Call center attrition rate has always been a concern for contact centers. Due to this, contact centers have always been under cost scrutiny. Agent churn has a major impact on the work aura, yield, and performance metrics. Every time a trained agent leaves, fewer are left to ensure optimum level of service, and in this period managers must endure the recruiting and hiring process to fill in the vacancies. This can have a major impact on the contact center KPI ultimately leading to poor customer service. The question is how better the customer service would be if the agents were satisfied with their work?
Apart from the cost of attrition that is included into the annual operating budget, there are additional hidden costs. The additional expenses including the loss of customers caused by agent attrition are not always acknowledged.Agent motivation could be one of the major reasons behind the churn over rate. However, the significant cost related to the churn can be reduced by keeping the agents happy and motivated.
So, let’s have a look at the few ways in which motivated agents can help in reducing the churn rate:
- Providing adequate training: The dynamic and unpredictable environment of contact center makes it difficult for agents to get the required training for delivering outstanding customer experience. Training sessions that are designed to teach new skills are critical as the agents can learn something new and inculcate the same in their work habit. Training materials could include E-books, seminars, interactive sessions with experienced individuals, etc. Call recordings also act as one of the valuable tools to help coach contact center agents.This not only provides motivation but in turn increases the productivity of agents.
- Hiring motivated people: Hiring right agents for the right job role can reduce the churn rate. Ensuring that the agents hired have right skills and competencies for the job can be highly beneficial for the contact center. Few best practices on hiring that have proven to reduce call center attrition are listed below:
- Creating a Compelling Job Ad
- Building an Ideal Candidate Profile
- Reaching as Many Qualified Candidates as Possible
- Using Virtual Interviews
- Using a Psychometric Assessment for Initial Screening
- Automating Reference Checking
- Rewarding the deserving: Rewarding agents based on their success rate can be considered as one of the most important aspects of achieving a good retention rate. Many contact centers have failed to understand the recognition system. They assume that “one size fits all” when they provide recognition and rewards to agents, which is not true at all. Implementing strategic, well-rounded programs— programs that result in happier, high-performing agents whose commitment and effort help strengthen valuable customer relationships can be of great help. Rewarding system can also acts as a feedback mechanism which will build a sense of loyalty to encourage outstanding performance.
- Respecting their opinion: Agents are on the front line of the contact center. They are the eyes and ears of the operating system and have ideas on how methods or scripts can be altered to better serve customers. They also analyze the requirements of customers and also about the trends being followed by the competitors. Respecting these ideas and rewarding those that are implemented will make the agents feel like their voice is being heard and that they hold an important role in the organization. In addition to the open policy of communication, managers should also promote their agents to encourage loyalty and rational job performance.
- Building trust & patience: Trust and patience are most important while dealing with contact center agents. Did an agent mishandle a query call, or were they not able to close the call well earning a furiated customer? It is going to happen especially with the new hires. This period should usually be considered as a coaching moment and not the time to fire and hire. Contact center managers should take necessary steps to take the situation in control instead of insulting and threatening the agents, and should also act as a true mentor to guide them. While coaching and training should be considered as a regular part of the agent experience, they should also have the permission to use recording software for reviewing their own performances and making changes accordingly.
- Providing right tools: Contact centers productivity is most directly linked to the amount of calls handled, call volume or how successfully those calls were resolved, and how much revenue was produced during the call. Contact center performance directly depends on the kind of technology, systems and software that are being utilized. Equipping agents with the right technology, allowing them to participate in the planning and management process, and providing them with flexibility in what they are doing will make the work easier at contact centers.
What all other ways do you think can possibly help in reducing the churn rate of agents in a contact center?