7 Steps to Lower Call Center Turnover Rates
Average annual agent turnover rates around 30% burden call centers with significant costs. Here are 10 strategies to reduce agent attrition to generate substantial cost savings.
- The Right Incentives
- Optimize Hiring Process
- Responsibilities and Career Development
- Streamline Processes
- Eliminate Stress at the Root
- Constructive Personalized Feedback
Determine what motivates your agents, and come up with relevant and matching incentives. Ensure that the incentives available and criteria for achieving them are clearly laid out and communicated.
Survey your agents to determine what incentives would motivate them the most, and provide a variety of incentives as each agent has their own preferences.
Some agents may prefer monetary rewards, others formal recognition, and others more skill development. A well thought-out and executed incentive program gives agents goals to aim for and improves motivation. This develops a more enjoyable contact center, reducing turnover rates.
Improving the hiring process is one of the most effective ways at lowering agent turnover. This starts with an understanding of the criteria that makes the optimal call center agent. It continues with a targeted hiring process that filters out agents that are not a fit.
Ensuring your call center has a strong orientation program helps newly-hired service representatives adapt to the company’s culture and values, and create good relationships with other employees.
A very cost-effective and popular hiring practice is employee referrals. Give your best agents incentives to refer their friends for job openings, and you will find quality agents for a fraction of the price of traditional hiring practices.
Clearly setting and communicating job responsibilities and expectations is vital to lowering turnover rates. Employees have a right to know what is expected of them, and what they are measured against. Not communicating this clearly and up front can lead to confrontations and tension down the road.
Devise a clearly laid-out career development path, as agents are always thinking about their future. If you do not paint a picture of what career progression looks like at your call center, agents can feel there is no long-term future for them and will eventually look to other call centers for change and career advancement.
In most call centers, agents have to deal with and toggle between multiple desktop applications and windows. Furthermore, they have to deal with repetitive and manual processes that could be automated. This inevitably leads to frustration, stress, and lower efficiency.
Integrating desktop systems and applications into a unified screen is a wise investment that will improve the effectiveness of your agents and reduce stress levels.
Examine your current call center workflows, and identify areas that can be automated. Workflow automation reduces the manual steps agents are required to take, improving efficiency and giving agents time to work on more meaningful tasks.
There is a positive correlation between coaching time and agent retention. Unfortunately, many supervisors are so overwhelmed with gathering and making sense of data, listening to calls, and solving issues that they are not able to dedicate enough time for coaching.
Coaching develops an agent’s skills and provides them with personal attention, important factors in deciding whether to stay in a call center.
If you have time constraints coaching your agents, hire full-time supervisors dedicated to coaching. The investment should far outweigh the costs associated with agent turnover because of lack of coaching.
Ask any call center agent what the most difficult part of their job is, and high stress levels will be the most likely response. Call centers are inherently stressful environments, but there is always room to improve.
The first task is identifying what is causing stress. Formal surveys, focus groups, and employee exit interviews are the most direct and best way to get honest feedback. Ensure these are done anonymously to get the most accurate results. Stress can be caused by management, fellow employees, policies, processes, or other conditions.
The next step is to prioritize these causes of stress in terms of their impact and importance, and develop a plan to deal with them.
This increases your level of engagement with agents and shows that you are thinking about them and trying to improve the environment in which they work. This makes them feel more appreciated, and combined with lowering their stress, should lower turnover rates.
Most call centers provide the same feedback and training to all agents based on averages. This can be ineffective since there will still be many agents where such feedback and training are not relevant. This unnecessary training can lead to boredom and turnover.
Providing constructive feedback on a one-to-one basis may be more costly initially, but it will provide the personal attention your agents desire, while improving their skills and effectiveness faster. The extra investment in personalized feedback should pay off with improved call center efficiency, and reduced agent turnover.
Are you in the customer service industry? You may be interested in reading the latest report below, covering major trends for this year to help you with your customer service strategy.
TOP 10 CUSTOMER SERVICE TRENDS FOR 2012
DOWNLOAD THE FREE 6 PAGE REPORT!