High agent turnover is a problem shared across the contact center space. On average, attrition rates in contact centers are between 30-50%. In extreme cases, centers experience more than 100% attrition. In comparison to all other industries, this is exceptionally high where the national average hovers around just 15%.
As you are probably aware, this is a very expensive problem. When considering recruiting, hiring, and training, research by the Everest Group indicates an estimated direct cost to contact centers between $3,100 and $5,100, to replace a single lost employee. What’s more, is that because of a temporary drop in productivity, companies miss out on revenue, which is estimated at an additional $2,000 - $3,000 per lost employee.
Here are 4 strategies to start reducing agent turnover in your contact center today:
1. Improve your recruiting and hiring process
Get the right people from the start.
This is the very first step you can take to reduce agent turnover, and likely the most effective because if they were never a good fit for your contact center there is little you’ll be able to do to save them later. First, make sure new hires meet minimum standards in regards to verbal and written communication. Next, check to see they have desired personality traits, because studies have shown that the right personality traits significantly increase job performance, which in turn increases job satisfaction, and therefore decreases churn.
To begin, you'll have to determine what the "right person" for the job looks like. You could do this by compiling a list of desirable traits or even surveying your current staff to see what it is they all have in common. Once you've determined what you are looking for, have your recruiters specifically ask for these traits in job postings. For example, your job ad could list traits as; "friendly, organized, and remains calm under pressure" Then, to confirm your applicants really have what it takes, roll out a hiring pre-assessment. Some common personality tests employers use are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test (MBTI), the DiSC Behavior Inventory, and the SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire.
2. Facilitate a superior on-boarding experience
Provide agents with the foundation they need to succeed.
This is the time when the risk of agent attrition is the highest, so it’s important to get it right. On-boarding processes will undoubtedly vary from company to company, but there a few universal rules you can apply to ensure your process is successful.
First, be sure your on-boarding process is clearly defined. Having a structured on-boarding plan will give new hires comfort in knowing your expectations and confidence to move forward. On the other hand, if the on-boarding experience is disorganized, disengaging, or ineffective, new hires will likely reflect this onto your organization as a whole and take it as a queue to abandon ship as soon as possible.
Next, be sure the learning objectives of initial training are applicable, clearly outlined and easy to understand. When defining learning aims, it may be helpful to reference Bloom's taxonomy, which is a set of three hierarchical models used to classify educational learning objectives into levels of complexity and specificity. The Call Center School provides a full track engaging e-learning courses you can add to your training toolbox as well. For an easy to implement, proven solution, our agent on-boarding classic is Frontline Fundamentals.
With an organized process and proper training in place, the last rule here is to avoid sacrificing quality in order to reduce the amount of time agents spend in on-boarding. Cutting corners will not pay off in the long term. If agents aren’t aptly prepared when they hit the floor, their job can quickly turn stressful, lead to an overall feeling of job dissatisfaction, poor performance and ultimately, agent turnover.
3. Cultivate a great company culture
Keep morale high with a bit of fun, ample support, and consistent recognition.
You could hire the best employees there are, but a negative culture or poor morale will send them running for the door. Creating an exceptional company culture isn’t always easy, but you can begin just by integrating little fun, because let’s face it, taking call after call all day isn’t always the most exhilarating task. Take actions to add some excitement (or at least amusement) with some games or a friendly competition.
Beyond the fun and games, it's also really important to offer plenty of support where it’s needed and recognition where it’s deserved. Equip your supervisors with skills to to identify when agents need help and proper coaching techniques to elevate not only the agent’s skills but overall job satisfaction. To learn more about properly training your contact center leaders check out our Supervision e-learning program, covering everything from motivation and retention to performance measurement and coaching.
4. Provide opportunities for growth & development
On-going training and options for advancement are essential.
If you skimp on investing in your employees, they won’t invest themselves in your company. Providing your agents with ongoing opportunities for learning, growth, and personal development will not only result in a stronger workforce, but will instill a sense of pride, value and dedication. One of the simplest and most effective ways to accomplish this is with on-going training.
While investing in employee development, you’ll want to be sure these people stick around so your company reaps the benefits. Many people leave organizations due to a lack of opportunities for career advancement. Don’t let this be you! Give your agents somewhere to go before they go elsewhere with a clear path for professional growth.
Reducing contact center turnover is not an easy task, it requires dedication, some factors will always be outside of your control, and results may not be immediately apparent, but don't let that discourage you from taking action. The sooner you start implementing these strategies, the sooner you will see quantifiable results.