Meg Monk writing for Playvox looks at how intelligent contact centre technology reduces agent attrition.
Contact centre agent attrition can be as high as 38% — and it’s not hard to understand why.
An agent’s work is frequently monotonous, stressful — thanks to angry customers taking out their frustrations on agents — and overwhelming with too many interactions to handle.
It can be a thankless, unappealing job, pushing employees to leave or causing potential employees to avoid applying for contact centre jobs altogether.
This all has a big impact on your business, leaving leaders like you up a creek without a workforce.
What Is Agent Attrition?
When we say agent attrition, we mean agent turnover, or the loss of employees due to resignation, retirement, company restructuring, health and medical issues, or other natural causes.
Sometimes attrition is due to an employee making personal or professional choices, but too often it is the result of a stressful or even toxic work environment that has become too much to deal with.
What Causes Contact Centre Agent Attrition?
There are many reasons for agent attrition. Some of the most common include:
- Poor management, including lack of proper training and on-the-job resources
- No opportunity for growth
- Toxic work environment
- High-stress roles that lead to burnout
- Lack of job incentives and benefits
- Poor pay or hours
- Lack of recognition
Contact centre agent attrition rates are particularly high because of low employee engagement and high stress.
Gallup found that 74% of employees reported burnout in 2021, but that some employees have no signs of burnout.
Those people share three traits: They’re engaged at work, have high well-being, and are at an organization with a strengths-based culture
The Cost of Agent Attrition
Agent attrition can have serious and immediate consequences as well as adjacent costs that impact your business long-term — if you don’t take action.
Attrition reduces the size and strength of your workforce by leaving positions unfilled. That creates gaps in your organizational structure that can slow down business, and replacing experienced workers while trying to maintain high-quality service is costly.
A study by Gallup found that as of July 2021, replacing existing workers costs one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary, or between $25,000 and $100,000 per employee. If you have high attrition, that adds up fast.
When attrition rates are high, the workload of your other employees increases, and they’re left with less support than they need.
That means the overall quality of your service goes down. Agents who are overworked as a result of attrition are at risk of also leaving, exacerbating the problem even further.
In addition, attrition can do a real number on the reputation of your company. Companies with high rates of attrition often get overlooked by potential job candidates wary of the work environment at these places.
Would you want to work for a company that is known for having high employee turnover? Probably not.
What Prevents Agent Attrition?
While you can’t always prevent your employees from leaving, there are ways you can combat attrition so they’re more enticed to stay.
Agents who feel like they are an important part of their company (i.e. highly engaged) and have the resources to improve their work experience are more likely to enjoy their jobs and stick around longer.
One of the best resources you can provide for your contact centre agents is intelligent contact centre technology.
What Is Intelligent Contact Centre Technology?
Intelligent contact centre technology uses artificial intelligence across channels like chat, social media, and phone to enhance a business’s services and streamline communication with customers.
How Intelligent Contact Centre Tech Can Reduce Attrition
Intelligent contact centres can help reduce customer service agent attrition by:
- Eliminating the number of repetitive questions agents have to address
- Empowering employees to provide better service on complex calls
- Reducing call hold time and increasing First Contact Resolution
- Automating workflow using AI
- Providing enhanced service
Eliminates Time Spent on Repetitive Questions
Your customer service agents’ work can become uninteresting and unengaging quickly if they have to respond to frequently asked questions over and over again. The reality is much of their job will be spent doing this without the services intelligent contact centre technology provides.
Intelligent contact centre technology helps your agents avoid these questions altogether by building them into an automated voice message system.
A customer who wants to know what hours you’re open during Memorial Day can simply dial your company number and be greeted with a voice message that lists those hours.
If they have a question about how long it will take for their purchase to ship, intelligent contact centre technology can direct them through a menu of options (e.g. “press ‘1’ for online orders,” “press ‘2’ for shipping”) that allows them to enter their tracking number and get automated info about their order without ever having to speak to a customer service representative unless they’d like to.
Empowers Your Employees to Provide Better Service on Complex Calls
Fewer FAQs to respond to gives your agents more time to respond to complex questions that are more interesting and that allow them to provide quality, personalized customer care.
When your agents can provide better care and customer resolutions, they’ll feel more pride in their work.
Reduces Wait Time and Increases First Contact Resolutions
Customers with pressing questions often have to sit on hold for a while to talk to an agent, who may be tied up with other calls.
The longer a customer is on hold, the more frustrated and impatient they may become. In the worst cases, they’ll take out their anger on your customer service reps.
Intelligent contact centre tech can decrease hold times by directing customers to the exact information or agent they need.
This increases First Contact Resolution rates and can eliminate some of the frustration your agents feel when they have to work with customers who have waited a long time to get their questions answered.
Fewer angry customers mean happier customer service agents.
Automates Workflow With AI
Another way intelligent contact centre tech helps with attrition is that it automatically integrates your company’s communication channels so customers can get the same experience no matter which channel they use to contact you —email, social media, chat, phone, etc.
This also allows your agents to easily access the information they need to provide the best service possible to each customer.
Intelligent tech also automates your after-hours workflow by addressing customer questions when your team is off the clock.
This automation ensures agents have a smaller stack of customer concerns to address when they go back into the office and, therefore, less stress.
Helps Your Team Provide Enhanced Customer Service
Intelligent contact centre technology provides your agents with tools and data that can make their jobs easier and improve the service they provide.
In addition to text and phone support, they can provide visual support to customers and transition easily between channels.
This increases successful customer interactions, keeps employees engaged, and makes the work better for both the customer and the agent.
How to Choose the Best Contact Centre Technology for Your Business
There are lots of options for intelligent tech that can make the jobs of your customer service team easier. It’s important to look for software or services that can meet the needs of your small business where it’s at today but also evolve as your business evolves.
Cloud Contact Centre as a Service technology allows you to customize your software with the features you really want and then add to them as your business grows.
It integrates your tech across every channel of your business so that customers can have a consistent experience no matter which channel they use, and employees can have all the information they need to provide great service.
With automated customer support, your team will experience less stress and be better equipped to respond to the demands of the job.
Agent attrition is happening everywhere, but with the right intelligent contact centre technology, you can streamline and automate much of your customer service so that customer interactions are better and your agents have the support they need to thrive.