Do You Need to Reduce Contact Center Attrition?
Contact centers experience extremely high attrition rates, between 30-45 percent, typically, which can be almost have the staff at the high end. This can cause significant challenges in operational continuity and service delivery, as the hiring and training process takes time and uses resources that are better served elsewhere – not to mention an ongoing lack of experience in serving customers. So, how do contact centers increase retention? According to Steve Woosey of The Forum, there are several ways to reduce attrition rates.
Key opportunities include: skills development, communication, promotion/progress, management style, and work-life balance. But, how does a contact center execute these five efficiently?
Personal development is one of the highest motivators for an employee. Enhancing agents’ skills benefits the company, customer, and agent. As agents continue to show progress and development, a good use of resources is skill training. Excelling at a new skill breeds a sense of pride, creating a multi-skilled staff. This will make the contact center much more efficient and able to handle more than one task, now that agents have been cross-trained. It also may mean that financial rewards are not necessary, as development and pride can be rewarding on their own.
Keeping everyone in the contact center involved and connected helps ensure agent loyalty. Attrition rates go up when agents feel disengaged from business and the common goal. Open communication between management and agents is imperative to keep business moving. Goals, statistics, and working patterns need to be openly displayed so employees can stay focused and in the loop. Web-based technology and intranet sites are popular for these practices.
There are many opportunities for growth in a contact center. Positions include agents, coach, team leads, HR, resource planning, and finance. Businesses prefer to hire internally, so it is vital that agents communicate with management about their progressive goals. By working together, agents learn what it takes to move up the ladder. Contact centers should offer opportunities for agents to try out the positions they desire. Whether it is a “day-in-the-life” or development program, experimenting can give the extra push and motivation.
Managers have a responsibility to make the contact center an enjoyable place to work. Agents should feel valued because of their impact. It’s great to like co-workers but, the same feeling should apply to management. They should be human, accessible, take the agents’ feelings into account, and work hard to help them reach goals; work shouldn’t be torture.
Contact centers need to remain mindful of work-life balance for agents. Family-friendly legislation gives agents more flexibility to meet both personal and business needs and creates more of a lifestyle schedule option to accommodate home responsibilities without interfering with work responsibilities.
It all comes down to open communication between management and agents. Without that, the turnover rates will stay high and attrition will never go down.
What tips will you implement in your contact center to retain staff?
Edited by Erik Linask