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CSR Management: How to Fire an Employee Without Leaving a Mark

No matter how hard we work to hire the best customer service representatives, sometimes it simply does not work out and the person is not cut out for the rigors of contact center work. Knowing when and how to fire an employee is one of the biggest challenges a manager faces.

Here are some tips for firing an employee without leaving a mark.

Did You Do Everything You Could?

Of course, no one in call center management likes to fire employees, especially in an industry notorious for low retention. So, ask yourself, "Did I do everything I could to help this employee be successful?" Some follow up questions may include:

  • "Did I provide a clear explanation of what this job entailed?"
  • "Did I clearly communicate what my expectations were for this role?"
  • "Did I treat this employee fairly and with the same respect as everyone else?"
  • "Did I address his/her concerns and provide helpful feedback that would lead to improvement?"
  • "Did he/she receive adequate and ongoing training?"
  • "Did he/she have the tools necessary to do his/her job effectively?"
  • "Did his/her colleagues help him/her along the way?"
  • "Is there a different position within the company that would be a better fit?"

New call-to-actionIf the answer is "no" to any of the above questions, continue to address your concerns with the employee and remember to document along the way to ensure that both you and the employee are on the same page and you have a paper trail in case you should need it later.

However, if you provided that CSR with all the tools, training, and support they needed to be successful and they continued to underperform, it is best to let them go. Here is how to handle that process:

Be as Direct as Possible

Firing an employee is not the time to be passive-aggressive. Do not sugar-coat the news or dance around the point. Be clear and direct in your decision and the reasoning behind it.

Provide a moment for the employee to absorb the information. Then, answer questions and provide next steps (i.e. paperwork).

Exiting Gracefully

It is overwhelming for both the employee and their colleagues to field questions following a termination.

Have a direct supervisor box up the employee’s items during the discussion to minimize interaction between the terminated employee and his or her colleagues. Always accompany the employee out of the office and ensure they have all of their personal items and contact information for future questions.

Business References vs. Personal References

Create a policy that does not allow the company or its managers to provide business recommendations or references for exiting employees. That said, companies can and should provide basic job information such as dates of employment, title, wage information to future employers, as this process provides consistency.

On the other hand, personal references are perfectly fine. Supervisors and managers can be allowed to provide personal references based on their personal experiences without causing liability to the company.


Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, some employees you hire will not work out. When you decide it is time to let someone go, knowing how to terminate an employee in the proper fashion can foster professionalism and respect between the remaining employees and the company.

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