The American Economic Association's registry for randomized controlled trials
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Training in call centres
Last registered on November 04, 2019
View Trial History
Training in call centres
Initial registration date
October 31, 2019
November 04, 2019 10:20 AM EST
Contact Primary Investigator
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
This RCT analyses the effects of a week-long training program on workers' productivity. Agents working in the largest department of the call centre of a multinational telecommunication company are randomly assigned to treatment and control groups.
Sauermann, Jan. 2019. "Training in call centres." AEA RCT Registry. November 04.
Sponsors & Partners
The intervention included a week-long training intervention targeted at call agents in the largest department of the call centre. The aim of the training programme was to increase the efficiency of agents answering customer calls. The management decided to organise the training in order to decrease the average time needed for handling calls, because the call centre performed below the targets set.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Worker productivity (as measured by average handling time)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Worker productivity is defined as the inverse of average handling time: y=100/(average handling time in week t measured in seconds)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Out of the 157 individuals working in the department at the beginning of our observation period (week 50/2008), 86 were selected for the experiment. Conditional on being selected for participation in the field experiment, 37 out of the 86 agents were randomly selected for participation in the treatment group. The remaining 49 agents who were assigned to the control group were trained after the post-experiment period.
Agents assigned to participate in the field experiment were randomly assigned to be treated during the treatment period, or to be treated after the end of the experiment. Due to the restriction that agents should be trained with other agents from the same team, half of the teams were randomly assigned to the treatment group, whereas the other half was assigned to the control group. Each team was then randomly split up in different training groups, due to size constraints of the training centre.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization was done on the PI's office computer
Main randomization unit: team; secondly: agents of teams were randomly assigned to training groups
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
86 agents selected for the experiment
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
3 treatment; 3 controls
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
April 10, 2009, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
June 19, 2009, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Is public data available?
Reports and Papers
This paper analyses the effects of work-related training on worker productivity. To identify the causal effects from training, we combine a field experiment that randomly assigns workers to treatment and control groups with panel data on individual worker performance before and after training. We find that participation in the training programme leads to a 10 percent increase in performance. Moreover, we provide experimental evidence for externalities from treated workers on their untreated teammates: An increase of 10 percentage points in the share of treated peers leads to a performance increase of 0.51 percent. We provide evidence that the estimated effects are causal and not the result of employee selection into and out of training. Furthermore, we find that the performance increase in not due to lower quality provided by the worker.
Andries De Grip, Jan Sauermann (2012), "The Effects of Training on Own and Co-Worker Productivity: Evidence from a Field Experiment", Economic Journal, 122(560), pp. 376-399.