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Use of Correlation Analysis

Sun, 13 Sep 2015

This article is a classic case study on using Correlation Analysis. It describes how only a simple basic statistical tool is required to help operations!!!

It was 2009. I was working as a Process Excellence expert in my organization. The quality head was visiting our location and wanted a deep-dive to be conducted with the operations team. We were facing huge challenges in managing Average Handle Time (AHT) of all call centre staff. The AHT was at 645 seconds against a threshold of 350 seconds.

To mitigate this challenge, the ops manager had kept operations data ready. The data had the following facts:

Tenure: Tenure vs AHT data

Job Knowledge: Job Knowledge test score vs AHT

The task was to identify most significant factor impacting AHT between the above options.

Our Quality head took the data. He smartly used this opportunity to gauge the application skills of my colleagues and me. The data was shared with each of us and we were asked us to run the most simple basic statistical tool to come up with recommendation on the most significant factor out of available data options. We were also told that this analysis should not make use of the p-value and need not have confidence level.

My colleague used One-way ANOVA and got the results!!! However, one-way Anova made use of p-value and confidence level to identify results. Thus he failed.

I realized that my boss wanted to see the most simple basic statistical tool. Additionaly, he was not worried about the confidence level of the inferences. Thus, here was a more simpler tool to use, Correlation Analysis.

I opened Minitab, clicked Stat, Basic Statistics, Correlation Analysis. Ran separate tests for each scenario – tenure and job-knowledge. Job-knowledge showed a higher correlation and the pearson’s correlation coefficient was highest for this category. Thus, my recommendation was to focus on job-knowledge of individuals and have remediation plan for this root cause.  

This was a very heartening result for my boss. While he provided the ops team with the results, he also continued to see that some of his process excellence experts are not just theoretical Black Belts. 

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