How to Prevent Turnover in Your Call Center

With average staff attrition rates hitting 50%, now is the time to take action to prevent high turnover in your call center.

Call center operations

In almost every call center across the USA, employee retention is a hot topic.

In fact, the average annual turnover rate has risen to 50%.

According to a survey by New York-based William M. Mercer Inc., 45% of companies report turnover costs of more than $10,000 per employee. One-fifth of respondents estimate costs at more than $30,000 for each lost worker.

The entire recruitment process can prove to be a very costly undertaking as resources and time are put into recruitment (which would include advertising the job), interviews and testing, orientation and training. Not only is turnover expensive, it also decreases employee morale.

However, there are ways that you can ensure that your call centre does not get hit with those high attrition rates:

(1) Revamp Your Hiring Strategy

One of the problems with turnover in a call center is that prospective employees don’t know what they are getting themselves into. Employees are hired; they attend orientation, and then spend a few weeks in training. After training, they hit the floor, and realize that the job is nothing like they expected.

According to a recent study on hiring costs at 54 Fortune 1,000 companies, hiring the wrong call center representative often costs nearly 26 times the average salary.

We have to make sure that that we get it right the first time.

– Don’t hire based on a gut feeling.

– Be proactive by conducting pre-hire screens and test for skills, attitudes and behaviors required for the job.

– Give prospective employees a realistic job preview.

(2) Abolish the Boring Call Center Factor

Most employees in a call centre spend most of their time on the phones. Most centers require that you take anywhere from forty to a hundred calls per day.

Let’s face it, after doing the same thing all day, every day, the job can get boring, and, if you’re not careful, the work environment of your call center can be similar to that of a sweatshop.

– Create a fun atmosphere by having frequent special events.

– Make the job more fulfilling: Enlarge the job by giving more responsibility.

– Offer Job rotation by involving agents in engaging and challenging off-phone tasks and projects

(3) Manage Employee Performance and Encourage Employee Development

One of the problems with the average call center job is that most employees view it as, well, just a job. In a survey conducted by the Customer Group LLC, the number one reason that employees left the job was that there was no career path.

– Adopt a system where employees are required to select a career path.

– Encourage call centre agents to shadow employees who are currently in their goal position.

(4) Recognize and Reward

A little bit of recognition can go a long way. Employees who are happy at work and feel appreciated are more likely to be more dedicated to their work. Employees should feel like they are more than a voice answering the phones.

– Recognize and track the employees’ performance along the way.

– Offer both cash and non financial incentives such as awards and gift certificates.

– Adopt a pay for performance compensation system.

About the Author

Sharlah-Ann Beckford MHR, PHR is Client Manager at Aon Hewitt.

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