Breaking the High Attrition Rates in the Call Center
December 11, 2012
While hiring and retaining employees has always been a time-consuming, tricky prospect, in a call center, it’s even more so. Call center work is few people’s career of choice, and these positions often don’t pay very well. As a result, contact center turnover is some of the highest in the business world. This translates to high costs for the company: the constant need to recruit, hire and train agents, only to lose them again within months, takes time and capital.
Many companies make basic mistakes when hiring for call center positions, according to a recent blog by Stephen Heath, writing for cloud-based contact center solutions provider inContact. Avoiding these mistakes could help lower turnover.
Hiring agents with previous call center experience, while it seems like an obvious choice, isn’t necessarily the right route. While it’s true they are more likely to know the ropes and require less training, their enthusiasm for the job may not be as strong as you’d like. Often times, these people have been in the industry too long, and they are frankly burned out on the job.
More successful contact centers look for different things in a candidate to ensure longer tenures. There are, in fact, some people who enjoy call center work. These people are usually friendly, enjoy talking to people and find helping others a satisfying aspect of their job. They work well with others, are personable and like a busy environment.
“What really makes a great CSR (News - Alert) [is]the same thing that makes someone fun to be around; being intelligent enough to pick up process, friendly enough to be able to chat with anyone, anytime, and finally, positive enough to be able to always keep a smile on their face, even when calls are getting rough,” writes Heath.
An additional aspect to retaining agents is to maximize what people do like about contact center jobs: flexibility. Allowing agents to work the hours that best suit their schedules as parents or homemakers is another plus, as is hiring individuals who are more likely to make a career out of call center work. Many contact centers have found success with agents for whom telephone work is highly suitable because of disabilities: disabled veterans, for example, or the visually impaired.
Other contact centers have found both success in retention as well as cost savings by moving to a home agent model. Home agents have lower turnover rates and are generally more reliable workers than those based in a physical call center. With today’s cloud-based contact center platforms (such as inContact’s), agents may be located anywhere in the country or anywhere in the world and still be an essential part of the contact center: all that’s required is high-speed Internet access, a browser and a headset.
If your contact center is losing too much capital to recruiting and hiring, perhaps it’s time to shift the model to one that works better for contact center agents. Chances are, you’ll find it works better for you, as well.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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