CCPF Master Mind Group – Muted, but Not Silent

Thursday, October 22, 2009 by Tripp Babbitt

I had a meeting today with the Contact Center Performance Forum (CCPF) Master Mind Group.  I had a technical problem where I was not able to be heard.  I had some comments that I am putting in this post.

By subject:

Attrition in the Contact Center:  There is no such thing as good attrition . . . ever.  You paid to train that person for that seat and any turnover is waste.  You must hire the right people and keep them there. 

To prevent turnover, you need to give them a better job to do.  One that is interesting and free from command and control where targets, standardized processes, inspection, monitoring, etc makes the job boring  or raises the anxiety level.

The trade-off between costs and good service:  There is no trade-off.  This is not a zero-sum game where costs increase when we give good service.  Here is an exercise for you to illustrate some of my point. 

Exercise:  Go listen to phone calls and determine the type and frequency of demand in your center.  Determine whether the demand is value or failure (demand from a failure to do something or do something right for a customer).  You will find failure demand runs between 25 – 75% of all contacts.  This is not only an opportunity to increase satisfaction, but reduce costs (fewer calls).

Executives and Contact Centers:  Show your executives your failure demand numbers.  Two important things happen:
  1. Executives will stop (at least for the moment) looking at cost and productivity measures.  Instead they will consider the causes of costs or what causes the failure demand.
  2. They will realize that the contact center is not a profit center, that the center is dependent on the rest of the organization.

This is a different conversation as costs are not in the transactions (scale), they are in the flow, end-to-end from a customer perspective.  Designing systems from the outside-in and giving customers good service eliminates failure demand, gives customer service in accordance to what matters to them and reduces costs.

IVRs:  Waste, waste and more waste.  IVRs (for most applications) do not lower costs as many of the participants alluded to in the conversation.  IVRs can not absorb the variety of demand posed from customers.  There are things that can and should be done by technology and some things that need to be done by people.  Technology can not absorb variety, people can.

First Call Resolution:  Can and should be measured.  I missed a lot of this conversation, so that is all I have to offer as I don’t know what else was discussed.

I hope this helps someone.

Leave me a comment. . . share your opinion!  Click on comments below.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Download free from "Understanding Your Organization as a System" and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected].  Reach him on Twitter at or LinkedIn at

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