11 ways to reduce the attrition rate in your call centre

13 minute read

Posted by Chris Platts on 21 February 2023

The employee attrition rate in a call centre can have a significant impact on the success and profitability of an organisation. A high staff turnover can be costly, time consuming and disruptive to business operations. It is therefore essential for organisations to take proactive steps to reduce their attrition rate. This article will provide practical strategies that businesses can implement in order to minimise employee turnover and retain top talent within their call centre. From pre-screening processes during recruitment, through to offering flexible working arrangements and providing ongoing support, these strategies are designed to help improve morale, motivation levels and job satisfaction among employees – ultimately resulting in lower attrition rates overall.

1. Introduce a pre-screening process for potential call center employees

Creating a seamless, automated pre-screening process for assessing call center talent can save huge amounts of time for recruiters. The right assessment will be able to identify hidden talent who could be great hires despite lacking previous experience. They also help improve efficiencies by being able to sift out candidates who aren’t a good fit for the role or work environment. 

There are different types of assessments for call centers; everything from situational judgment tests to cognitive ability tests. However, it’s important to consider context since each call center is different; different customers, different environments, and different products. Realistic job assessments that mimic a typical day in the job are statistically more accurate and predictive than other assessment types for call centers.

2. Implement an effective onboarding and training program

Providing support to new hires in the first few weeks of a customer service job is crucial to staff retention. 

Here are some steps that can be taken to create an effective onboarding and training program for call center agents:

  1. Develop a comprehensive onboarding plan: Create a detailed onboarding plan that outlines what new agents can expect during their first few weeks on the job. The plan should include an overview of the company’s mission, values, and culture, as well as job-specific training and mentoring opportunities. Read more about onboarding in our new hire checklist.
  2. Provide interactive and hands-on training: Provide hands-on training that simulates real-life customer interactions. This can include call simulations and role-playing exercises, where new agents can practice their communication and problem-solving skills.
  3. Offer ongoing coaching: Provide ongoing coaching opportunities to help new agents refine their skills and knowledge. This can include regular feedback sessions with supervisors, mentorship opportunities, and access to additional training resources.
  4. Utilize technology to support training: Use technology to create an engaging and interactive learning experience. This can include e-learning modules, gamification, and video training materials.
  5. Monitor and evaluate performance: Monitor new agents’ performance during the onboarding process and provide feedback and coaching as needed. This can help identify areas where additional training is needed and ensure that new agents are meeting performance targets.

3. Establish clear performance expectations and goals

It is important to clearly define the key performance indicators (KPIs) for each call center position. 

These could include metrics such as average handling time, first call resolution rate, and customer satisfaction scores. Once the KPIs have been established, it is important to communicate these clearly to the new call center agent and ensure they understand the expectations for each metric. It is also important to set specific and measurable goals for the agent to work towards, such as achieving a certain customer satisfaction score (sometimes called a CSAT score) or reducing their average handling time. 

Regular feedback and coaching sessions should be scheduled to track progress toward these goals and provide guidance on areas for improvement. By establishing clear expectations and goals, a new call center agent can focus on delivering high-quality service to customers and contributing to the overall success of the call center.

4. Create a positive work environment with incentives and rewards

Call centre agents can be motivated by a range of incentives and rewards that recognize their hard work and contribution to the organization. Some common incentives and rewards that can motivate call centre agents include:

  1. Monetary incentives – this can include bonuses or commission-based pay for meeting or exceeding performance targets. This can be a powerful motivator for agents who are financially motivated.
  2. Non-monetary incentives – this can include things like paid time off, flexible work schedules, or recognition programs that acknowledge an agent’s hard work and accomplishments.
  3. Career growth opportunities – this can include opportunities for promotion within the call centre or the organization as a whole. Agents who see a clear path for advancement are often more motivated to perform at a high level.
  4. Training and development – providing opportunities for agents to develop new skills and knowledge can be a powerful motivator, especially for those who are eager to learn and grow.
  5. Peer recognition – call centre agents who receive recognition from their colleagues or managers can feel a sense of pride and motivation to continue performing at a high level.

