Calabrio has unveiled its latest report, detailing first-hand agent sentiment on the current state of the contact centre, the impact that “The Great Resignation” has had on contact centres, and the importance of employee-centric practices.
The findings were announced at the annual Calabrio Customer Connect (C3) conference. This year Calabrio’s annual conference focused on The Connected Workforce.
As “The Great Resignation” sweeps across the global labour landscape, many businesses are left both shorthanded and questioning what they could have done to keep their workforce.
The study, entitled “Health of the Contact Centre 2021: Agent Wellbeing and the Great Resignation,” surveyed US and UK contact centre agents to uncover transformational opportunities for the contact centre from their perspective.
Calabrio previously surveyed agents on the same topic in 2017. Whereas the 2017 study was completed before the accelerated shift to remote work, 65% of this study’s respondents were speaking from experience in a hybrid or remote role. This year’s findings reveal that contact centres must prioritize agent retention and engagement or face a dangerous cycle of attrition.
The report found that contact centre agents suffer tremendous stress from modern workforce challenges, including rising customer expectations, growing call volume and a shaky work/life balance. According to the study, one-third of agents report feeling acutely stressed multiple times per week. This is an increase from 2017, when just 25% of agents reported that feeling.
Even more importantly, most agents also report that their companies are not doing enough to address agent stress. This agent sentiment has created a never-ending cycle of stress and disengagement, where a third of agents are considering leaving their jobs within one year, and half plan to leave within two or three years.
“Agents are a brand’s only defenders and key ambassadors during this pandemic, and they continue to face one of the most difficult customer service eras in recent memory. Staffing levels are often low while customer expectations are high.
“Understanding the agent experience is the first step in providing the support that they need. This report illustrates that now is the time for contact centres to prioritize the creation of a targeted agent engagement and retention plan,” said Tom Goodmanson, president and CEO at Calabrio.
“As C3 begins, we are excited to share our findings and work together with industry peers and leaders to improve the agent experience, including pushing for a more connected workforce, increased agent flexibility and a greater investment in agent-empowering technologies.”
Other takeaways from the study tie into the C3 theme of The Connected Workforce, including:
- Money Isn’t Everything: The report found that there is a disconnect between the most asked-for items from agents and their top reasons for leaving. For example, the top ask from agents is more pay; however, the top reason for leaving is being unhappy in the job. More money is the number-three reason for leaving.
- Flexibility Isn’t Just About Location: While most agents report that they are now working in their preferred environment, more flexibility is still the second most common agent request.
- Technology Investments Are Working, But We’re Not There Yet: More agents in this year’s study feel they have the correct technology to handle challenges compared to the 2017 study, but “lack of tools” and “lack of data” are still the top two reasons agents report for why they fail to solve customer issues.
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