Call Center Attrition remains a top challenge for contact center leadership. Everyone knows it’s a problem, but understanding why, can help you turn the tide.
The labor market today is tight. One of the last things contact center leadership wants to deal with is losing its quality hires and having to recruit all over again. Yet call center attrition is an ongoing issue. Understanding why agents leave can help slow the losses.
The Disadvantages of Attrition
Losing people is a problem for any industry, but the staff is often the primary cost for contact centers. Losing employees is painful to the bottom line and undermines productivity.
When people leave your company, they take knowledge with them as they leave. Plus, they take away the time and money you invested in recruiting, training, developing, and retaining. At the same time staff attrition hurts contact center management by:
- Lowering average call handling quality
- Prolonging queue times due to inexperienced staff
- Diminishing staff morale.
Of course, some staff attrition is to be expected and can even be advantageous (bringing new life and perspectives to a team). Yet, high attrition rates adds pressure on your existing staff who may have to take on more work or spend more time training new people, and it also takes team leaders’ time away from identifying new opportunities to develop current staff as they have to do more to support the new staff.
According to the 2016 U.S. Contact Center Decision Makers’ Guide, the average term for a customer service representative is 3.3 years. Sixty percent of the turnover rate was from agents quitting.3The mean annual agent attrition rate for 2017 was at 30%, not as awful as 2008’s record 42%, but still keeping up with the steady increases since the rate fell to 27% in 2011. The question, though, is why is call center attrition happening in the first place?
Causes of Agent Attrition
#1 High call volumes.
Putting agents on high-pressure outbound campaigns with unrealistic expectations is often overwhelming. The company is so eager to maximize calls that they undermine the agents’ efforts to develop a rapport with customers. This can dehumanize their role, lower interaction quality, and seriously damage employee morale.
Contact centers putting agents in a single dedicated channel of customer contact tend to have greater attrition rates. Asking agents to move between voice and text interactions, providing them with a digital dashboard to enable effective omnichannel transitions, can give their day more variety and improve their engagement.
Sticking your agents with boring, repetitive work where they spend all their days addressing the exact same issues can be tedious. Instead, use IVR call routing and presence tools to empower agents. This will see calls routed to the appropriate agent that can best handle them (leading to a sense of satisfaction) and make it easier to transfer calls appropriately when necessary.
#4 Lack of Flexibility.
Taking advantage of the cloud communications technology available today, companies can more often offer remote and home working opportunities. These help reduce the stress, cost, and time of commuting and enable agents to personalize a less stressful work environment.
#5 Lost in the Pack.
Did you know that smaller contact centers typically have lower attrition rates? That’s what the determined. This supports the idea that individual agents benefit from individualized attention and customized feedback.
#6 Poor scheduling.
Work-life balance is important to agents, particularly the millennial employee population that expects to be able to do much more outside of work. Drawing on the data available to identify staffing needs across shifts and make more efficient scheduling choices lets a company better plan for when agents are working or not.
#7 Ineffective leadership.
Whether your agents are working on-premises or remotely, their quality of work life will depend heavily on their relationships with leadership. Encourage your contact center managers to recognize success and reward hard work and initiative. At the same time, leaders need to effectively communicate objectives, , and strategies for success.
While Evolve IP can’t make your leadership better bosses, our cloud-based contact center solutions make life easier for both agents and managers. Check out the as an industry leader. Contact us today.