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Welcome everyone. I’m Jeff Rumburg, Managing Partner of MetricNet. In Metrics Essentials for Contact Center Professionals, my goal is to teach you everything you need to know, to leverage metrics for success in your contact center. Today, in the fourth module of our course, we’re going to discuss the Cause-and-Effect relationships, between and amongst the contact center metrics.

These relationships, for an inbound, customer service contact center, are shown schematically on this slide. The KPIs, Key Performance Indicators, are shown in the dark blue boxes. They include of course, Cost per Contact, Customer Satisfaction, Agent Utilization, First Contact Resolution Rate, Agent Job Satisfaction, and Average Speed of Answer. Not coincidentally, these are the same KPIs that make up the 80/20 rule for contact center metrics, and the same KPIs that we used when constructing the balanced scorecard in the last module of the course.

The key to using metrics, diagnostically, and prescriptively, is to understand their cause-and-effect relationships. You can think of these relationships as a linkage where all of the metrics are interconnected. When one metric moves up or down, other metrics will also move with it. But not necessarily at the same rate, or in the same direction, as you will soon see.
Understanding this linkage is enormously powerful because it provides insight into the levers you can pull, to achieve desired outcomes.

Virtually everything a contact center does can be viewed through the lens of cost and quality. Will this new technology, for example, reduce my costs? Will this new process improve customer satisfaction? This insight is crucial because it greatly simplifies decision-making in the contact center. Any undertaking that doesn’t have the long-term effect of improving customer satisfaction, reducing costs, or both, is simply not worth doing. This is why cost per contact and customer satisfaction are known as the foundation metrics.

These metrics are also very useful, for telling the story of contact center performance. Most people instinctively understand cost and customer satisfaction, so it’s easy to have a discussion about contact center performance in the context of these KPIs. It’s important to note, however, that the foundation metrics cannot be directly controlled. Instead, they are controlled through their underlying drivers.

Every KPI in the contact center is either directly or indirectly connected to cost per contact and customer satisfaction, as we saw on the prior slide. Those that directly impact the foundation metrics are called the underlying drivers. They include Agent Utilization, First Contact Resolution Rate, and Agent Job Satisfaction. Improvements in any of these metrics result in corresponding improvements in the foundation metrics. But unlike the foundation metrics, which cannot be directly controlled, the underlying drivers can be directly controlled. In fact, this is where you have the greatest leverage to impact the cost and quality of your contact center.

If a contact center is struggling with high costs, for example, reducing the cost per contact can be achieved by increasing agent utilization or by reducing agent absenteeism and turnover. Likewise, if the goal of the contact center is to improve customer satisfaction, this can be achieved by improving First Contact Resolution Rate, Call Quality, or Agent Job Satisfaction.
The cause-and-effect relationship between First Contact Resolution Rate and Customer Satisfaction is shown on this page. The correlation is easy to see. But it’s important to note that this is not merely correlation, but is also a cause-and-effect relationship.

Likewise, the cause-and-effect relationship between Agent Utilization and Cost per Contact is shown on this page. Once again, this is not just correlation, it is also cause-and-effect.
And here you see how agent job satisfaction has a direct effect on customer satisfaction. So, it turns out that the old adage “Happy agent equals happy customer” is not just a cliché; it’s actually based in empirical evidence.

Agent Satisfaction and Agent Training Hours are considered bellwether metrics because they are at the base of the KPI cause-and-effect diagram, and impact virtually every other metric in the contact center. Any movement in the bellwether metrics will be felt throughout the metrics linkage, and will eventually have an impact on the foundation metrics. If I know the Agent Job Satisfaction and Training Hours for a contact center, I can almost always predict what the cost and customer satisfaction will be.

High levels of Agent Job Satisfaction translate into lower absenteeism and turnover, which then translates into lower cost. Likewise Training Hours that are above average almost always have the effect of producing higher first contact resolution rates and call quality, which then drives higher customer satisfaction levels. Moreover, training hours are also one of the key drivers of Agent Job Satisfaction, and therefore represent a high leverage opportunity for a contact center to improve both its cost and quality performance.

Here is the evidence behind these claims. First, we have the correlation, and the cause-and-effect relationship between Agent Job Satisfaction and Agent Turnover. As job satisfaction increases, we see a decrease in turnover. This is important because this industry experiences high levels of agent turnover, and turnover is expensive. It is estimated that in North America it costs about $12,000 dollars to replace an agent whenever there is turnover. So, the obvious question is, how do we reduce agent turnover.

The answer is, training, career pathing, and coaching. What I am showing here is the relationship between training hours and agent job satisfaction. As training hours increase, both for initial training and annual, ongoing training, job satisfaction also increases. That, in turn, reduces agent turnover and absenteeism.

And here, you can see how career pathing improves agent job satisfaction. Agents who work in a contact center that offers a formal career path have significantly higher job satisfaction than agents who have no documented career path.

Once you become familiar with the cause-and-effect relationships of contact center KPIs you will be in a much better position to identify, diagnose, and act upon any performance gaps in your contact center. This includes positive performance gaps, which you want to perpetuate, as well as negative performance gaps, which you can mitigate or eliminate by leveraging the underling drivers.

This concludes the fourth module of our metrics course. I would invite you to join me for Module 5, where I will share the most up-to-date benchmarking data for the KPIs we have discussed so far in this course. I want to thank you for joining me today. I’m Jeff Rumburg, Managing Partner of MetricNet.

Angela Irizarry

Angela Irizarry is the President and Chief Operating Officer at MetricNet, where she is responsible for managing day-to-day operations, strategic planning, and new client acquisition. She also oversees the company's sales and marketing efforts and manages its intellectual property and online resources. Angela has been with the company for 10 years and has over 20 years of experience in business development and strategy. She has been featured in Fortune magazine and has received recognition for her work in competitive and trends analysis from executives at a variety of Fortune 100 companies. Angela is a dynamic and accomplished professional who consistently delivers exceptional results for MetricNet and its clients. She has a wealth of industry experience and a track record of success in driving business results, particularly in the financial services, insurance, and healthcare sectors. Angela is highly skilled in communication, problem-solving, and project management, and is committed to delivering the highest level of service to MetricNet's clients.

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