15 Essential Strategies to Reduce Staff Turnover

A picture of a staff turnover

Our panel of experts share their advice for reducing staff turnover in the contact centre, through improving morale, communication and other important factors.

1. Reduce Repetition

Albert Einstein once said: “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”

However, what we often find in the contact centre is that the monotonous tasks can, over time, lead to burnout and advisor turnover.

Performing the same tasks day after day, with little challenge or creativity, will mentally and emotionally exhaust advisors.

Performing the same tasks day after day, with little challenge or creativity, will mentally and emotionally exhaust advisors.

To ensure advisors enjoy a more varied and challenging work environment, managers can provide their employees with opportunities to work in different capacities or allow them to manage different communication channels.

For instance, during a weekly shift rotation, advisors could be managing phone conversations one day and the next they would be looking after social media. This will allow staff to learn new skills while getting a different set of tasks which will help them stay engaged.

2. Ensure That Employee Recognition Is a Priority

Work in a contact centre can be tough. Whether it is dealing with a high volume of irate customers or dealing with complex queries, each day can take its toll. Simply providing a pay cheque is no longer enough to make employees feel valued.

If there are no other forms of recognition for the work they do, advisors are likely to feel undervalued and seek new opportunities elsewhere.

If there are no other forms of recognition for the work they do – either verbal, written or in the shape of other perks – advisors are likely to feel undervalued and to seek new opportunities elsewhere.

Businesses need to recognize and reward advisors for the work that they do, and staff recognition should be done either on a monthly or a quarterly basis, to ensure that staff feel valued.

Recognition of employees can range from monthly company-wide emails that recognize staff and their achievements to one-off bonus payments.

3. Move Away From Optimization and Towards Engagement

Historically, contact centres have been focused on optimization. The industry has become expert in pulling out the last ounce of productivity from employees.

However, according to a Gartner report, traditional operational management techniques will increasingly fail over the next few years. This has led businesses to shift their focus to employee engagement as a path to improve customer experience.

A picture of a pencilled in road

To achieve employee engagement, managers need to take the time to nurture and guide staff. Sporadic attempts are no longer enough.

To achieve employee engagement, managers need to take the time to nurture and guide staff. Sporadic attempts are no longer enough.

Employers will ideally ensure that they provide tailored training to their advisors to empower them to handle more complex interactions and build upon their existing skill set.

Another way to engage with employees is to ensure they understand opportunities for career advancement from entry-level advisors to supervisors and beyond.

4. Make Sure Information Is Easy to Find

When the technology that is supposed to make the job easier is complicated or poorly integrated, it will not only lead to poor interactions with customers, it will also impact advisor productivity.

If advisors need to switch between multiple systems, dashboards and knowledge centres, frustrations can mount quickly.

Any technology should improve the customer experience and ensure that the advisors have access to the relevant information at a touch of a button.

A thumbnail photo of Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith

If this is not the case, it might be time to consider moving to a customer experience platform that enables businesses to orchestrate engagements across all touchpoints, channels and resources.

Giving advisors access to technologies that empower them to provide better experiences to the customers will make their jobs easier and feel like they are adding real value to the bottom line of the business.

Thanks to Cameron Smith at Genesys

5. Offer Flexibility Within Your Shift Patterns

While people may be attracted to certain jobs because of the shift pattern, it is the flexibility that you offer within those patterns that helps advisors stay in those positions.

However, flexibility levers – like shift-swaps and banked hours – are often difficult to manage, so many contact centres are now turning to specialized tools to meet management’s needs as well as those of the advisor.

These workforce management (WFM) tools provide an advisor-centric set of services, making it easy for advisors to:

  • Check shift needs
  • Request shift changes
  • Easily view their remaining leave allowance
  • Request holidays (and get an instant response)
  • Record availability for extra shifts and overtime
A thumbnail photo of Neil Draycott

Neil Draycott

This all works to support advisors to earn a little more money, depending on their availability, and gives them the flexibility to organize their lives at work and outside of the office effectively.

Providing these opportunities and better accommodating the advisor’s lifestyle will help you lower staff turnover and absenteeism too.

