Techniques for Better Retention of Call Center Agents
What’s the biggest expense in your call center? If you’re like nearly every call center on earth, the top item on your budget is recruiting, hiring and training new agents. Turnover tends to be high in call centers – higher in some industries than other – which makes the constant cycle of hiring a necessary evil.
Why a “necessary evil”? Because, obviously, you can’t run a call center without agents. But there are steps you can take to slow the revolving door of call center agents out of and into your business, says Pipkins’ (News - Alert) VP of Sales Bob Webb in a recent article published by TelecomReseller.
“The value of call center agents is indisputable; how to best retain your investment in them is more complex,” writes Webb. “Experts offer suggestions that range from an agent recognition and awards program to soliciting their participation in community service projects. While these suggestions may solve short-term problems, a long-term solution is needed to create loyalty and job satisfaction.”
In other words, the best way to keep agents is to ensure they like working for you. So how do you make sure your call center agents actually like their jobs?
For starters, says Web, make sure your employees are as knowledgeable as possible. Informed agents are agents in control of their jobs, which leads to better job satisfaction.
“Keeping agents informed is a good strategy for improving morale and conveying their importance to the company,” writes Webb. “Knowledge is power and agents who are kept informed regarding daily schedules, schedule changes, and adherence information are better equipped to perform their duties. Communication is critical in any organization. Tools that improve communication between supervisors and agents while reducing administrative burdens results in improved efficiency and productivity.”
This can be accomplished with a key combination of technologies and techniques such as workforce optimization, training, dashboard and notification tools and a free flow of information.
Next, says Webb, consider making employees’ schedules as flexible as possible. If employees are able to achieve a decent work-life balance, they will be far more satisfied than those with a rigid schedule. Even better, says Webb, considering using home-based agents…the happiest agents in the contact center industry.
“At-home agents bring a level of professionalism to their job that enhances the quality of service delivered and increases not only customer service, but agent retention as well,” writes Webb. “Experts suggest the average age of at-home agents is 38, compared to 23 for on-site agents.”
And not only does the home agent model keep agents happy, it has financial benefits to the company, as well, reducing the need for physical facilities.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli