Call centers are tough work environments – to say the least. No matter how hard you try to make the workplace comfortable and rewarding, your call center agents are constantly dealing with the stress of long hours, tight quarters and angry customers.
A turnover rate of 20 percent per year is considered low in the call center industry, according to Kate Leggett, an analyst with Forrester Research. And some call centers have turnover rates of more than 100 percent per year.
As business leaders well know, call center turnover is a major drain on the bottom line. As we’ve mentioned before, the Center for American Progress estimates that for each $30,000 employee lost, most companies spend more than $5,000 in recruiting, hiring and training costs. And when you lose seasoned employees, you’re likely hurting the overall customer experience, which comes at a cost that is difficult to measure.
Offer Rewards and Incentives
Every employee wants to feel like their hard work is appreciated. Recognize standout employees with rewards such as bonus and raises, scheduling flexibility, increased authority, extra vacation time and/or gifts such as restaurant certificates. The money you invest in these key employees will be far less than the cost of call center turnover.
Some companies make the mistake of tying rewards and incentives to the length of calls, recognizing employees who keep them short. This is a mistake because you’re incentivizing employees to get off the phone quickly, whether the customer is happy with the resolution or not. Instead, reward employees for customer satisfaction. Consider using short customer surveys to find out which employees are excelling.
Reduce Workplace Stress
A significant percentage of call center turnover is related to employee stress. While you can’t eliminate all stress in the workplace, there are steps you can take to create the best possible environment for your staff members.
Start by meeting with the team and identifying the leading causes of stress in the call center. Are they having issues with the call center software that can be fixed? Are they required to seek supervisor approval for any sort of discount or credit? Are they working too many hours without a break? Working to solve the problems that are the leading causes of stress can have a huge impact on call center turnover.
Create a Strong Support System
Call center turnover rates tend to be lower in environments where agents feel like they have the support of management and supervisors. Are your supervisors regularly checking in with employees to find out how the job is going and what tools they need to make it better? Are they mentoring and coaching employees? If not, consider freeing more supervisor time for one-on-one interactions. Employees who feel like their boss is truly on their team are likely to be more invested. The more invested the employees, the lower the rates of call center turnover.
Set Career Goals
For some people, working in a call center can feel like a dead-end job. They show up every day, work the phones for eight or more hours, and go home exhausted. They might not recognize opportunities to move up, which can lead to call center turnover.
Create a program that offers key employees a path to better their careers. Promote successful employees from junior agent to senior agent or from senior agent to supervisor. Making it clear to your staff that they have opportunities for advancement – and increased pay – keeps them motivated and reduces call center turnover.