Thanks to Neil Draycott at Business Systems

6. Support Advisors From Day One

Don’t leave new recruits to sink or swim. Contact centres are tough places to work and you don’t want advisors to leave after their first day!

Pair them up with buddies or mentors who can show them where to find the information they need to answer customer queries confidently.

Make sure that you have the right technology to best support these new team members, looking for solutions that fully integrate with the CRM and other business applications.

Make sure that you have the right technology to best support these new team members, looking for solutions that fully integrate with the CRM and other business applications, to provide a single view of the customer.

Then use special applications to remove clutter from the advisor’s screen, as that gets in the way of delivering a fast, satisfying advisor – and customer – experience.

7. Promote Well-Being and Tackle Sources of Stress

Make the time to develop a strategy to support well-being. This starts with actively promoting a healthy, all-inclusive culture.

This does not mean storing old health and well-being guidelines in a dark corner of your intranet system, but instead appointing mental health champions, promoting/celebrating well-being events and offering mindfulness sessions.

A thumbnail image of Thomas Rødseth

Thomas Rødseth

Then we can tackle those work-related sources of stress, as we’ve now encouraged that fundamental discussion; these sources will include things like inconsistent processes and IT issues.

Other common sources include dark physical environments, too few opportunities for personal development and the constant perception that no one listens or takes their frontline experiences seriously.

Thanks to Thomas Rødseth at Puzzel

8. Foster Career Growth

While many advisors view the contact centre a long-term option, others view it is a first stepping-stone to other career goals.

For that reason, you must ensure that the team have a clear understanding of possible career paths within your organization.

Some contact centres encourage their advisors to spend time shadowing other functions as part of their development plan. This both promotes greater cross-functional collaboration and helps advisors to understand other positions within the organization they may want to pursue in the future.

Many contact centres take it even further by requiring advisors to create a list of internal positions they are interested in as part of the quarterly or annual review process.

Many contact centres take it even further by requiring advisors to create a list of internal positions they are interested in as part of the quarterly or annual review process.

That way, employees are encouraged to think beyond their current roles, and they can select anything from a team leader within their own department, all the way up to the CEO!

Follow-up discussions with managers provide a mentoring opportunity, where together they can work out a short- and long-term plan to help that employee get to their dream role.

9. Build a Retention Culture Through Routines

We’ve all seen the staff turnover domino effect in action. When one advisor jumps ship, another follows, and then more and more team members start to wonder whether the grass is really greener elsewhere.

Proactively weaving retention as a characteristic of your culture helps mitigate and counteract this potential domino effect, and this involves creating routines around each of the following ideas:

  • Focusing on career growth starting on day one in new hire orientation
  • Creating an environment of transparency between leaders and advisors
  • Actively celebrating and recognizing work anniversaries and internal promotions
  • Encouraging 360-degree coaching, so employees feel safe providing candid feedback to their managers when they are feeling dissatisfied
  • Creating a collaborative team environment
A thumbnail photo of Lauren Comer

Lauren Comer

While the concept of employee retention is straightforward and these recommendations seem easy to implement, turnover rates prove that the execution is incredibly difficult.

However, spend the time and resources to retain your employees and you will experience significant operational and savings benefits!

Thanks to Lauren Comer at NICE inContact

10. Implement a Structured, Continuous Training Programme

The reason good coaching is successful in reducing staff turnover is that properly trained advisors feel more capable and competent in completing tasks under their own initiative.

Furthermore, by empowering your advisors with the tools to solve customer issues, in ways that lean on their own individual skills, it provides them with a sense of fulfilment. And let’s face it, happy employees are more likely to stay with your business!

These methods can come in the form of side-by-side coaching, self-scoring and feedback as well as incentive programmes to deepen that level of employee engagement.

You can engage with your advisors in a meaningful way through the evaluation and review process, promoting a transparent QA dialogue with personalized dashboards that offer coaching tips and guidance on how well they are performing.

A thumbnail image of Dick Bourke

Dick Bourke

Just remember, don’t solely focus on the negatives. Reward and spotlight advisors when they have exceeded their goals.

If you can apply these simple changes, advisors are likely to respond positively and feel more connected and part of a team effort, rewarding your business with performance improvements that deliver better experiences to your customers.

