In modern psychology, the theory of Loss Aversion states simply that the average person is twice as likely to want to avoid losses as to gain something. What this means mathematically is that most people will only accept a gamble when their chances of winning are greater than twice their chance of losing (when the amount of winning and losing is the same). They are also willing to gamble if their odds are equal to winning and losing if the amount of gain is greater than double to the amount loss. This is called the Equilibrium Point.
Loss Aversion & The Cost Of Calling Off
In the world of contact centers, loss aversion applies to several well-established rules or functions. One of those we can help is the way we frame Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) taking time off or leaving early. Many times within the contact center, the framing of this question is in what they have (number of times they can call off) instead of framing what they lose by calling off each time (average amount of pay lost, average lost raise opportunities). Many times those who are in a management position feel they have little control over the process of whether a CME is going to call off or not.
By giving real average figures (having so many call-offs immediately equals a certain loss of an amount of their raise, which equals a certain amount over a year). Which would you rather do, potentially take 1 point out of 12 to have a day off, or potentially lose $.50/hour raise which equates to $1,000/year in pay? It becomes clear that simply changing the way we frame this problem can give us the support we need to change the mindset of some of the CMEs’ decisions.
Another way to frame this is in lost Paid Time Off (PTO) from work due to absenteeism and the true costs of this in dollar amounts. Having these in an average across the company will keep us within legal and ethical boundaries and allows us to show compassion for the CME, an important Incept value.
Using Loss Aversion To Gain Productivity
Is this going to help in 50-100% of the cases? Last year alone, Gallop determined that U.S. companies lost over $84 billion in productivity, with the #1 reason for that loss being absenteeism. So while we do not expect that simply changing how we frame the issue is going to make call-offs (other than in terms of illness) go away, even a 20% drop would be significant to any business. As the cliché of politics goes, “It isn’t what you said, but how you said it”. Changing how we implement understanding on a topic costs the company nothing, has huge returns, can increase productivity, and, if done effectively, can be accomplished without losses.
How else do you think you could reduce call-offs?