Contact center attrition has a significant impact on businesses. The cost alone is enormous, often exceeding thousands of dollars per lost agent. As customer care is a crucial part of any successful company, contact center agents form a vital but often fragile link in the business chain.
Several approaches to reduce contact center agent attrition exist, but to improve your chances of success, it’s crucial to understand the underlying cause or causes of the problem.
Root Causes of Contact Center Attrition
Several studies have found that a lack of coaching and feedback are primary causes of contact center agent attrition. Other factors include, but are not limited to, low salaries, inflexible schedules, burnout from dealing with customer complaints and frustrations, and lack of positive communication between contact center agents and their supervisors.
A major hurdle in overcoming this problem is rooted in the fact that many business owners have come to regard a high contact center agent attrition rate as the norm, resigning themselves to the reality of employees coming and going. It takes a fresh perspective to realize that it doesn’t have to be this way. The position of a contact center agent, as an essential part of any company, can and should be long-term, rewarding, and satisfying.
What, then, can you do as a company manager or business process outsourcing agent do to reduce contact center agent attrition?
1. Enhance training programs
Skimping on training sets new agents up for failure. If newly hired contact center agents feel a genuine effort is being made to equip them with the skills, knowledge, and experience needed for their job, they are more likely to be motivated to excel in their work and remain committed to it over a longer period.
However, no matter how extensive and thorough a training program is, it will be wasted on employees who are not a good fit for contact center work in the first place. Your HR team should work diligently to identify people with a good work ethic, a high ability to manage stressful environments, and positive communication skills that will enable them to become a vital part of your customer care team.
At ContactPoint 360, we focus heavily on the training aspect. We know that having tenured associates decreases your training costs, drives customer experience excellence and enables you to remain competitive with your pricing. Find out how we use technology to monitor agent productivity and use insights from speech analytics for training.
2. Skill development programs
Some agents have natural talent when it comes to the skills necessary for providing quality customer care, while others need more direction. Learning programs that focus on enhancing communication skills and understanding the intricacies of how your company works, its policies, and its goals will go a long way toward keeping a contact center agent engaged and invested.
Quality assurance should focus on offering agents helpful, constructive feedback that will encourage them to improve in a positive, non-stressful, and non-critical way.
3. Providing excellent software and tools
Operating a contact center at less than its optimum capability due to a lack of the proper software and tools necessary for smooth, effective functioning is an unnecessary waste. The wise business owner will do well to provide top-notch tech support, upgrade software regularly, and ask for feedback from agents regarding how technical difficulties may impair their work. Broker price opinion (BPO) agents working with contact center staff may offer their recommendations as well.
4. Customer satisfaction focused monitoring
Often, a contact center agent’s work is evaluated according to impersonal metrics such as average call duration or the number of calls per hour. This approach hugely misses the mark when the true measure of a successful agent’s work is customer satisfaction.
Positive feedback from customers regarding a particular agent’s work is far more crucial than the number of calls said agent handles in an hour. When agents know that they are not under pressure to quickly end a call and move on to the next one, they can give their full attention to each customer. That results in investing the necessary time to resolve issues fully and fosters a positive relationship between customer and company.
5. Train supervisors to coach
Contact Center supervisors should coach rather than criticize. Even after new agents have completed their training, they will benefit from continuous feedback to improve their work.
Typically, experts advise a 5:1 praise-to-criticism ratio—criticism, delivered in a polite, constructive, and non-confrontational way, will be more palatable when accompanied by a significant buffer of positive reinforcement.
Another essential aspect is encouraging collaboration and a supportive team spirit among the contact center agent staff–employees who know they can rely on one another will not feel isolated and lost when facing a problem.
Implementing these strategies in an organized, synergistic manner will almost certainly result in lowered contact center agent attrition, enhanced productivity, and a more positive work environment for BPO agents and their supervisors.