Thanks to Dick Bourke at Scorebuddy

11. Guard Against Unfair Perceptions of Your Quality Programme

Neuroscientists have proved that feeling unfairly treated triggers a reaction in the same part of the brain that controls pain – so it really can hurt.

It’s not surprising therefore, that one of the biggest reasons for advisors leaving the contact centre is feeling that they are unfairly treated because their performance is assessed too subjectively.

So many contact centres are now inviting advisors to join calibration sessions, to ensure that the team gain an understanding of the great effort that’s put into calling scores fairly.

Thumbnail image of Frank Sherlock

Frank Sherlock

To go one step further, you can also use speech analytics to automate a large part of your quality programme, based on 100% of advisor interactions.

Advisors will likely appreciate this because analytics is seen as a much fairer assessment of performance than a random sampling of calls.

Thanks to Frank Sherlock at CallMiner

12. Embrace Remote Working

Contact centres should be in line with the trends of the way people work and the changes. They have to offer flexible and remote-working options and establish an enterprise-wide culture of trust and empowerment.

This is particularly important if you’re hiring staff that need to have diverse problem-solving, communication and empathy skills to handle complex and emotional customer enquiries.

When we think about this, we start to realize that individuals with this talent might not live close to your physical contact centre location.

A thumbnail photo of Richard Kenny

Richard Kenny

Giving your call centre representatives the freedom to work remotely is imperative to attract and retain the right talent pool. Setting them up for success is simple.

However, to ensure that advisors can work well from home, it is good to provide them with noise-cancelling headsets that plug in to any device and provide superior audio quality. This helps to block out background noise for crisp conversations with customers from any environment.

Thanks to Richard Kenny at Poly

13. Remove the Biggest Pain Points

eGain surveyed over 600 advisors around the world and asked them what their biggest pain points were when they were handling customer service calls.

The answer was the inability to quickly find answers to customer questions and inconsistency of answers from siloed systems, followed by having to hop across multiple systems during customer conversations.

A thumbnail picture of Anand Subramaniam

Anand Subramaniam

In fact, according to Gartner, advisors have to navigate an average of more than eight screens when they handle customer interactions!

One solution is to employ a smart desktop that unifies all interaction channels with push-button conversational guidance. This provides advice for answering certain queries, as it proactively suggests information from your knowledge base.

Thanks to Anand Subramaniam at eGain

14. Use Gamification to Better Motivate Advisors

If you don’t recognize and reward your employees’ achievements and success, they have no motivation to repeat them.

It’s no secret that happier and engaged employees are more productive. They’ll enjoy the work they perform, work harder and stay with your company longer.

Gamification is a simple strategy that engages and rewards your employees.

If your employees are given achievable and realistic key performance indicators (KPIs), they will be more motivated to achieve them. It’s also key that employees have transparency of the KPIs they’re working towards and are aware of their progress.

A thumbnail photo of Nikki Quinn

Nikki Quinn

In addition, managers can track performance and reinforce positive behaviours and skills by pairing gamification with face-to-face discussions.

Gamification will enable you to attract talent and increase engagement and motivation with instant reward and recognition, gratification, prompt feedback and e-learning. Moreover, you’ll improve productivity and reduce employee turnover.

Thanks to Nikki Quinn at Noble Systems

15. Improve Technology, Training and Flexible Working

Some contact centre interfaces and dashboards are too complicated and slow down advisors when trying to help customers, reducing morale.

To reduce turnover through technology, ensure desktops are optimized to be user friendly and that everything can be viewed on one screen, without juggling apps.

Then, think about your training programme. A confident, well-trained advisor will be more motivated and satisfied with their job.

A thumbnail picture of Ken Reid

Ken Reid

If you’re using self-service to help customers with the simple transactions, check your advisors are skilled and happy dealing with the tougher enquiries.

Finally, use technology to enable flexible working, especially homeworking. As well as being helpful in retention, it’s also an attractive benefit in recruitment.

Thanks to Ken Reid at Rostrvm Solutions

For more from our panel of experts, read our articles:

Author: Robyn Coppell

Published On: 16th Dec 2019 - Last modified: 11th Jan 2023
Read more about - Workforce Planning, , , , , , , , , , ,

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