It’s simple: If you can’t engage and retain employees, you’ll have trouble satisfying customers, too. Company culture consultant Stan Slap puts it this way: “If you can’t sell it inside, you can’t sell it outside.”
Of course, call centers are notorious for high turnover rates. But if you’re a call center leader, it’s your job to combat that damaging trend. If you don’t, your customer service will suffer, and your call center operations will too. Don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to improve your turnover rates, including better agent training and recruitment practices. First, let’s understand why it matters.
Why is Call Center Employee Retention Important?
Poor agent retention has a domino effect that hurts your budget. Here’s how:
Unproductive floor time
New agents need about eight months on the job to reach regular performance and productivity levels. Imagine the benefits of having eight months of regular productivity if you just managed to hold onto that senior agent!
Recruitment and hiring costs
Setting aside time to sift through resumes, interview candidates, and negotiate packages—all this takes up valuable time from your managers. Recruitment might also pose advertising costs. All in all, you could be looking at spending anywhere from $5,000-$7,000 on each new hire.
You might be short-staffed when you lose agents and have to pay other agents overtime. On top of that, your customer experience might suffer while new hires learn the specifics of their new role. They might add hiccups to the customer call or take longer to process a request. Average handle time and hold times increase, while eventually, customer satisfaction decreases.
Common Causes of Low Call Center Retention
Call center attrition is widespread, so there must be some common denominators. Here’s why you might be losing your agents:
Stress and burnout
High call volumes and angry customers can easily stress out your agents. These stressors might be the result of poor scheduling, inadequate training, or insufficient technology. Almost 74% of call center agents are at risk of burnout.
You’re not the only call center on the block—if your agents notice more attractive packages elsewhere, they won’t hesitate to leave. And who can blame them? The best way to show agents you care is to pay them fairly.
Half of all employees quit because of their bosses, while two-thirds say their managers have insufficient experience.
Imagine the time you can save by hiring the right call center agent. Often, candidates aren’t prepared for what call center jobs entail, and they leave within a few months.
Sometimes, it feels like the call center industry works against you. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
5 Tips to Improve Call Center Employee Retention
An agent is more likely to leave if you don’t invest in an effective retention strategy. Are you ready to hire, train, and keep solid agents? Let’s see how we can improve call center employee retention.
1. Invest in training
Today’s contact center agent wants to feel like a valued asset—and the best way to make that happen is with ongoing, quality training. Your agents will feel more confident and less likely to become another attrition stat. The good news is you have countless training resources at your disposal. Storytelling, tech, lunch-and-learn sessions, job shadowing, and incentives are all fantastic training methods.
2. Adopt a tech-forward mindset
Your biggest competitors are leveraging technology to improve every aspect of the call center operation. Follow suit and pay for software that’ll improve employee productivity and agent experience. The result? You’ll satisfy customers more and enhance call center employee retention. Don’t take our word for it. Here’s what one of our clients had to say about Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs.
“We saw a reduction in our abandon rate, an increase in member satisfaction, and an upsurge in agent morale.” – Mark Edelmen, VP of Digital Member Services, Stanford Federal Credit Union.
3. Improve the recruitment process
One of the best ways to improve call center employee retention is to start from the beginning. Your recruitment process should entail detailed screening, the right interview questions, and even pre-hire training quizzes to assess fit. A strong recruitment process helps you find employees that’ll stay in the long term. Look for soft skills in your candidate, too. Flexibility, communication, and assertiveness are harder to develop than technical skills.
4. Add more value to compensation packages
A slightly higher-than-average salary will improve call center employee retention. If budget constraints make that difficult, consider adding more vacation days, personal days, fitness allocations, and other benefits to buff up your offers.
5. Invite feedback
We all know how valuable customer feedback is—the same is true for employee feedback. Encourage employees to provide feedback on your management style, operation, and anything else. This is a great way to encourage open communication and catch issues before an agent leaves! Some places to gather feedback are:
- Anonymous suggestion boxes
- Performance meetings
- Training sessions
- Team meetings