Call center agent turnover (also known as call center attrition) is one of the greatest challenges call centers face regularly. Agents and employees leave for a variety of reasons from low pay, low flexibility, to lack of in-house growth opportunities. Consider these 9 ways to reduce agent turnover and retain valuable employees.
What is the Cost of Agent Turnover?
Most call center costs fall into three categories: administration, labor, and technology. While administrative and technological expenses often remain the same or stable, labor (agent) expenses fluctuate. These expenses include hiring and training agents, agent and supervisor wages, resolving their errors, and offering rewards. These expenses can easily take up to 55-80% of a call center’s costs. And the higher the attrition rate, the more these expenses increase. The real cost of high call center agent turnover includes:
- Low-to-bad quality of service
- Frustrated and dissatisfied customers
- Lower productivity and collaboration
- Interrupted and unreliable service
- Increased call center expenses (time and money spent hiring, recruiting, training, management, poor service levels, etc.)
Reasons for Call Center Agent Turnover
In order to understand how to reduce call center agent turnover, you first need to examine why you may be losing these agents? Is it that your company is hiring unqualified agents? Are agents overburdened or not trained enough? Here are some of the most common reasons why agents leave:
- Hiring unqualified employees
- Insufficient training
- Repetitive and mundane work
- Insufficient compensation
- Overburdened; working overtime
- No-to-low professional growth
- Low employee satisfaction
- Poor or competitive work culture
How to Reduce Call Center Agent Turnover?
Call center attrition is a common problem call center managers face. As a call center manager, you must understand how attrition affects your call center. Once you understand the problem, you can proceed to improve the conditions of your call center agents to reduce call center turnover and improve customer satisfaction.
Let’s look at 9 ways to reduce call center attrition and keep your agents.
1. Hire Smartly
Employees who know how to do the job and are familiar with its challenges and rewards are more likely to stay than employees who are unprepared and not qualified. As such, you must hire smartly by focusing on bringing quality applicants on board. When hiring, look for experience, confidence, personality, collaborative attitudes, and skills. You may even expand your search to include referrals and remote agents. Define your job descriptions and roles well — be specific — and highlight your expectations and goals. Potential applicants should know what they are getting themselves into.
2. Prioritize Enhanced Training Programs
Even when you hire skilled talent with years of experience, it is important to train them for your specific call center. If you want high-quality work, you will need to invest the time in training agents accordingly. Don’t settle for only in-house training and free workshops, webinars, or training programs like ICMI. Help them identify key trainings, courses, and certificates in the industry and participate in them.
Furthermore, embrace coaching culture to help teams work together, collaborate, and support each other. Your agents can learn not only from managers and supervisors but also from each other. And so, creating a positive atmosphere for learning and collaboration can go a long way in making agents feel confident.
3. Make Internal Communication Easy
Establish clear communication channels that are easy to navigate. In order for agents to meet your goals, they need to know what is expected of them and how they can achieve those goals. As such, make your company goals and expectations clear. Furthermore, offer constructive and practical feedback consistently; that is, advice and feedback they can actually put to use instead of vague ideas. Lastly, they need to know who to connect with when they have an issue or want to bring forward new ideas. By enabling an easy flow of communication, you can ensure issues are picked up on quickly and improvements can be made.
4. Demonstrate Focus on Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is essential to the success of any call center. If your customers and callers are not satisfied, you will lose valuable accounts and revenue streams. As such, emphasize the importance of offering personalized and considerate customer service and care. This means teaching your teams to work towards improving customer experience, contact quality, increasing first call resolution, tracking and measuring customer success metrics, and more. Furthermore, you must track call center KPIs such as average handle time, calls per hour per agent, and so on. These metrics help you ensure no one agent is overworked and that work is distributed well.
5. Give Importance to Employee Experience (EX)
Most businesses look outward — customer experience and success — to quantify success. However, focusing on and improving employee experience, directly and indirectly, impacts how your customers interact with your business, and by extension, customer satisfaction.
And so, it is simple, if your employees are unhappy and dissatisfied, it will affect their work and encourage them to leave. For these reasons, it is important to identify what concerns or struggles your employees are facing and how you can help fix those issues. After all, happy employees are able to convert more prospective customers into sales.
6. Provide High-Quality Tools and Software
Next, ensure your teams have the right tools they need to do their jobs within the quality you expect. Cheap services and tools can easily hinder productivity. For example, bad phone service can lead to dropped calls, missing audio, etc. Another example is using call center tools like an advanced IVR system to help distribute or manage incoming calls equally to all agents to ensure no one agent is answering a large number of calls. This helps agents balance their work and focus on customers better.
Therefore, do your research and find tools, software, and features that can support the work your employees are doing. A high-quality call center software can help employees easily track contacts and their histories, update lists and interactions, and communicate well internally and externally. This does not have to be an expensive affair. Most service providers offering virtual call center software can help you get multiple tools in the same platform and integrate other apps into your existing system. Find the one that works best for your specific needs and teach users how to use these tools to their benefit.
7. Offer Considerate and Relevant Recognition and Rewards
It is important to not just be aware of the employee experience. As a manager, it is your job to find ways to maintain their motivation and desire to stay. And one way to do this to recognize their efforts and hard work. Offer rewards that are relevant and useful to your employees. Some ways you can reward your employees include:
- Written and verbal praises
- Awards and accolades
- Bonuses during milestones, reviews, end of the year, and holidays
- Events such as employee appreciation day, birthdays, work anniversaries
- Having a corporate wellness strategy
- Gift boxes or gift cards (for shopping, traveling, dining)
8. Give Access to Skill Development Programs
Not all employees are happy staying in the same position doing the same type of tasks, year after year. Always provide your employees with the opportunity to develop their skills and to keep learning and growing. This indirectly helps your business as employees learn and stay up-to-date on new trends in their field. They can then apply these trends and strategies to your business.
9. Provide Opportunities for Growth and Promotions
Lastly, try to offer opportunities for employees to grow within the company. This may be moving to a new position or department or promoting internal employees to new open positions. Employees that don’t see growth opportunities in their future with your company will go elsewhere to find motivation. Agents who see that their hard work and skills lead to career progress will work harder and do better.
Improve Turnover Rates with Better Call Center Tools
Global Call Forwarding can help you find the right call center tools and features to support your agents’ workload. We can get you set up with a robust and easy-to-use small business phone system. Call us today to learn more!