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Staff turnover in call centres: how to prevent it

Worldwide, more than five million people work as call centre agents, over 200,000 of them in the Netherlands. Many of them face challenges and staff turnover in call centres is therefore high. How do you prevent this?

By Renée Müller

4.1 min read

5 October 2021

staff turnover in call centres

After a tough selection period, you have found a great colleague for your contact department. We clicked, his telephone skills were impressive and he fit in well with the team. Delightful! After a pleasant familiarisation period, your contact department is really up to speed. Your KPIs are in the green and your customers are satisfied. What can still go wrong? Well, the resignation letter on your desk. Your great employee quits again and the whole process starts again from the beginning.

Staff turnover in call centres has many disadvantages and is above all very expensive. Changing team compositions are bad for the working atmosphere and, with a bit of bad luck, you could end up in a downward spiral. There are various causes for staff turnover in call centres: education, training, outdated technology and lack of career opportunities top the list of reasons why agents throw in the towel. Followed by dealing with angry customers on the phone.

In this blog, we list a number of causes for staff turnover in call centres and tell you how to prevent it.

1. Prevent staff turnover in call centres with good training and coaching

When asked why agents leave a call centre so quickly, the answer invariably comes back that they want to be able to help customers. It is mentally very challenging to always be on the front line helping people. We rely on agents to help with a wide range of needs, including technology, healthcare, housing, finance, utilities, entertainment, travel, and internet access. But the world of agents has really become more complex, partly because of outdated technology.

Training is a major cost to the industry and CX leaders often face 40% agent churn. 51% of poorly trained agents are pessimistic about their careers – which can lead to poor performance, dissatisfied customers and burnout. In contrast, 61% of agents who did receive good training feel optimistic.

All too often, companies look for ways to reduce training time, but in the long run this will only cost you time and therefore money. Poor training gives agents low confidence and their competencies are not the best, which increases the chance that they will drop out.

2. Provide good technological support

There is a strong link between how satisfied or adequate an agent finds the technology in his company and how happy he is at work. Investment in new technology is therefore important for staff turnover in call centres. 45% of agents feel that technological advances in call centres are lagging behind. 37% say that current technology is not helping them complete tasks faster or is not doing what they want, and another 43% experience that their systems are crashing.

There’s nothing more annoying than working inefficiently and wasting your time on tasks that could be automated. With customer contact software such as Steam-connect, you ensure that your agents handle all their customer contact in one system. Manual tasks are automated and endless searching for customer details is a thing of the past.

3. Make sure your customers don’t freak out

Irritated customers have long been an issue in the industry and are certainly a major cause of staff turnover in call centres. Research shows that:

  • 81% of agents have experienced verbal abuse
  • 36% of agents have been threatened with violence
  • 21% of female agents and 9% of male agents have been sexually harassed

How can you prevent this? Again, by training. Teach your agents how to properly deal with angry customers on the phone, so that they are more confident on the phone. And it’s an interaction: if your agents don’t feel good about their work, they will also radiate this to your customer. And then the circle is complete again. Make sure you provide your agents with a good working environment and put them in (shared) first place.

4. Reduce the complexity of tasks and conversations

Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Michener once said, “There are no unsolvable problems. Only time-consuming ones.” 72% of agents are eager to solve simple customer problems, but during the pandemic, wait times peaked. The work became more complex as the number of incoming calls increased dramatically and agents were less available because not all systems are suitable for the home working environment.

Agents name four tasks that take the longest:

  • Requesting information from a customer
  • Searching the company knowledge base for answers to customer questions
  • Writing summary notes of the conversation
  • Seek help from a manager

With smart technology, you can take those tasks off your hands and ensure your agents have more time to invest in deep customer contact.

Personnel turnover in call centres: summary

Today’s call centre challenges are not just about technology and cost management. They are also about brand, reputation and delivering a high-quality experience. When companies engage customers and provide the right service anytime, anywhere, the customer experience can be a powerful voice of your brand. It is a core part of your strategy and value proposition and, most importantly, customer lifetime value.

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