The “black sheep” of the customer support and service industry, call centers are notorious for a high turnover rate, which can contribute to employee and customer dissatisfaction. With an unprecedented number of professionals leaving the workforce as COVID-19-related job security dies down, millions of dollars are being funneled to this vital industry in an attempt to maintain retention rates and limit call center churn.
You want to save resources and find qualified, reliable and professional call center agents to stick with your team for the long haul - but how? Understanding call center churn, why it’s crucial to minimize it and using these four tips to help retain your support and service personnel can help you keep your call center agents engaged and loyal.
What is a “churn rate?”
Customer churn rate, or the average number of employees during a given period divided by the number of employees that left during that period, times 100, is most commonly calculated weekly, monthly or annually. It helps companies gauge consistent software or program user rates while counting accrued losses. Determining call center churn helps improve customer retention by focusing on customer service onboarding and training, prioritizing good communication (both internally and externally) and using customer feedback to provide superior results.
Call Center Statistics
- 30-45% of frontline call center agents are replaced annually. (If the call center has more than 500 agents, turnover rises to over 50%.)
- It can cost $10,000-15,000 to train just one new call center agent.
- Call center agents working with AI are 69% more satisfied with their job than agents without access to the latest technology.
- It takes nearly eight months for a new call center employee to get up to speed.
Why You Care about Call Center Turnover
Though significant call center turnover leads to higher accrued costs, as reflected by the above statistics, it can also affect customer service quality and team morale, making it exponentially harder to create a positive and motivating work environment. In addition, when call center agents - especially those working remotely - constantly turn over, productivity drops substantially, taking nearly 10 weeks for new team members to reach “average” performance.
Has COVID-19 Affected Employee Attrition Rate?
Though COVID-19 greatly affected the entire world, including the working population, it triggered a nine-year low in employee attrition. Now, as much of the workforce is returning to work, research shows that a post-pandemic turnover “tsunami” is on its way, with 50 percent of workers predicted to find a new role this year. Danny Nelms, president of The Work Institute, shares,
[j]ust prior to the pandemic, you had about 3.5 million people leaving their jobs monthly, then that dropped to 1.9 million in April 2020. [....] we're already seeing a substantial return of voluntary turnover. It's only going to increase.
With call center turnover already higher than other industries, you can’t afford to get swept up in the upcoming turnover tsunami. Avoid call center churn by making your agents comfortable and successful in their roles with these four principles.
4 Ways to Minimize Call Center Churn
1. Source and Hire the Right Call Center Agents
Building the right customer service team starts with sourcing, vetting and hiring team members capable of handling a fast-paced, high-stress call center environment with grace and efficiency. Taking the extra time - and using the right talent sourcing partner - to find the suitable call center agents sets the foundation for a strong team.
2. Set Clear Objectives for Success
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are key to helping your call center agents achieve success on your team. Without clear goals - like a number of calls/tickets to resolve, requests to answer, time per call, etc. - it’s easy for employees to feel overwhelmed. Defining and communicating role-specific KPIs can help empower your team to confidently meet - and exceed - expectations, whether working in-person or remotely.
3. Incentivize and Recognise High Performance
Competitive pay and benefits are important to attracting and retaining high-quality customer support agents. However, recognizing and awarding achieved KPIs or exceptional support can be more influential in not just keeping team members motivated to provide next-level service but in encouraging them to increase their expertise.
4. Create a Healthy Company Culture
No matter which industry your call center serves, it can be a challenge to maintain company culture - especially when managing fully or partially remote teams. Take the time to know what your team culture looks like (and how you want it to look), and use available resources from companies succeeding in creating a strong work culture to help create a healthy, maintainable team culture of your own.
While these four tips can help lower employee attrition rates, taking advantage of other resources to build and maintain effective customer and operational support teams only makes you a more effective leader. Find other ways to help strengthen your team and embrace the future of remote work on Instant Teams’ blog.