Do you know how expensive call center attrition can be?
Voluntary attrition of an employee is never a good thing.
When employees leave, businesses have to spend time and money to replace them with new hires. This can drive down efficiency and profit margins.
But how do you reduce employee turnover?
In this article, we’ll talk about call center attrition, what causes it, and how it affects your business. Then, we’ll cover 10 no-nonsense tips you can follow to reduce attrition rates at your call center.
This article contains:
(Click on a link below to jump to a section of your choice)
- What is Call Center Attrition?
- What Causes Call Center Attrition?
- How High Attrition Rates Can Affect Your Call Center
- 10 Simple Tips to Reduce Attrition in Your Call Center
Let’s jump in.
What is call center attrition?
Call center attrition refers to call center agents leaving their firm.
Every company suffers from employee turnover, but agent attrition is a severe problem in call centers and contact centers across every industry.
How to calculate call center attrition
You can use this equation to find out the attrition rate of your call center or contact centre:
For example, let’s suppose you started the year with 100 employees but ended the year with 90 agents. This means that ten people left during the year.
Your attrition rate will be:
What causes call center attrition?
Here are some of the main reasons behind staff attrition in call centers and contact centers:
1. No empowerment
Call center and contact centre agents spend most of their time engaging callers and responding to their queries — so things can get monotonous pretty fast.
If you’ve given them no flexibility in communicating with customers or they lack the required training and resources to help callers, agents can feel helpless and unempowered. And when they can’t satisfy customers, agents can quickly feel demotivated and look to leave, increasing attrition rates.
2. Poor organizational culture
With agents staring at screens and talking on the phone most of the day, it’s easy for them to feel isolated from everything around them.
Strong team culture and close bonds can help teams feel less isolated. When your agents interact, they learn from each other, and it helps them motivated and keeps them excited about the work they do.
But the problem?
Most call centers don’t facilitate the environment for teams to build bonds and learn from each other. This causes most call center and contact centre agents to grow alienated with their work, increasing attrition down the line.
3. Lack of recognition
Another significant problem with most call centers is the emphasis on performance problems while disregarding recognition for achievements.
For example, if a caller complains about poor service, an inquiry will occur; but if several customers commend an agent’s professionalism, they might not get the recognition they deserve.
This could happen because there aren’t enough managers to identify and recognize the achievements of their team members.
But whatever the reason, a lack of recognition doesn’t provide an incentive for agents to stay at contact centers for too long — and you can expect agent retention rates to decrease.
4. Unfair and subjective treatment
While there are tons of metrics to analyze call center agents’ performance objectively, managers can subject agents to unfair reviews.
These unfair and subjective opinions don’t benefit anyone.
Managers can wave a low review score in the face of agents and deny an increment or promotion. But at the same time, they’re causing agents to trust them less and less.
Eventually, it comes to a point where the agents stop envisioning a future for them at the call center and decide to quit.
How high attrition rates can affect your call center
A high attrition rate in your call center can lead to:
1. High recruitment and training costs
Every time an employee quits your call center, they leave a space that a new employee should fill. However, hiring a large number of recruits increases costs related to the recruitment process and training.
Studies show that replacing a frontline employee can cost a business around 20% of an annual salary. For example, if a call center with 100 agents has 30 employees leaving every year, it could translate to turnover costs of over $170,000 every year.
2. Reduced customer service quality
When experienced agents leave, they’re replaced by new agents who may not know the nuances of dealing with your customers.
This can result in incorrect answers to customer questions and problems when interacting with customers the first few times, decreasing customer satisfaction.
3. Low team morale
With colleagues leaving regularly and your agents having to work with new team members every couple of weeks, employee morale can drop quickly. This can make your agents feel overwhelmed and unmotivated.
Remember, a call center needs a cohesive team for agents to stay focused and motivated on their work. Team bonds aren’t easy to build when coworkers keep changing regularly.
4. Key performance indicators (KPIs) and cross-selling issues
High agent attrition can easily disrupt your KPI goals for the year.
Performance metrics like first-time resolution, average handle time, and call length will suffer as the employee turnover rate increases. Additionally, new hires will struggle to acquaint themselves with the processes of your call center.
Moreover, new agents won’t be able to notice opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling quickly. The skills to identify these opportunities only come from employee experience.
5. Difficulty in implementing new technologies
When employee attrition happens, new hires come in and they spend the first couple of months trying to understand how things work at your call center.
They could struggle to understand how they can use the current systems to provide a good customer experience.
If you’re planning on upgrading your systems around this time, you’ll have to hold the idea. Even experienced agents can sometimes face issues when a new system is implemented.
Implementing a new system when recruits are struggling with what’s already in place can be hectic for your staff — putting undue pressure on each team leader.
10 simple tips to reduce attrition in your call center
Now, let’s look at ten ways you can reduce overall attrition rates in your call center:
1. Hire the right people
One of the main reasons for staff attrition is hiring candidates who aren’t a good fit for the job.
