Agent attrition, or call center turnover, has an enormous impact on contact center operations. According to a study conducted by ICMI, over 40% of call centers surveyed estimated that the cost of agent attrition in their call center was over $25,000 each year. That's too expensive of a problem to ignore.
All call centers will experience some degree of turnover; but, there are many causes of agent attrition that can be addressed. In this article, we'll talk about some of the most impactful steps you can take to minimize strain on agents and reduce call center turnover in your business.
How to Reduce Call Center Turnover
With just a few simple steps, you can begin to reduce agent attrition rates in your call center. We walk you through the whole process, from interviewing to employee rewards programs.
1. Reevaluate your call center's hiring strategies.
According ICMI's 2012 call center study, 35% of call centers surveyed reported that the cost of hiring a new agent ranges from $1,000 to $3,000. 46% of total respondents said that their costs for hiring a new agent were even higher. Clearly, your call center can't afford to hire agents who aren't a good fit for the team.
As you move through the hiring process, consider each candidate's personality, communication skills, and cultural fit for the company. Make sure that every candidate is provided with clearly defined job roles and examples of common tasks so that they understand what the position will be like on a day-to-day basis. You might even consider offering additional incentives to attract higher-quality candidates; many call centers choose to offer agents the opportunity to work from home to make the position more appealing. (And with cloud-based call center software, remote agents are easy to manage and monitor.)
2. Optimize agent training and on boarding programs.
A comprehensive agent training program is one of the best defenses against call center turnover. Agents that have been properly trained feel more competent and confident, and your customers will notice the difference.
Although some agents require more training than others, all agents should be included in the initial on boarding and training program. This will ensure that every agent understands not only his or her job role, but also the company's values and essential practices. Communal agent training also helps to build relationships between employees and foster a team-oriented environment.
3. Implement "customer-first" agent metrics.
The best call center agents are those that are able to make real connections with their callers. Measure agent performance on metrics like first call resolution to reward agent behavior that enhances the customer experience. After all, when your customer satisfaction and agent morale are directly linked. When your customers are happier, your agents are happier, and vice versa.
4. Keep an open line of communication and coaching.
Agent training and coaching should continue beyond initial on boarding. No matter how experienced your agents may be, you should take the time to set up group or 1 on 1 coaching sessions. During these sessions, call center managers provide constructive feedback and discuss areas for improvement. Agents that receive positive and ongoing feedback feel more confident, and thus are more likely to enjoy their day-to-day activities.
5. Develop agent rewards and recognition programs.
So, you've implemented new and improved training programs, revised your agent performance metrics, and scheduled individual coaching sessions on a regular basis. With all of these changes, your agents are performing better than ever, and your call center turnover rates are down. The next step is to implement programs that reward and recognize your agents' progress. These programs are another form of incentive, and they should be based on the achievement of key metrics as well as peer recognition.
More Information: Reducing Call Center Turnover
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