As unpleasant as it may be, turnover is a workplace reality no matter where you work. This is particularly true in call centers, which have become notorious for high rates of employee turnover. In this post, we’ll be diving into this concept to understand what it means for your call center.
What is turnover?
Turnover is a type of attrition. Attrition refers to employees leaving a company. Turnover is a specific, particularly costly, type of attrition in which the leaving employees need to be replaced by new hires. Turnover can result from termination that is either voluntary (e.g. seeking another opportunity) or involuntary (e.g. poor performance).
Why is turnover specifically relevant to call centers?
Call centers have a bad reputation for high turnover rates and, the truth is, that reputation is deserved. Working as an inbound customer service representative (CSR) reliably ranks as one of the highest turnover jobs in the world. Depending on who you ask, call centers have a turnover rate of between 30 and 45 percent. By comparison, the 2013 average employee turnover rate for all industries in the United States was 15.1%.
The work of a CSR can be tough. They can deal with emotional customers, high call volumes and a variety of other stressful situations. It can be difficult for them to get breaks when the phone lines are busy. CSRs are also often entry-level workers, which means that their salaries tend to be on the lower end.
How is call center turnover measured?
There are a few ways to measure call center agent turnover. The most important step is defining what you mean by turnover. Will you only include voluntary termination? Is there a specific amount of time the agent had to have worked before leaving? Are promotions part of the equation? You will also need to set a time frame.
Once you’ve defined what you mean by turnover, plug the numbers into this equation:
Why should I care about call center turnover?
The obvious answer here is that there is a direct monetary cost to call center turnover. It costs money to find, hire and train new employees, money that would be better spent in other aspects of the business.
But there are also other implications. For one, customer satisfaction may wane as callers deal with representatives who are too new to know how to adequately handle problems. For another, call center turnover can create an unpleasant workplace culture, which fuels more turnover.
How can call center turnover be avoided?
No workplace is immune to turnover, but effective call centers need to recognize that their white blood cell count is particularly low. There are preventative steps that can be taken to help head off excessive call center turnover.
1. Hire the right agents
Don’t set your call center agents up for failure by hiring them for a job they cannot succeed in. A little extra time added to recruiting procedures can make a big difference in the long run.
2. Offer competitive pay and benefits
Being an agent is stressful. Make it worth your agent’s while by compensating them fairly.
3. Establish clear objectives
Call center agents may start to feel buried in work with no way to benchmark their performance. With clear goals, agents can get their head above water.
4. Reward goal completion
It isn’t enough to just set objectives. Call center agents should be celebrated for their wins.
5. Create a career path
Make it clear what kind of performance results in a promotion and what that promotion might look like. This gives employees something to strive for.
6. Give agents the tools they need to succeed
Don’t make your agents’ lives harder by asking them to cut steak with a spoon. Give them the call center software they need to excel at their work – the kind of call center solution that has a user-friendly interface, advanced features and deep integrations with other business tools.
These are the basics on call center turnover. How this concept impacts the life of your call center is up to you.