Customer Experience News & Trends

Beating turnover: 4 ways to keep agents from walking away

Turnover could be derailing all of your contact center operations. Here’s why – and what you can do to avoid it more often.

When agents leave – whether your rate of attrition is 3% or 103% – count on these three things to happen:

  1. Costs will increase. It takes money to advertise positions and pay the staff members who will have to interview and select agents. Contact Center Pipeline’s Jay Minnucci estimates its between $3,000 and $5,000 per agent.
  2. Quality will decrease. New agents almost always make more mistakes – and those mistakes cost companies money to fix and repair goodwill with customers. If a typical mistake costs around $50, Minnucci estimates a new hire will make about $3,000 worth of mistakes until he or she is up to speed.
  3. Consistency will drop. Turnover leaves contact centers understaffed. If centers aren’t prepared for former agents’ absence, leaders or workforce management (WFM) tools will not staff properly, and service will be inconsistent.

Turnover will likely always exist. So leaders want to focus on ways to reduce it. After all, it’s easier to handle a 3% turnover rate than a 103% rate.

Some practical ideas:

  • Be open. Communication creates a positive work environment. If agents know what’s going on at every level of the organization – rather than sitting by as closed-door meetings and management whispers happen – they’ll feel more comfortable and confident in the center.
  • Recognize good and consist work. Regular praise and pats on the back help agents see what they do is important. And people – customers and employees alike – stay where they feel appreciated.
  • Reward as well as possible. Agents also stay where they are compensated properly for their efforts. Offer salaries at local industry standards. Offer incentives for attainable, challenging tasks and goals.
  • Offer flexibility. Agents will stay with employers who recognize and accommodate their personal lives as much as possible. Reward with flexible schedules. Take interest in their outside lives.

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