Call centers suffer a notoriously high rate of turnover; this is not news to anyone in the industry. The cost of recruitment, followed by investment in training adds up to an expensive pastime if the assets just keep walking out the door.
So, how to reduce this drain?
Ask yourself this, “Do I want to do the same thing all day, every day?” Any poll result on that question would deliver a resounding “NO!” So, why do we expect call center agents to put up with such tedium? Their misery doesn’t stop there; we apply all sorts of targets they have to achieve in order to be classed as ‘good’ in their boring roles. Of course we aren’t really like that; we provide an occasional team briefing and run periodic incentive schemes that encourage better performance. Joking aside, we know we are far more sophisticated in our recruitment and training processes these days, but staff turnover continues to be high.
Hail the arrival of multimedia. People’s need to communicate using methods that suit them at any time they want, can bring system headaches but also provides a potential cure to short agent tenure. For example, training agents on how to handle emails and chat sessions increases their skill set and alleviates the monotony of handling voice calls. Also, having the system flexibility to switch agents between different functions as queue demands dictate, can further increase variety and keep job appeal high. Having teams of agents whose natural characteristics not only complement each other but where the individuals are multi skilled and are empowered to handle different types of tasks, goes a long way to building loyalty.
However, be mindful of different people’s abilities. An agent with a wonderful telephone manner may be weak at written skills. Remember, it is the company’s reputation that could be affected if apostrophes go astray or decimal points are left to guess work. Building a team of multi skilled agents doesn’t happen by chance, it takes more effort and investment. But the rewards could pay off handsomely as morale increases, agents enjoy their work and the exit door is used less.
A quote from ‘Anonymous’, sums up this dilemma; “CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?” CEO: “What happens if we don’t and they stay?”