3 Tips to Minimize Agent Turnover in Your Business
According to the U.S. Contact Centre Decision Makers Guide, call centers saw an average of 60% agent turnover rate by mid-2017. Unfortunately, this rate (or much higher) is common in the industry, and continues to be among the top issues faced by call center managers. However, there are steps you can take to retain hard-working, loyal employees.
Here are three tips to help minimize turnover in your call center.
Careful Hiring Practices
Most turnover occurs within the first 30 to 90 days of employment. So, the more thorough your hiring process, the more likely you are to reduce turnover. Remember, not everyone is cut out to be a successful customer service rep. The work can be stressful, especially on days when agents have to deal with multiple demanding, unhappy customers.
You want people who are consistently upbeat and empathetic. Create a profile of your ideal agent — their skills and personality traits. Then, search for candidates who match that profile. Testing and pre-employment assessment tools can help. For example, behavioral testing will help you (and the candidate) learn if they have the right temperament to be a CSR. Skills testing confirms they can type at required speed and handle other tasks.
In the interview, ask questions. Discuss the product or service they will be representing. Some people will come right out and tell you that they wouldn’t feel sorry for someone having an issue with that product. Now that’s a red flag!
Conduct background checks, too. This verifies the candidate’s personal information, and it helps ensure workplace safety.
A second interview helps, and in general, give yourself enough time to be thorough. If you are hiring in a hurry, people may leave in a hurry!
Once you have selected the best candidates, training is critical. New hires often quit because of inadequate training. They get nervous, flustered, and frustrated. So, tempting as it is to get agents online and “earning their keep” as quickly as possible, remember that turnover is very expensive. Cutting that corner is a sure ticket to spending the time, money, and resources to recruit a replacement.
As part of training, include tests and exams. Find out where the teams’ weak points are. Retrain right away before they hit the floor, feel inadequate, and quit. Investing more in up-front and ongoing training almost always provides a greater long-term return.
Once the classroom training is complete, leave time for nesting on the floor. Easing new agents into their job by using experienced reps and/or supervisors as mentors is a great way to make those first calls less stressful. It also shows care and builds trust between the new agents and the management and supervisory teams. This goes a long way toward agents giving you the benefit of the doubt when there is an issue instead of simply walking off the job.
Remember, the number one reason employees leave is because of their supervisor. Take the opportunity during training and nesting to build bonds and trust that will make a difference, and ensure that your supervisory team is up to the job.
Retention is no accident. With today’s extremely low national unemployment rate (3.8%), good candidates are at a premium. Your agents could go looking for — or be lured away to — greener pastures. However, they are much less likely to leave if they feel happy and appreciated in their position with your call center. So, how do you incentivize your agents?
- Offer competitive pay and benefits Be as flexible as possible in scheduling
- Give agents the authority to get creative, if necessary, to make callers happy
- Find ways to add fun to break times, or provide free snacks to keep everyone well-fueled
- Thank them for a job well done
By hiring the right people, training them thoroughly, and creating an environment that makes them feel valued, you will have a happier, more productive workforce that will greatly reduce agent turnover and greatly increase customer satisfaction with your call center.