Agent attrition is not a new concept in the contact center. The average lifespan of a contact center agent is traditionally short, resulting in human resource departments trying to understand this costly trend, usually turning to some kind of retroactive metric. But these do not offer predictive insight. These metrics can show why an agent left, but not how the company could have kept them. There are ways to lower contact center attrition that can not only keep the agent but increase productivity and efficiency.
Training and development
Onboarding and initial training should ideally be focused on the mission of the company; the why behind every aspect of the job, cultural immersion, and the relationship between them all. Often, I see a significant amount of time being spent on how to use call center software and how to navigate between various pieces of technology instead.
Tip 1: Streamline the number of call center software and technology providers as much as possible and only purchase technology with a simple and intuitive interface.
- Having fewer technology providers should deliver fewer interfaces and navigation styles for the agents to understand and jump between. This should also enable better synergy between each piece of technology - providing benefits with reporting, single sign on, and administration efforts.
- This approach provides a level of consistency that can reduce the training time spent on technology - decreasing agent stress and anxiety, which can have a positive impact on attrition.
Employees can be positively motivated through reward and recognition, culture, purpose, and performance goals. Negative incentives, i.e. disciplinary actions due to performance, exist as well but often only deliver short term gains at the expense of employee turnover.
Tip 2: Place the frontline call center agents at the center of the performance chain and ensure they’re regularly updated on all levels of performance and objectives.
- Deliver individual, team, and company performance metrics through a readily available system for all levels of associate.
- Encourage and facilitate competition, short-term and long-term performance goals for key metrics.
- Leverage tools that facilitate these practices with minimal effort/maintenance from leadership; ideally those with a systemic management and updating process.
- Performance Management tools with gamification would be the ideal solution.
Compensation / benefits
Compensation will forever be a key motivator that impacts retention rates but it’s not necessarily the most important component. Benefits can play a larger role in a person’s consideration to stay with or leave a company. Benefits beyond health insurance, 401k options, and some paid time off present an opportunity to drastically influence retention.
Tip 3: Provide work from home flexibility and/or flexible schedule options.
- With the right call center software architecture (Cloud) working from home is easily attainable.
- If working from home isn’t an option aim to offer flexible schedule options that allow employees to manage work-life balance with greater ease.
Culture / work environment / team
With the younger generation, culture seems to be a key feature in a company’s ability to attract and retain talent. You don’t need free massages, on-site bars, or in-house chefs to have a cool culture; you simply need likeminded leaders who genuinely care about their employees and have a desire to invest in their work-life happiness. If you get that part right, culture generally has a good chance of retaining employees but if you want a boost in your culture efforts give this tip a try.
Tip 4: Build comradery through peer competition and peer engagement.
- Contact centers have more measurable metrics than nearly any industry, so why not put access to those metrics to good use? Peer competition on any metric that the agent has significant control over is a golden ticket to shifting your culture.
- Create or purchase a solution that defines a process for peer competition, provides easy access to individual and team performance metrics, and allows agents to engage.
Part of the mission / strategic leadership
In my experience, it’s common for frontline agents to not fully be aware nor understand the impact they make upon the bigger picture and how their individual performance can influence the entire organization.
Tip 5: Clearly outline and regularly update how each employee fits into the big picture and how their performance impacts the company mission.
- Contact center agents steer the company’s public impression of what it’s like to do business with them.
- Ensuring agents know their impact and importance can influence retention and their sense of ownership of their performance.
Take care of your most important asset in the contact center - longevity can lead to increased customer satisfaction!