Common Analytics Mistakes That Lead to Higher Agent Attrition

Four Analytics Mistakes Enterprise Contact Centers Must Avoid

Managing an enterprise contact center is like, “Herding a bunch of cats.” Make one area work well and another area goes off track. So, leaders are constantly in damage control mode. Thankfully, analytics can identify which areas need help. However, there are common mistakes to avoid regarding analytics.

  • Overemphasis on Average Handle Time
  • Focusing on Customer attrition while ignoring Agent attrition
  • Setting occupancy rates too high
  • Overemphasis on any single metric

Overemphasis on Average Handle Time

The most common mistake is an overemphasis on Average Handle Time (AHT). AHT is valuable as a measure of efficiency, to calculate workforce levels and to predict cost. However, an overemphasis on AHT leads to a mindset where "shaving seconds" becomes an obsession. For instance, one contact center found shaving a single second off of every call, every day would result in annual savings of $40,000. Therefore, their leadership team searched for ways to shave seconds from each call. The right way to do that is through automation, process improvement, training and coaching. However, many centers view AHT as an “Agent problem” instead of a process issue. That attitude makes Agents rush customers off the phone. That leads to poor service, unnecessary repeat customer calls and lower customer satisfaction. Instead, view AHT as the end result of a long chain of contributing factors such as hiring, training, coaching, engagement, proper tools and efficient processes. Then look for ways to improve each link in that chain so, AHT ultimately improves.

Focusing on Customer Attrition While Ignoring Agent Attrition

Another common mistake is focusing on Customer attrition while ignoring Agent attrition. “People are our most valuable resource” is a great slogan. But, would you have another resource - like a manufacturing plant - run at maximum speed continuously, without any down time or maintenance? Of course not. However, enterprise contact centers are expected to run 24/7 at maximum efficiency, forever! That is why Agent attrition is rampant in this industry. Leaders need to balance CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) with employee satisfaction and employee promoter scores to achieve sustainable success.

Setting Occupancy Rates Too High

A third common analytics mistake is setting occupancy rates too high. Occupancy rate (Talk time + After Call Work time/Actual scheduled time) is an important metric. It tells you the percentage of work time Agents actually spend helping customers. But, while occupancy rates over 85-90% may seem efficient, it means Agents are slammed with call after call, with little time to catch their breath. That can lead to burnout and Agent attrition. It can also cause Agents to rush calls or take shortcuts to get more calls processed.

Overemphasis on Any Single Metric

The biggest lesson is to avoid over emphasis on any single metric. Instead, take a balanced view of your dashboard. Look ways to improve each metric through process improvement, automation, training and coaching. Ask your Agents what they need to do their jobs better. Find out what processes cause the longest After Call Work times. See if slow computer databases or cumbersome manual processes are causing longer Average Handle Times. Determine if you need to update your CRM system, upgrade your Knowledge Base or move your contact center solution to the cloud for greater efficiency. The key is to look for the reasons behind the numbers to see what can be improved.

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