It’s important to note that different agents may be motivated by different incentives and rewards. A successful call centre incentive program should be tailored to the unique needs and preferences of the agents. Read this post for more ideas on how to improve your company culture: 43 Company Culture Improvement Ideas (That Actually Work)

5. Invest in technology upgrades to reduce manual tasks and improve efficiency

Call centres handle a large volume of customer interactions, which can result in a high number of manual tasks that need to be completed by agents. To reduce manual tasks and improve efficiency, call centres can take several steps. One approach is to implement automation technologies such as chatbots, IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems, and speech recognition software, which can handle routine queries and direct customers to the appropriate agents or resources. 

Additionally, call centres can integrate their systems with customer relationship management (CRM) software to streamline customer data collection and management, allowing agents to quickly access and update customer information. Finally, training agents in effective communication and problem-solving techniques can also improve call centre efficiency by reducing the number of calls that need to be escalated. 

6. Provide ongoing support, feedback, and coaching to employees

Providing ongoing support, feedback, and coaching to call centre agents is crucial for maintaining high levels of performance and ensuring continuous improvement. You’ll want to establish regular coaching and feedback sessions with each agent, during which managers can provide constructive feedback and guidance on areas for improvement. This can include providing training on new processes, technologies, and best practices. Managers can also monitor agents’ performance through regular performance reviews and use data analytics to identify patterns and areas for improvement. 

Providing agents with ongoing training and development opportunities can help them to develop new skills and enhance their performance. Additionally, managers can create a supportive and collaborative culture by recognizing and rewarding agents for their achievements and encouraging team members to share their insights and experiences.

7. Monitor employee satisfaction levels through surveys or interviews

Surveys and interviews are two effective methods for gathering feedback from employees. Surveys should be conducted anonymously and are useful for gathering quantitative data on employee satisfaction levels. A well-designed survey can help identify areas of strength and weakness in the workplace, and managers can use the feedback to develop action plans to address specific issues. Interviews, on the other hand, are more personalized and can provide in-depth information on employee experiences and perceptions. Managers can use interviews to identify the root causes of employee dissatisfaction and work with individual employees to develop solutions that meet their needs. 

Additionally, managers can use a combination of both methods to gain a more comprehensive understanding of employee satisfaction levels. Regularly monitoring employee satisfaction levels through pulse surveys like Culture Amp or Lattice as well as through face to face interviews can help managers create a positive and productive work environment and ensure that employees feel valued and supported.

8. Offer flexible working arrangements

There have been several surveys and studies conducted that suggest a significant percentage of people prefer flexible work arrangements. For example, in a 2021 survey conducted by Owl Labs, a remote work technology company, 80% of respondents stated that they would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible work arrangements. Additionally, a study conducted by Buffer and AngelList in 2020 found that 98% of remote workers would like to continue working remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. Other studies have found similar results, with a large percentage of employees expressing a preference for flexible work arrangements that allow them to work remotely or adjust their schedules to better suit their needs.

Introducing a flexible work environment for call centre agents can be a significant change for the team, so it’s essential to communicate the changes effectively to ensure a smooth transition. Firstly, it’s important to gather feedback from employees on their current work arrangements and the potential changes they would like to see. From there, management can create a plan that addresses employees’ needs and business requirements. A clear policy that outlines expectations and guidelines for flexible work arrangements should be created and communicated to employees. Providing training on remote work tools and processes can also help employees adapt to the new environment. Additionally, ensuring that communication channels are open and accessible, regardless of the employee’s location, can help maintain a sense of community and collaboration. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions can help managers identify and address any concerns or issues that may arise during the transition to a flexible work environment. 

