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MYTH #4: It is impossible to estimate inefficient and lost productivity costs

Contact centers rarely use new-hire learning curve data to estimate lost productivity and

create a capacity plan.

Learning curve data summarize the time it takes for a new agent to perform proficiently. Mark Alpern estimates that, in the first year of employment, new hires are 67% as efficient as agents with at least one year of tenure.

Learning curve results for 1,800 agents from eight centers appear in the chart below. On average, agents are 53% as efficient in the first month of production as in the twelfth month.


We can calculate a new hire’s cost of inefficiency in three steps:

1. Set a minimum seat value equal to the average of the center’s proficient agents’ fully loaded wages plus office, administrative, and technology expenses. In the example below, data from the 100-seat center yields a seat value of $53,082.

2. Compute new hire efficiency (Proficient Agent AHT / New Hire AHT) starting production month one and ending when the ratio reaches 1.00, usually eight to twelve months. In the chart above, new hire month one efficiency is 53% (2.8 / 5.3).

3. Multiply the minimum seat value by the average monthly efficiency ratio. The product summarizes a new hire’s efficiency relative to a proficient agent in dollars.

The diagram below shows how to measure the minimum cost of inefficient and lost productivity:

The center loses $9,849 (18.6%) to inefficient performance for every employee who stays for twelve months.

Lost productivity due to an open seat also affects the cost of attrition. It takes an average of 34 days to fill a customer service job opening and, in our example, another 40 days to finish training and nesting.

It costs the center $25.52 in lost productivity every hour a seat is open, or $204 per day.

Tools like Cinareo use new-hire learning curve data to help estimate lost productivity and create your ideal capacity plan.

Want to learn more? Check out these other myths:

Stay tuned for other myths that will be busted!

**Excerpt from The Hard and Hidden Costs of Attrition by Mark Alpern and Brent Holland published in December 2022 in the Contact Center Pipeline magazine


Find out how Cinareo can guide your decision-making for hiring ahead of attrition in order to maximize your profitability and boosting employee performance and satisfaction.


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