Clients often inquire about the degree of change they should expect from an organization’s efforts. Clients are enthralled by the prospect of pinning a number on each process improvement so they can show it to senior management and boast, “We’ve saved 30% of the overall cost of the process!”
To clarify a few things: First and foremost, what time are we observing? Is it actual effort time or elapsed time?
- Elapsed time refers to the cumulative amount of time it takes for a process to complete from the perspective of the consumer.
- The amount of time your employees spend working in the process is referred to as effort time.
For example, it may take your employees 2 minutes to write an email (effort time), however if the email stays in an inbox for two hours, it adds to the overall process time (elapsed time). Depending on the target, both types of timings are important: elapsed time has a stronger customer effect, while effort time is a more informative indicator for performance.
Naturally, reducing effort time reduces elapsed time, but it is still possible to provide a method that is effective in terms of effort time but slow in terms of elapsed time. So, what constitutes a “healthy” degree of progress? It’s not quite that easy, though. A 0.5 percent reduction in effort time may be a significant change, but it all depends on one key factor: volume.
When dealing with a high number of calls, even a slight change will result in significant cost savings. Consider an organisation that receives millions of calls to its contact centre; even saving seconds off a call will save a lot of money. On the other hand, if one can save 75% of effort time on a process that is only done 200 times a year, the costs of changing the process could outweigh the benefits.
To answer the query, there is no such thing as a “good” percentage increase in effort time; it must be calculated alongside length. If elapsed time is looked upon, a percentage reduction may be beneficial on its own, but transaction volume should be seen as part of the cost/benefit analysis as well.