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Reduce Agent Attrition in the Contact Center, Improve Agent Performance

October 06, 2016 by Morgan Pulitzer

One of the biggest challenges to today’s contact centers is addressing the high attrition rate of their agents and measuring agent performance. On average, contact centers have an annual turnover rate* of 26% for their front line agents, leading new agents to have to be hired on a regular basis. Not only does this cost contact centers money, but it also means a substantial amount of time spent on training these new agents – time which could be spent answering calls and helping customers.

In order to reduce the loss of contact center agents and improve agent performance, it is important to ensure they are happy. But what does that mean? It may come as a surprise that 75% of agent attrition is due not to low pay, but a poor work culture. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to make improvements to the contact center which can lead to a better agent performance and a happier workplace for everyone.

Have the Right Agent Performance Boosting Tools

Measure Agent Performance

Almost any job requires the right tools to ensure it is done right, and working in a contact center is no different. If agents are using equipment that is obsolete and/or poor quality, it affects their ability to help callers in a timely and sufficient manner, thus affecting the performance of the agent. Contact centers with current technology such as better computers and headsets, as well as call quality monitoring tools like speech analytics and call scoring, will help contact centers provide a positive, healthy working environment, as well as allow them to monitor agent performance and happiness, which leads to a better experience for their customers.

 

Provide Continuous and Consistent Agent Performance Training

Agent training programs with speech analytics

A common but detrimental mistake many contact centers make is thinking once agents receive their initial training and begin taking calls, there is no need for any additional training. But even if an agent has a script for certain scenarios, there is no guarantee the caller will say what the agent is expecting, and the conversation is likely to go off course. And when the caller goes “off script”, it can be very stressful for the agent if they do not know how to handle the situation (particularly if the caller is disgruntled). But contact centers can help agents continue to grow and improve by providing ongoing training. Utilizing tools like call monitoring and speech analytics software not only allows agents to more clearly see where their strengths and weaknesses lie, but it also makes training far less abstract. For instance, instead of a supervisor simply telling an agent to remain calm when dealing with an angry customer, with speech analytics technology in place capturing every work of the agent-customer conversation, the agent’s supervisor can provide concrete examples of what has been proven to work in diffusing a tense situation. Ongoing training help agents be better prepared, which empowers them to function at their very best.

 

Offer Opportunities for Growth

Another reason agents are leaving contact centers is because they do not feel there is any room for advancement.  Agents who demonstrate particular skills or show a heightened level of adeptness often perceive their skills and hard work are going unnoticed.  With speech analytics software, contact centers can more easily identify which of their agents have the strongest skill sets.  These agents can then be presented with opportunities to assume roles of greater responsibility, such as handling VIP calls or being more active in monitoring quality assurance.  As a result, agents begin to feel as though they are being truly recognized – and appreciated – for their talents.

Successfully implementing these changes will take time, money, and patience.  But the returns gained on these investments are well worth it.   By providing agents with a better working environment, contact centers can help increase their job satisfaction, which not only reduced agent turnover, but also impacts their interactions with the customers.  So in the end, everybody wins.

Source: *Response Design Corporation

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