It’s essential to identify which types of people suit your call center best — especially when most call centers now operate virtually.
You can do this by creating an ideal persona for call center agents, accounting for job requirements, business values, and culture. Remember to update job descriptions to match exactly what you need from agents.
Implementing a thorough interview process with multiple levels can also help you filter out candidates who aren’t a good fit.
2. Train continuously
When you don’t give an employee a chance to improve, it’s easy for them to feel demotivated and leave.
While many call center managers agree that training is essential, the training you provide must be regular and timely. It should also cover a broad range of topics like company offerings, customer demographics, engaging customers professionally, and even personal development.
You’ll see the benefits of a good training schedule reflected in different ways — each employee will be much happier and focused, and you’ll see customer satisfaction levels start to rise.
3. Encourage open communication
Regularly speak to your call center or contact center agents and ask for feedback on your systems and processes. Ask them which aspects they’re happy with and what they think needs improvement.
Making communication a one-way affair can dishearten agents and give the impression that you’re not considering their opinions, causing a high turnover rate.
Be transparent with business information and ask for their thoughts on improving the workplace. It’ll help agents feel understood and appreciated.
4. Focus on building an excellent team culture
The more your call center agents feel isolated from each other, the higher the chances of attrition.
You can prevent this by focusing on building up a strong company culture. It sets the background for how employees communicate, how they can work together, and how training happens in your call center.
However, call center culture isn’t just about the team working together to achieve objectives.
Excellent company culture should encourage work-life balance, promote personal and professional growth and provide employees with career development opportunities.
Want to know how to build your team culture?
Read our guide on improving company culture to learn more.
5. Provide consistent feedback and recognize top performers
Providing feedback to agents is essential if you want to reduce attrition.
Consistent feedback helps employees track their progress. They’ll know how far they’ve come and what else needs to improve. It increases agent motivation and agent satisfaction — keeping them focused on their targets.
Remember, recognizing employees’ good work is just as important as regular feedback in preventing agent turnover.
When employees go above and beyond to serve customers, make sure they’re appreciated in front of the entire team. It’ll make them feel appreciated for all the effort they put into keeping customers satisfied.
6. Provide a long-term career path for employees
If agents can’t see a future at your call center, it’s normal for your business to have high turnover.
The lack of development opportunities is another primary reason for high staff attrition rates. If a specific call center or contact center agent shows promise, consider training them to become a supervisor.
Your current frontline employees should eventually become team leaders so they can head teams of their own. Not only does this show them a clear path to career progression, but it also helps you expand the workforce under the guidance of more experienced employees.
7. Create a customer-centric environment
Performance metrics are essential, right?
However, most call centers emphasize quantitative metrics over customer service quality.
When you place more importance on just numbers, it’s natural for customer service levels to drop.
Instead of focusing solely on quantitative performance metrics, build a customer-centric service environment, and use quality assurance methods to improve it over time.
This helps agents to provide the best value to your callers by making a personalized connection with them. Your customers will be more satisfied, and your agents will also experience high levels of job satisfaction.
8. Give agents autonomy over customer interactions
Using call center scripts and standard protocols are typical for any call center.
But repeating the same words to callers day in and day out can be exhausting — ultimately reducing employee engagement.
To prevent employee burnout and increase engagement, let them take ownership of customer interactions to a certain degree. Create a set of guidelines that broadly detail what needs to happen, but let your agents use their judgment and creativity to help callers find solutions.
Your agents will then be more focused on helping callers find solutions, increasing engagement rates and interest in the job. Moreover, customer and employee satisfaction levels will increase in the process.
9. Leverage technology
No matter how focused they are, agents won’t get to help customers without the right tools.
Using tools like proper VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) software can help call center agents handle callers more efficiently. Moreover, a CRM will be essential for tracking interactions with leads.
But remember, you need to keep track of employee performance to provide feedback and recognize high-achievers. You need good productivity management software to keep your call center agents focused.
That’s where Time Doctor can help you!
Time Doctor is a powerful tool used for productivity management and time tracking. It’s used by large corporations as well as SMBs to boost team productivity.
With Time Doctor, you can:
- Track how long your agents spend on calls and other work.
- Prevent call center agents from idling at work.
- Generate real-time reports to analyze the performance of call center agents.
- Use the Chrome extension to monitor productivity across other call center tools.
Check out the complete list of Time Doctor features.
10. Hold exit interviews to understand how you can improve
Regardless of your actions to reduce attrition, there’ll still be a percentage of contact center employees who leave.
Instead of determining what went wrong yourself, hold an exit interview with every outgoing employee to learn why they’re leaving. You can then understand whether their reason for quitting is personal or related to your business — and decide what you can do to improve employee retention.
Attrition affects all workplaces, but call centers have historically high agent attrition levels.
This guide can help you understand the steps to reduce attrition rates at a call center.
You might not get attrition down to zero. But armed with our tips and a tool like Time Doctor, you’ll be able to reduce employee turnover so your call center can function efficiently!
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.