August 15, 2018 by Siobhan Climer
If you struggle to attract top contact center talent – or retain that talent for longer than 6 months – you aren’t alone. Contact centers report notoriously abysmal turnover rates, hovering somewhere between 35% and 40%; some contact centers even have attrition rates in the triple digits. The highest quality talent can be up to 12 times more productive than bottom-performers, who can cost the average call center over $1.5M annually.
So how can you attract top contact center talent? Technology might be the key.
Flexible Work Models
Those highly-qualified customer service representatives (CSRs) are skilled, smart, and know their worth. One way to attract top contact center talent is to offer flexible work models. Remote work and work-from-home is much more feasible today, and contact centers that adapt to this new working model are more successful at retaining top talent.
Why? Well, there are lots of reasons. For one, people don’t like commuting. In fact, every additional 20 minutes of a commute is equivalent to a 19% pay cut. Plus, dissatisfied agents often report that the thing that they disliked most about their previous call center employer was micromanagement. Bathroom breaks, individuality, and the freedom to make decisions; there’s a reason there are hundreds of stories and videos available on the internet that depict why call centers are “the worst”:
Flexible work models improve agent retention, sometimes by as much as 40%. They also provide an indirect benefit to your business. By reducing in-house costs, you can save money on facilities. Plus, you are also reducing carbon emissions – through reduced management and fuel consumption from unnecessary commutes – so you can also seek funding and marketing opportunities as a “green business”. Flexible work models that meet employees’ needs will earn you the good will of those you employ. The rewards are numerous.
Where do you go to attract contact center top talent? The answer is not always intuitive. Though your corporate website is easy to manage, it’s unlikely even top call center agents will be perusing your specific job listing. A keen recruiter will keep a close eye on the activities of prospective employees: the places they spend time, the schools from which they’re graduating, and the websites they use to connect, share, and search for work. While big-name job boards are an invaluable tool, they’re expensive and competitive. Don’t be afraid to try something new; the future of talent acquisition is always changing.
Besides general innovation, remember that word-of-mouth will never stop being a top recruiting method. By collaborating with your current employee team, you can develop leads as to where people found your job posting, where people looked for job postings, and other potential candidates that could be the right fit.
Empower And Support CSRs
Oddly, two of the most frequently-cited reasons for leaving a call center job are “burnout” and “boredom”. While these two states may seem opposing, the truth is that working in a contact center requires a balancing act. Contact center agents often describe their work as “repetitive”, but they also have screaming customers, long hours, low pay, and strict management. On top of that, one rather eye-opening statement by Jesse Jackson, a Contact Center Leader, states:
“In many cases the worst part of working in a call center is when the companies [sic] policies stop you from helping your caller/client. I believe that most people embrace a call center career because they like fixing things. If the process or the company doesn’t allow you to ‘fix the problem’, then it will be a miserable job.”
To attract top contact center talent, the culture of the contact center needs to shift to empower CSRs. Building a flexible culture that supports agents’ knowledge, develops room for career growth and development, and enables the CSR to feel good about what they are doing can go a long way toward increasing retention rates.
Use Technology To Your Advantage
Recruiters pride themselves – and rightfully so – on being adept at reading a candidate, determining their motivations, and making strong recommendations to company leadership. The truth is, though, that computers are far more skilled at determining candidates that will remain longer and provide increased productivity. Hiring algorithms outperform human recruiters by at least 25 percent.
This doesn’t mean it’s time for contact center recruiters to throw in the towel. On the contrary, to attract top contact center talent, recruiters are going to need to find innovative ways to use these HR software tools and personality profiles to support the hiring process. Recruiters will be the influencers and guides in using computer algorithms to improve performance numbers.
Technology runs deeper than simply the hiring process, though. Some of the best talent is just arriving on the scene in the form of the millennial and generation z groups. 78% of millennials report being influenced by how innovative a company is at using technology. Use this to your advantage. Integrate technology into your hiring process and into the omnichannel communication technologies you use to support your customers. Your employees and customers will thank you.
Attract Top Contact Center Talent Today
Reduce burnout and boredom, increase retention rates, and move your contact center one step closer to the front of the pack by integrating hiring and omnichannel technologies into the fabric of your environment. The right workforce management tool exists. The key is developing the expertise and knowledge to implement these technologies. Mindsight can help. We have over fifteen years of experience in the contact center and can help you create a workforce system that not only attracts top talent, but keeps it long after the competition has given up.
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It will never be the wrong time to plan a contact center strategy. Find out more about how you can create a contact center roadmap in the Mindsight eBook Customers Drive, You Navigate: Your Contact Center Roadmap to Customer Care Success.
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About The Author
Siobhan Climer, Science and Technology Writer for Mindsight, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She previously taught STEM programs in elementary classrooms and museums, and writes extensively about cybersecurity, disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. When she’s not writing tech, she’s writing fantasy, gardening, and exploring the world with her twin two-year old daughters. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.
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