Telephone answering service call center turnover has a huge cost for TAS operators. The right training dramatically reduces turnover and more than pays for itself.
Your telephone answering service call center will have a certain level of turnover, typically ranging from 40% to 50% per year, and depending on your staff, location, and local conditions. What you may have not recognized is that your actual turnover cost, including the costs for on-boarding another agent, can approach between $5,500 and $7,900 per agent, depending on the nature and location of your call center.
The Cost of Call Center Attrition
A 2010 article by Rosanne D’Ausilio, the first of many in this area, shows how a 30% turnover rate in a 100 seat call center can lead to a recurring annual cost of $225,00, as an example. Quite a drag on annual profitability.
Using a discounted cost of capital of 10%, this amounts to a one-time present value cost of $2,250,000. This figure would reduce dramatically the resale value of your TAS at time of merger or acquisition.
There’s still another cost that’s difficult to calculate – the reduction in team cohesion and focus that results from turnover. As subtle as it is, the subtle loss of focus takes managers away from valuable supervisory and support efforts for agents. This ultimately reduces close rates, reduces customer satisfaction, and negatively impacts customer retention.
Facing Objections to Training for Call Center Agents
Some telephone answering service call center managers may believe that they can’t afford to provide more training than simply going over basic scripts with new hires, and having them sit with a group lead on whisper for a day or two. The reasoning could be that training costs are lost when the new employee quit, so that costs can be controlled by not investing in training beyond that needed to get new employees up and running.
Unfortunately, human learning has been shown to benefit most from:
a) alternating training and sleep cycles (train today and repeat tomorrow), from
b) periodic retraining on old topics, and
c) periodic training on new topics.
Because of this, a one-and-done approach for new hires does not create highly productive agents who excel in close rate and customer satisfaction. It fills chairs with agents, but it doesn’t create top-performers.
The overall best answer to reducing call center turnover and improving call center agent performance probably lies in better hiring and training practices. With respect to hiring, referral programs have been shown to have productivity and turnover advantages compared to standard hiring programs in some cases. Training has produced performance and turnover reduction gains by extending training beyond initial “script” style training to another level focused on overall company goals, introduced along with some variation in daily tasks to increase job interest.
Training to Reduce Call Center Turnover
Both correlative evidence and intuition support the connection between training and call center turnover reduction.
For example, author Rosanne D’Ausilio, PhD, writes about recent studies that show that increased training led to significant reductions in turnover for two cases studied. She writes that
- Ryder Truck Rental found it had a 19% turnover for trained employees, but 41% for those who didn’t participate in training
- Guest Quarters Suite Hotels reported a correlation between employee training and employee satisfaction, and guest satisfaction.
Reducing Call Center Turnover – Summarizing What We Know
Putting it all together, it looks like you can have better performing agents, happier customers, and lower staff turnover if you include these tips in your call center management, particularly for telephone answering services.
- Use referral and “hire a friend” programs to supplemental traditional off-the-street hiring
- Provide immediate training on the basics
- When delivering heavy training, break it up with activities and time-off (sleep) and repeat after sleep
- Add second tier training on company goals and advanced techniques
- Add periodic special topics training and discussions to reinforce basics and to add new skills
- Provide some regular weekly variation in tasks
- Monitor employee and customer satisfaction
References – Telephone Answering Service Call Center Training
- AVOXI SmartQueue Linux-Based VoIP Call Center Solution
- Training’s Impact on Turnover in Connections Magazine, Jan 2013
- Support Industry.com 2010 – The Impact of Training on Turnover Shows how to estimate turnover costs
- How to Reduce Call Center Turnover