June 4, 2019 by Siobhan Climer
The turnover rate for the contact center is between 30%-45% annually – and it sometimes hits the triple digits! Compare that figure to other industries which hover around 15.1%, and the problem becomes clear. It is extremely difficult to find and retain good customer service talent. This has long been a problem in the contact center, and it is high-time call centers put strategies in place to reduce agent attrition.
Consider this strategy for increasing employee engagement and reducing turnover. It’s all about providing a path forward and celebrating milestones.
The Challenges Of The Contact Center
While the attrition rate is higher in the contact center, the reasons agents leave are much the same as anywhere else. They may have conflicts with management. They may be seeking a higher salary. They may be considering a change in careers. Despite these similarities, the contact center faces a few distinct challenges to agent retention. Specifically, many potential candidates and new hires identify a common fear about their new job.
Dead End Job: No one wants to feel like they work in a dead end job. The mere notion that an employee’s current position has a low ceiling can sap the motivation and enthusiasm out of them. Unfortunately, the contact center has a reputation for low upward mobility.
One way to improve the work experience of your agents is to ensure the technology you use is providing the most efficient process and best-in-class tools to drive business. Consider test-driving Cisco or Genesys platforms during one of our Demo Days. Join our team in the lab to safely test a contact center platform in your environment and see live-action results.
Reducing Agent Attrition
To reduce agent attrition, the contact center must find a way to overcome these challenges, and any strategy for agent retention must have an answer for them. The good news is that once you identify the primary reasons agents leave, you can develop strategies to mitigate these factors and reduce agent attrition.
Career Path: When interviewing a potential new agent, make it clear that this job has a future and lay it out for them. Start off agents as specialists, then offer promotions to analysts, then senior analysts, and finally supervisors. By creating these intermediary positions between agents and management, you can appeal to an agent’s ambitions and allow them the opportunity to excel. Part of this career path might also include expanded privileges after a year. If an agent can stay for a full year, they earn the privilege to work from home one day a week. This further increases agent satisfaction and keeps them looking forward to their second year.
Contract-to-Hire Model: Consider switching to a contract-to-hire model for your agents. Start any new agent off as a three or six month contract employee. This provides both the company and the agent a well-defined point to review their performance and job satisfaction. If, after this period, the agent is still enthusiastic about the job, they may be worth hiring full time.
Career Milestones: These two new policies naturally combine to form a career trajectory with clear milestones. Rather than a dead end job, there is a well-defined future with the company.
- 3 – 6 Months: Agent earns full-time employment
- After 1 Year: Agent earns the ability to work from home
- After 18 Months: Agent becomes eligible for promotion
Learning Opportunities: Find ways to engage agents in professional development opportunities. By building their knowledge and passion, they can find new roles in the contact center and broader business models.
Creating A Better Work Environment
Everyone wants to feel like they are working towards something better. Part of the problem with careers in a contact center is that many of the candidates who land in these roles worry it’s a job with no future. By mapping out the future an agent can have with your company, you will find more employees willing to walk that path. At the same time, the contact-to-hire policy provides everyone the opportunity to walk away early if it is not working out. By following this strategy, your call center can reduce agent attrition, keep top talent longer, and improve your customer experience.
Like what you read?
Contact us today to reduce agent attrition.
Mindsight, a Chicago IT services provider, is an extension of your team. Our culture is built on transparency and trust, and our team is made up of extraordinary people – the kinds of people you would hire. We have one of the largest expert-level engineering teams delivering the full spectrum of IT services and solutions, from cloud to infrastructure, collaboration to contact center. Our highly-certified engineers and process-oriented excellence have certainly been key to our success. But what really sets us apart is our straightforward and honest approach to every conversation, whether it is for an emerging business or global enterprise. Our customers rely on our thought leadership, responsiveness, and dedication to solving their toughest technology challenges.
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.