People seem to inherently know that attrition is costly and potentially even a bottom-line hit, but very few seem to know what the number is. That’s amazingly ironic because we live in a business period supposedly completely focused on data, to the point that some have called data “the new oil.” In our survey, 73% of respondents didn’t know their cost number off-hand. (The ones that did, or thought they did, said their average cost per attrit was about $9,352; that’s actually higher than we’ve found in some of our own research.)
Sourcing and HR Processing Costs
These get measured most of the time, but pieces remain missing. This is true with training costs too. The main thing that people miss is something we call “leakage.” Leakage is a way to refer to the people who don’t make it through the funnel. If you have to recruit 250 people, and interview 200, offer jobs to 175, and only 150 show up and only 100 make it through training, costs tend to get hidden. Often companies know it costs, say, $2000 to train someone. So when someone attrits, they figure it costs them $2000 in training to replace that person. But that is wrong, because 1/3rd of the people don’t even make it through training. You have to take the total training costs associated with everyone, even those who quit, and spread that cost across all the people that make it out. Same goes for recruiting, interviewing, etc.
Productivity Measures are also Complicated
Two stats potentially at cross-purposes: 75% of respondents said their agents were fully productive within three months (good), but only 34% said they measured the cost of agent wages during the productivity ramp. If only 1 in 3 respondents are even taking costs into account during the ramp but 3 in 4 are claiming full productivity by Month III, there might be a disconnect there. It seems as if companies maybe aren’t measuring but rather claiming productivity by an arbitrary date, i.e. the third month. Ideally Month 3 productivity, though, is true in 75% of cases.
Something we have found in our consulting experience, is that companies have a particularly difficult time quantifying the effect of attrition on productivity. Some go so far as to call it a “soft cost.” This is a mistake, however. The cost is direct, and measurable, and only takes a little arithmetic and algebra. If there is a learning curve associated with being a new agent, you can model the effect attrition will have on productivity, and figure out how much larger your workforce has to be since you have so many unproductive new agents.
What Metrics are Being Used in Call Centers?
This was interesting. The top five on this survey were:
- Number of calls
- Cost per call
Number of calls was used by a little over 72% of respondents, with AHT not far behind around 69%. Overall, most of the common metrics were tied to the bottom-line, or at least cost/revenue, which is a good (and logical) sign.
The Main Takeaway
Despite insane advances in software, some very core issues — costs and productivity — are still confusing to those managing some of these teams and processes. We need to get better at that while also improving the experience of the call center.
You can see the full infographic below. If you have any questions, always feel free to contact us.