© Rod Jones – May 2016

Agent attribution and overall staff turnover in call centres is a massive problem. Not only does this
lead to huge recruitment, training and administrative costs but the knock-on impact in terms of customer satisfaction is enormous. It’s a reality that almost every call centre manager faces on an daily basis.

Here are nine things that can be done to significantly reduce call centre staff turnover

1: Review your recruitment policies and procedures. Start by carefully looking at your Job descriptions and make sure they are in line with your actual operation. It is also highly recommended that you develop specific Competency Requirements and that these are included as part of the Job Descriptions. Be careful not to make the actual job look too attractive. It’s a tough job with huge prospects of growth. Be honest with your recruits.

2: Review your screening processes and tools. Are the screening, testing and profiling tools that are being used in your recruitment procedures still appropriate to your needs? In recent times there have been significant advancements in on-line agent and team leader screening applications. Investigate new approaches and new technologies. Invest in the appropriate tools; these will save your organisation a fortune in direct and indirect costs associated with ‘inappropriate recruitment’.

3: Re-look at your induction training. Does the induction process clearly set out the recruit’s
career path? Does the induction training clearly show the recruit how their day-to-day in the call centre will pan out; what are the management structures; what are the organisation’s expectations? Consult with HR, Training and specifically, with front line managers. Invest more time and effort into the pre-work induction phase to be sure of greater productivity, efficiencies and far longer tenure.

4: Review your Quality Assurance practices. Research indicates that one of the key factors driving high staff turnover is the lack of objective quality assurance feed-back and coaching. Are your QA assessors adequately trained to carry out effective assessments? Are they appropriately trained (and ideally, certified) to do effective feed-backs and professional coaching? QA when perceived by agents to be nothing more than ‘discipline’, is sure to drive unacceptable levels of attrition. A lack of respect for team leaders and supervisors is one of the most significant drivers of high staff turnover.

5: Develop a strong Coaching Culture. Encourage your agents to collaborate and to share personal experiences and learnings amongst themselves and with their superiors. Agents feeling secure in their abilities to share insights are far more amenable to receive constructive feedback from their line managers. They become far more effective in the workplace; they enjoy the work more and are far happier. Happy agents are infinitely more productive than unhappy agents and they provide far better customer service.

6: Are your communication channels clearly mapped out and thoroughly understood by all of your agents? Like all staff, agents have specific expectations. They expect to be given clear, concise directives and feed-back. They expect to be listened to by their superiors when they experience operational problems and challenges. They also expect to be listened to – and recognised and appreciated – when they contribute to the organisation’s operational efficiencies with ideas, insights and suggestions.

7: Create a ‘Learning Environment’. Lack of personal growth is a key factor driving high attrition. Developing a culture of learning and personal development is a sure-fire way to stimulate staff engagement and to reduce turnover. Make learning easy and make it fun. Provide books, articles, white papers and eLearning platforms and recognise and reward agents for utilising these resources. And learning doesn’t have to be work-related!Think out-of-the-box and provide learning resources for a wide range of personal interest subjects such as sports and hobbies.

8: Re-look at the working environment. Let’s face it, sitting at a workstation for the greater part of the day and making or taking calls is not an easy job. It can be incredibly stressful. But a really great working environment can make a huge difference. Investigate how ‘World Class’ contact centres address space planning, décor, Life-Work balance and ergonomics in their working environment. For example: Look at personal storage space and pause areas. (Chill rooms and recreational their (facilities)

9: Clearly communicate career opportunities for your agents. Even if you run a relatively small call centre or contact centre, keep communicating with agents that they are embarking on a real career as Customer Service Professionals. Reinforce the fact that exceptionally large numbers of managers and senior executives started their careers in the call centre where they learned from experience, the ‘art and science’ of customer service and what that means to the organisation.