Reducing Agent Turnover Rates in the Contact Center

Overcoming the challenge of keeping customer service agents


The past year has seen unprecedented employee turnover rates that experts dubbed "The Great Resignation." Some industries, like contact centers, were hit harder than others in this mass employee exodus.   

In today's work environment, employees expect flexibility on when and where they work. Experienced staffers quickly leave behind companies that can't keep up with those who offer better work environments. As a result, older and outdated contact centers are experiencing turnover rates as high as 45%.   

This turnover is devastating for their business as they must replace and train staff, only to be in the same situation again a short time later. Not only is this costly, but it results in poorer customer service. With the time it takes to provide proper training, leaders should be trying to keep their current reps at all costs.   

How can call centers improve employee experience and retain their top talent? Here are four critical issues leading to attrition and what organizations can do to counteract them: 

Problem #1: Inefficient Call Routing 

The ways calls are routed through the contact center and come down the interactive voice response (IVR) menu impacts your reps in how customers treat them and how effectively they can perform their job duties. Getting to the right person on the first try is critical not only for customer service but the employee experience as well.  

Without IVR optimization, customers could be waiting on hold for long periods before they talk to an agent. If the rep has to transfer them again when they finally get an answer, customers are often ready to explode. Your agents have to deal with angry customers multiple times per day because of inefficiencies in the system and nothing they have done wrong. It makes their job much harder than it has to be, and burnout in these situations is common.  

Proper call routing will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your call center, ultimately leading to better customer service and happier customers.  

Problem #2: Inefficient Self-Service 

A modern IVR focused on self-service can verify the caller's identity before speaking with a rep, such as asking for the last four digits of their social security number or credentials. It can also discover why the customer is calling and potentially guide them to a self-help solution.   

For example, modern CCaaS platforms can automatically send requests to refill a prescription or inform the customer of their current balance without needing a rep. Chatbot integrations can also walk customers through solving common problems to find a solution without speaking with an agent.  

Chatbots and other self-service tools handle routine issues and can cut down calls often from minutes to seconds, making the experience better for customers. It also gives agents more time to help people with more complex issues. Overall, fewer calls allow agents to make customers happier, which ultimately creates a better work environment. 

Improving Customer Loyalty Through an Omnichannel-Powered Contact Center

Problem #3: In-Office Requirements 

Today's workforce values mobility, with their eyes on improved health and work-life balance. Modern contact centers enable agents to work from anywhere with a digital device and internet connection. Calls are routed to agent accounts when they are free, making the job attractive to stay-at-home parents, digital nomads, and those who want to avoid an unnecessary commute or office dynamics.   

Suppose your contact center fails to offer the same flexibility and ability to work from anywhere. In that case, you are likely missing out on top talent. Most agents are happier when they are not in a call center, which leads to better customer service and retention. Agents who cannot find flexibility with your contact center can quickly find somewhere else that offers them more attractive working arrangements. 

Problem #4: A Lack of Support 

Providing customer service can be an overwhelming and morale-damaging position. Call center burnout is a serious problem: one study found that 74% of call center employees are at risk for burnout. Many call centers aren't realizing when their agents are struggling or need help. This lack of support can be a significant underlying cause of high turnover rates.   

New technology helps administrators monitor call sentiment and detect when an agent needs assistance. They can see the general emotions of callers, whether happy or angry, and how well the reps are at tackling these calls. Instead of leaving agents struggling during particularly challenging interactions, supervisors can take over or jump into the conversation in real time.   

Feeling supported during difficult situations is critical for employee retention. It also enables leaders to provide effective training and see who is most productive on specific topics translating to happier, more efficient agents who are more likely to stay. 

Improve Retention for Happier Employees and Customers 

Your customer service agents are the face of your company and essential to the customer experience. Happier and more experienced reps mean fewer costs in hiring, onboarding, and training new talent. The effort that contact centers put into creating a better employee experience will translate overall into retention, efficiency, and better customer service. 

Please get in touch with us if you would like to learn more about cloud-based contact centers that can help your business boost employee retention.

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Overcoming the challenge of keeping customer service agents

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