Reducing Call Center Turnover: Attrition Rates, Benchmarks, & BPO Statistics

reduce call center agent turnover

Employee turnover is a problem, and not many people take the steps to help lower it. Call center agent turnover rates are off the charts compared to other industries, but what can be done to fix it? Lucky for you, we have compiled some of the causes of call center agent turnover and how to properly address them. With nearly 20 years of experience providing call center software to improve team performance, these are the top tips we've found for reducing turnover and attrition in the call center.

We hope this list helps you pinpoint some of the major reasons for call center agent turnover and how to address them. If you feel as if we missed something, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are always updating our content with the ever-changing industry.

Call center attrition is when an employee leaves the company, and the company decides to not replace the employee. Call center turnover is similar, except the employee is subsequently replaced with a new employee.

Call center turnover rates can range anywhere from 35%-50%, compared to the average turnover rate of around 17%. Hiring and training new employees can take up to 10 weeks and cost your organization thousands of dollars.

How to Calculate Call Center Attrition and Turnover

Calculating employee turnover is a fairly simple formula. Simply divide the number of employees who leave in a time period (for this example, we used a year) by the average number of employees on payroll in that time period, and multiply that by 100.

Here's an example: Let's say a company had 14 employees leave in a year, with the average number of employees being 128.

Here is the calculation: 14 / 128 = 0.1093 x 100 = 10.93% turnover rate

Top Causes of Call Center Employee Turnover

There's no one single cause for contact center agent turnover. Each call center is different, but these are some of the most common causes of call center attrition:

Missed Opportunities During Call Center Training

One of the largest complaints is the lack of training employees feel they get. With call center turnover rates being as high as they are, managers feel pressured to get new employees trained as quickly as possible and ready to work. Without the proper training, agents can feel like they lack the resources to be successful in their job, which can lead to lower morale and eventually turnover.

Lack of Upward Mobility for Call Center Agents

Another major cause of contact center attrition is agents feel directionless in their career. According to an ICMI study on agent attrition, one of the most common responses to why an agent would leave a job is a better opportunity for growth elsewhere.

Low Median Wages for Call Center Employees

Salary is another major factor in agent turnover. Call center agents are often entry-level workers, meaning their salaries will start off low. Agents often have to deal with irate customers and work long hours, and easily get overwhelmed. All of this can lead agents to decide it's not worth it, and decide to look for opportunities elsewhere.

Overbearing Call Center Managers

The final factor that contributes to call center turnover is micromanagement. Like many jobs, employees tend to dislike when they feel as if their manager is watching their every move. Agents like being able to be creative when solving problems. No two issues are created the same. Some will require agents to get creative with their problem-solving abilities.

The bottom line: agents will leave and look for other opportunities if they feel overlooked and undervalued.

How to Lower Contact Center Turnover

Hire Employees Based Off These Factors

One great way to make sure you hire the right people from the start is to define your model employee. Identify some of the key traits your call center is looking for when hiring. There are many hard and soft skills great call center agents possess, and being able to spot those in new hires is a great way to get a good crop of candidates. Certain personality traits can be great indicators of how well a candidate will do when starting at a company. Some of these qualities include:

  • Working well under pressure
  • Dependability
  • Ability to focus on the ultimate goal
  • Critical thinking

Related: Learn more about the top call center employee qualities 

Create a Great Work Environment

Company culture also plays a surprising role in keeping call center agent turnover low. Employees who enjoy coming to work and enjoy the people they work with are much more likely to stay with the company. Making your employees feel appreciated can go a long way in helping lower agent turnover. Focus on the good, and coach the bad. Since money is oftentimes an issue with agents, offering financial rewards for meeting metrics can help further motivate them.

Call centers can be an exciting place to work, if you choose to make it that way. Be an awesome manager. Create a work life balance, and show you are invested in the wellness of your employees. If you treat your employees well, they'll do the same for you.

Proper Call Center Employee Training

Properly training employees and giving all the tools necessary to succeed is vital to keeping agent turnover rates low. Though these tools may be different from organization to organization, ensuring agents have the proper training to handle any problem that may face them is crucial. Some studies suggest in order to properly train call center agents, managers must train employees for 6-10 weeks. 

Another thing related to training is employee empowerment. Give your employees the ability to solve their own problems, in a way that works best for them. Not everyone is the same, and some people solve problems in different ways than others. If you have rules that are too rigid and an employee doesn’t succeed under them, they can be left feeling helpless. People like being creative, so why stifle that? Demonstrate to them how they are an important "piece of the puzzle", and vital to the operation.

Here are some of the other top tips for a better call center training program:

  1. Utilize multiple training methods and coaching styles
  2. Benchmark the right metrics
  3. Set goals for your employees

Related: Learn more about top call center training tips

Create a Path for Advancement

Let’s face it, everyone is going to want to move up in a company at one point or another. One reason agents may decide to leave is they feel as if their career is stagnant. Good call centers managers will clearly define a growth path, and work with agents to help them get there. Not only is creating a path for advancement important, encouraging employees to move up in the company is key as well. Giving agents the resources to further their career, especially within the company, is a great tactic to show them they come first.

Create KPI's that align with your companies values, and implement them across your call center. Measuring metrics that matter can help your agent improve, and move up within the organization.

Other Tips for Employee Retention

Employee turnover will always be an issue, in any industry. But if you and your team take the correct steps, you can easily lower your call center turnover rate. It's possible to break the trend and stigma that surrounds call centers. You want to retain your agents, not push them out the door. Treat your employees like the valuable resources they are, and you'll see dramatic drops in your call center agent attrition rates.

Your employees are the biggest asset to your company, whether you know it or not. Good employees can make an okay business a great one.

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