9. Utilize data analytics to identify any issues impacting attrition rate

People analytics can be a valuable tool for identifying and addressing issues impacting attrition rates. One approach is to collect data on employee behaviour, such as employee engagement, job satisfaction, and performance, and use this data to identify patterns and correlations. For example, an analysis of employee performance data may reveal that employees who receive regular feedback and coaching are more likely to remain with the company than those who do not. 

Similarly, an analysis of employee engagement survey data may reveal that employees who feel valued and supported by their managers are less likely to leave the company. By identifying these patterns, companies can develop targeted interventions to address the underlying causes of high attrition rates. For example, the company may introduce regular feedback and coaching sessions or provide additional support to managers to help them create a more positive and supportive work environment. 

Additionally, companies can use predictive analytics to identify employees who may be at risk of leaving the company and intervene before they decide to quit. By utilizing data analytics to identify and address issues impacting attrition rates, companies can reduce turnover and create a more engaged and committed workforce.

For more on this topic read our blog post: How to reduce turnover and attrition.

10. Adopt best practices from other successful call centres

Great call centre environments are those that prioritize employee well-being, provide excellent customer service, and promote a positive company culture. 

Here are some (current) examples of call centre environments that are considered to be exceptional:

  1. Zappos: Zappos is a well-known example of a culture that places a high priority on employee satisfaction and customer service. They are well known for rather spending much longer in their hiring process if it means they get the correct culture fit in their new candidate. As you’ll see from their company culture video, culture is highly emphasised and if you’re not having fun at your desk, something is very wrong.
  2. American Express: American Express has a call centre that is known for its commitment to providing exceptional customer service. The company offers training and development opportunities, flexible work arrangements, recognition and rewards programs, and structured opportunities for career advancement.
  3. T-Mobile: T-Mobile’s call centre is known for its high levels of employee engagement. The company offers a supportive work environment that includes flexible work arrangements and a strong team culture.
  4. Apple: As you can probably tell by their well watched recruiting video, Apple’s call centre is known for its commitment to providing high levels of job satisfaction. The company offers enviable global office spaces as well as comprehensive training and development opportunities. They are known for providing opportunities for career advancement and industry-leading recognition and rewards programs.

11 . Evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies regularly

Regular evaluation of the effectiveness of your staff retention strategies is crucial to ensure that they are having the desired impact and to identify areas where improvements can be made. Here are some steps that can be taken to evaluate the effectiveness of them:

  1. Establish measurable objectives: Clearly define the goals of your staff retention strategies and establish metrics to track progress towards those goals. This can include metrics such as employee turnover rates, employee engagement levels, and satisfaction surveys.
  2. Conduct regular employee surveys: Conduct regular employee surveys to assess employee satisfaction, engagement, and overall sentiment towards the company. These surveys can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of retention strategies and identify areas where improvements can be made.
  3. Analyze turnover data: Analyze employee turnover data to identify patterns and trends in employee departures. This can provide insights into areas where retention strategies may need to be improved, such as offering more career development opportunities or improving the work-life balance for employees.
  4. Review retention program data: Review data related to your retention programs to identify how effective they are in retaining employees. This can include data related to employee participation in retention programs, the success of those programs, and employee feedback on the programs.
  5. Solicit feedback from employees: Regularly solicit feedback from employees on retention strategies and programs to identify areas for improvement. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one meetings with employees.

Conclusion

Reducing staff attrition in a call centre requires a blended approach that prioritizes good hiring, employee well-being, job satisfaction, and staff engagement. 

Some effective strategies include offering flexible work arrangements, providing extensive training and development opportunities, promoting a positive company culture, and providing ongoing support, feedback, and coaching. Additionally, monitoring employee satisfaction levels through surveys or interviews, utilizing data analytics to identify issues impacting attrition rate, and regularly evaluating the effectiveness of staff retention strategies can all help to reduce staff attrition in a call centre. By implementing these strategies, companies can create a supportive work environment that fosters employee engagement and job satisfaction, which can lead to higher productivity, better customer service, and lower employee turnover rates.

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