Reducing Agent Turnover Rate in Your Call Center
High call center agent turnover rates can have a detrimental impact on the call center environment as well as the call center’s bottom line. In fact, the estimated cost for losing one call center agent is approximately $100,000 (James, 1998) which does not include the impact on colleague morale and productiveness. It is therefore imperative that call center managers take steps to reduce agent turnover within the call center. The first step in this endeavor? Data.
Call center managers must have a comprehensive understanding of how to accurately measure call center agent turnover rates, so that they can act on the data accordingly. This blog post will allow them to do just that. It is a step-by-step guide to calculating agent turnover rates in the call center.
Step 1: Clearly define agent turnover
The first step to calculating agent turnover within the call center is deciding on a clear definition. For example, you may consider agent turnover to be only involuntary call center agent turnover. Or perhaps you consider it to be any call center agent turnover that happens within the company. Regardless of how you define it, the key to this step is making sure the definition is clear so that the subsequent steps are more straightforward.
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Step 2: Determine inclusion and exclusion criteria for agent turnover
Once you have clearly defined agent turnover, make a list of inclusion and exclusion criteria for what constitutes turnover. Some criteria to consider in this pursuit are:
- Was the agent fired?
- Did the agent voluntarily leave their position (i.e., quit)?
- Did the agent quit before they completed their training?
- Did the agent leave their position because they needed to relocate, go back to school, care for a loved one or retire?
- Did the agent take a leave of absence (i.e., maternity, sick or extended vacation)?
- Was the agent promoted within their department?
- Was the agent promoted within the call center?
- Was the agent relocated to another call center within the company?
The purpose of your agent turnover analysis should play a large role in the selection of inclusion and exclusion criteria. For example, if the purpose is to include the results within a performance evaluation of a new manager, you might consider including agents who were fired and quit and excluding agents who retired, took a leave of absence or were promoted from your turnover calculations. If the purpose is to determine the impact turnover has on the company, you may want to include all of the criteria listed above in your turnover calculations. Thus, keep in mind the purpose of your agent turnover analysis when determining inclusion and exclusion criteria so that the results of the analysis are in line with what you intend to measure.
Step 3: Determine a time frame
Next, determine a time frame for which you would like to calculate agent turnover rate. Call center managers typically calculate agent turnover for each month, quarter and year. You should consider using these time frames, or a unique time frame after a significant event occurs. For example, you can calculate agent turnover for the six months following the hiring of a new manager to determine whether or not that manager had an impact on call center agent turnover rates. Keep in mind that you should only select a time frame for which you have accurate data about call center agent employment status. Solidifying your time frame and making sure you acquired solid data during that time frame is critical to calculating agent turnover accurately.
Step 4: Determine the number of call center agent separations
Once you have determined a time frame, calculate how many agents left their position within the call center during that time frame. It is important to keep in mind your definition agent turnover (Step 1) as well as inclusion and exclusion criteria (Step 2) during this calculation.
Step 5: Determine the average number of call center agents employed
The average number of call center agents employed by the call center during the time frame can be determined a few different ways. It is important that you select a single method and use this method consistently throughout all of your turnover calculations. Below are a few different methods to determine the average number of call center agents employed during a selected time frame:
- Use the total number of call center agents employed at the end of the time frame
- Add the number of call center agents employed at the beginning of the time frame to the number employed at the end of the time frame and divide by two
- Add the number of trained call center agents employed at the beginning of the time frame to the number of trained call center agents employed at the end of the time frame and divide by two
- Add the number of call center agents employed during each pay period during the time frame and divide by the number of pay periods
- Add the number of call center agents on the payroll at the end of the each day during the time frame and divide the total by the number of days in the time frame
Once you have selected one of the methods above, calculate the average number of call center agents employed during the time frame using your method and move on to the next step – calculating agent turnover rate.
Step 6: Calculate agent turnover
Once you have completed steps 1-5 you are ready to calculate agent turnover rate. First, divide the number of call center agents who left their positions during the time frame (Step 4) by the average number of call center agents employed during the time frame (Step 5). Multiply this number by 100. This is the turnover rate of call center agents during the selected time frame.
Call center agent turnover can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction, company morale and the call center’s bottom line. Therefore it is imperative that call center managers calculate this number periodically and track it over time. Doing so will help to ensure that they can provide data-driven feedback to supervisors about their performance, intervene on the ground floor in a timely fashion when agent morale seems to be taking a hit and put practices into place that will help to increase call center agent tenure. The end result? A team of call center agents and managers who love to come to work each day.