Reducing Contact Centre Attrition: Best Practices and Strategies

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Call centre attrition is a common and expensive industry problem. According to McKinsey, attrition can bring the following costs per departing agent:

  • $4,000 to $7,000 for upfront training
  • $1,000 to $4,000 in direct recruiting costs
  • $5,000-$10,000 in loss of productivity during ramp-up

While some attrition is inevitable, most call centre attrition can be prevented. In this article, we’ll go over some basics around attrition, offer some call centre attrition examples, and a few recommended best practices to help curb attrition at your contact centre.

Contact Centre Attrition Explained

Contact centre attrition happens for a lot of reasons. Some are involuntary (e.g., layoffs). However, voluntary attrition is a much larger problem.

Agents may be dissatisfied with their compensation, scheduling, or manager; some might want to just leave the industry. But there are usually deeper issues.

Agents might not be adequately trained; they could also be burned out or feel there is no real career path for them.

They might feel disconnected from their work, or their employer. To curb call centre attrition, leaders should examine and address why agents leave and what can be done differently.

How to Calculate Contact Centre Attrition Rate

Here’s how to calculate the attrition rate:

Determine the Time Period

Decide on the time frame. For example, you can calculate it monthly, quarterly, annually, or for any other specific period.

Count Departing Employees

Count the number of employees who left the call centre during the chosen period for any reason.

Count Total Employees at the Beginning

Determine the total number of employees at the start of the period, including full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal staff.

Calculate the Attrition Rate

Use the formula below to calculate the attrition rate. Multiply the result by 100 to express it as a percentage.

Attrition Rate = (Number of Employees Who Left the call centre During a Specific Period / Total Number of Employees at the Beginning of the Period) x 100 

Example: if you had 10 employees leave your call centre during the last quarter, and you had 200 employees at the beginning of the quarter, you can calculate the call centre attrition rate as follows:

Attrition Rate = (10 / 200) x 100 = 5% 

The attrition rate for that specific quarter is 5%.

Why Is High Call Centre Attrition Rate a Problem?

High attrition in a contact centre is a problem that can have widespread negative effects on both the organization and its customers.

Here are some key reasons why high call centre attrition is a concern:

Increased Costs

Organizations will need to hire and train new agents more frequently. Recruiting, onboarding, and training new staff is expensive and can strain the call centre’s budget.

Knowledge and Experience Gaps

Experienced employees take their expertise with them, including knowledge about processes, customer preferences, and best practices.

This can lead to operational inefficiencies and a decrease in the quality of service while new agents work to reach the same level of competence.

Increased Training Time

Supervisors, veteran employees, and other leaders will spend more time and resources on training new agents, rather than focusing on other areas.

Lower Morale

High contact centre attrition rates can create an atmosphere of instability and low morale. Employees may feel overworked because of understaffing or discouraged by the constant turnover.

Customer Churn

Call centre attrition can lead to longer wait times, escalations, and increased frustration – negatively impacting customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Difficulty in Meeting SLAs

New agents will need time to reach proficiency, making it challenging to meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and performance targets.

Understanding the Causes of Contact Centre Attrition

The causes of call centre attrition can range widely, and the reasons tend to have root causes. Below are a few examples of call centre attrition root causes:

Disconnected Pre-Boarding

Aside from HR-related tasks, the time between the offer and the start date is often a period of disconnection.

The new hire will not feel a connection with their new employer and might accept another offer. This can lead to first-day ghosting, where the new hire never shows up.

Job Shock

“Job shock,” is where the actual nature of a new hire’s role differs from what they expected, and they don’t feel confident in their ability to succeed.

Insufficient Training

Training and development are crucial for retention by setting new agents up for success and boosting performance.

If training, knowledge reinforcement, and/or coaching sessions are lacking, agents won’t be confident or perform well – and will walk away from the company sooner or later.

Disconnection and Disengagement

Employees may not feel ownership over their work or their progress. They might also not feel aligned with their goals, their manager, their team, or all of the above.

Not only can this lead to underperformance, but it can also result in employees delivering the bare minimum before eventually leaving.

Burnout

Workloads and customer expectations are on the rise, and so is employee burnout. Employees (including supervisors) across industries, particularly in areas such as financial services and utilities, might feel especially drained and disconnected.

Limited Career and Development Opportunities

Modern employees want to grow professionally and will go where they can do that – whether at their current company or elsewhere. If their company offers that opportunity, that employee is 20% more likely to stay.

Best Practices for Reducing Contact Centre Attrition

Best practices for reducing contact centre attrition include these recommendations:

Optimize Pre-boarding and Onboarding

Are new hires kept connected and engaged between the time of their offer and their start date? Once onboard, is the employee given a guided, personalized, engaging learning experience?

Optimizing these elements of the employee experience can increase contact centre retention and accelerate time to proficiency.

Boost Training

Training and development should span the entire employee lifecycle.  Targeted microlearning is an incredibly effective tool, delivering short learning modules within the flow of work based on knowledge and performance gaps and enabling better knowledge retention.

Also consider leveraging generative AI to create frontline training materials faster and at scale.

Elevate Coaching

Coaching should be personalized and delivered in the moment of need. But the preparation can be time consuming.

Automating the data collection and analysis process, coaching continuously, and having actionable insights and the best next steps go a long way toward empowering both employees and managers to gain more from coaching sessions.

Provide Career Progression

Providing a visible career path is critical to employee retention. Call centre employees aren’t just at work for a paycheck.

They want to turn their job into a meaningful career. As part of coaching, ensure that employees can see a development roadmap and career progression.

Support the Whole Employee

Stress and burnout are on the rise. By remembering that employees are human beings first and conducting wellness checks, supervisors can help their teams cope with challenges and foster a healthier, more open, and more productive workplace.

Get Gamified

Gamification is the practice of applying game mechanics (such as leaderboards, badges, etc.) to a non-game context.

This strategy taps into intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and engages employees, adding some fun to their workday and resulting in higher performance and retention rates.

Summary and Key Takeaways

Contact centre attrition is a common challenge across contact centre types and geography. Not only is attrition expensive, but it can adversely affect a brand’s reputation. Below are a few takeaways:

Contact centre attrition impacts the entire organization, contributing to high costs, low morale, and as a result, poor customer experience.

Contact centre attrition can be voluntary and involuntary. This can include layoffs, first-day ghosting, leaving shortly after hire, later attrition due to burnout or a lack of a career path, and other reasons.

Best practices for preventing contact centre attrition include an optimized connected pre-boarding experience, continuous learning, augmented coaching, gamification, and keeping track of employee wellness.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Centrical – View the Original Article

For more information about Centrical - visit the Centrical Website

About Centrical

Centrical Centrical provides a real-time performance management, microlearning, gamification, coaching, and voice of the employee platform for frontline teams. The solution inspires and personally guides employee success and growth by making every moment actionable.

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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.

Author: Centrical

Published On: 14th Nov 2023
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