While average call center attrition rates range between 30-45%, many businesses experience metrics as high as 90%. As call center leaders, you must be aware of attrition in your business strategy, and find ways to retain top call center agents.
Before you can craft a strong retention strategy, you must first understand what causes call center attrition in your call center. In this article, we’ll run through some of the most common causes for attrition, and how today’s labor shortage impacts the call center industry.
Labor Shortages in the Call Center
According to Worldwide Call Centers Inc., 87% of business owners cite labor shortage as a key impact to call center operations. The COVID-19 pandemic sparked conversations around remote work and scheduling flexibility, and current transitions back to on-site work have fueled this discussion further.
Many call center agents who adopted remote work over the pandemic period are now voicing their desire for improved work environments, and searching for new opportunities if they don’t feel heard by their employer. In fact, this labor shortage is seen as one of the biggest issues the call center industry faces in 2022.
Bottom line? The labor shortage exacerbates agent attrition, but doesn’t outright cause it. The true cause of call center attrition lies within your call center practices and operations.
Call centers face a 30-45% overall attrition rate.
Top 5 Causes for High Call Center Attrition
Ineffective training and onboarding practices.
Agents – especially new hires – must learn how to effectively perform their job duties while aligning with established processes. Your onboarding process should clearly outline all of the above — if it doesn’t, you risk having alienated or confused your trainees.
Poor onboarding and training is a top cause for attrition, as new employees need the right guidance to feel confident and prepared for the job. If they don’t feel confident in their daily tasks, it’ll be harder for them to feel engaged in their work. If the job feels like an uphill battle, they’re more likely to leave for a role that they find more fulfilling.
How to mitigate: Regularly review your onboarding and training programs, and seek out feedback from agents and managers. Ensure the contents of your programs directly address any knowledge gaps or goals your department has identified. For more info, check out our list of call center training methods.
Outdated contact center technology.
Contact center software benefits everyone, from your team members to the customers they serve. What’s more, the right software can make or break an agent’s experience.
Without the right technology, performing their daily duties can become a struggle. For instance, customers forced to wait on hold for extended periods are more likely to start the conversation with the agent on a negative note. Because of this, agents may feel frustrated and unsupported, leading them to seek other opportunities.
How to mitigate: Invest in call center technology that makes your agents’ jobs easier. Consider the biggest challenges your department faces on a regular basis, and evaluate your current tools to determine whether you need to consider an upgrade.
For instance, call centers who face high call volumes regularly would benefit from Voice Call-Backs. Not only does it eliminate the need for hold time from the customer, it improves customer satisfaction, while reducing the burden of high call volume and spikes on agents.
Ineffective leadership tactics.
Hiring the wrong agents hurts your call center performance, but hiring an ineffective manager can have disastrous results. In fact, most agents cite poor or ineffective leadership as a main reason for leaving their work.
A good call center manager should be empathetic, communicative, and experienced in motivating a team. Some managers are well-versed with the call center industry but don’t have the soft skills necessary to manage a team or set meaningful goals.
How to mitigate: When hiring for leadership positions, know what qualities to look for and the pain points you want them to address. You can also apply these findings to leadership training, so your current management staff have an opportunity to develop their skills further.
Lack of career advancement opportunities.
Call center work should not be considered a “dead-end” job. If you want to retain quality call center agents, you must offer them opportunities to grow their careers.
Remember that your most motivated employees will only maintain that enthusiasm as long as they feel supported, appreciated, and seen for their potential. A lack of career advancement opportunities can squash that drive quickly.
How to mitigate: Prioritize hiring call center managers from within your team of agents, rather than hiring externally. Encourage your call center leaders to create performance plans with actionable paths towards career growth for every employee, and support them in their growth.
Undefined company culture.
Call center agents are more likely to enjoy their job if they align with a call center’s values. But a written declaration of company culture isn’t sufficient — employees want to see more commitment to these values from call center management.
The key to maintaining a strong company culture is consistency. If your call center values work-life balance and mental health, implement flexible scheduling or a benefits package that offers financial support for health issues. If your call center values transparency, keep agents in the know about big developments and new hires.