When agent attrition has eclipsed customer satisfaction as the most important KPI for contact centers, how do you lessen its impact, or better yet, reverse the trend?
With the agent turnover rate at a whopping 38% in 2022, taking the time to examine how workplace culture contributes to churn has never been more important.
The most obvious, and immediate, reason to address the growing rates of agent attrition is the impact on revenue and profit. The investment in finding, hiring, onboarding and training a suitable candidate can cost $10,000 or more, with no guarantee of how long the employee may stay on staff. Incentives like signing bonuses can foster a term of commitment initially, but if a workplace’s culture and environment doesn’t mesh with employee expectations, it simply becomes another factor in their decision to leave.
And what happens when that employee does leave? The impact of their departure is multifaceted. Your brand’s customer experience loses a unique personality and skillset to care for customers. Your team loses a member, a blow to day-to-day culture. Workloads for the remaining team members increase, leaving agents feeling harried and under-supported, so workplace morale suffers. And management faces yet another challenge; how quickly can a suitable replacement be found, hired and trained? In an industry with high levels of agent/employee turnover, this scenario seems to play on a loop – so what does it take to change it?
Interrupting the churn cycle starts with thoroughly examining current workplace culture and identifying areas where employee input could be beneficial. The goal is to create a working environment that gives employees what they need for better productivity and engagement. Based on our own research and years of expertise, ONR has determined four key strategies that can help build a strong and stable workforce.
Improve employee engagement
Engaged employees don’t just represent your brand more authentically, they feel empowered to help build its success. By enabling and incorporating agent feedback, you’re telling your employees that their experience and perspective are an important part of the brand’s growth and success. Agents who feel successful and appreciated in their role are far more likely to stay on and contribute more.
Enhance training and development programs
Training and development doesn’t stop at onboarding. From organizational topics to customer mindset to personal development, regular training initiatives help keep agents engaged and committed to their career development. Training and development programs can be tailored to make the most of agents’ unique skills and give them the chance to learn or expand their skillset. Opportunities for ongoing education give employees the chance to level up their abilities and put them to immediate use to improve their work experience and their brand’s customer experience.
Create a beneficial work environment
Before the pandemic, it was easier for management to keep its finger on the pulse of its workplace culture, with all employees working under the same roof. While the transition to a work-from-home or hybrid model has significantly changed that dynamic, it’s vital that companies incorporate employee feedback to improve the workplace. Demonstrating flexibility, accommodation and appreciation improves morale and work-life balance, and by prioritizing open communication and agent autonomy, your team will feel more supported for success.
Offer performance incentives
By regularly recognizing and rewarding agents who go the distance for your customers and team, you can foster a happier, more engaged work environment, and motivate up-and-coming agents to take up the torch. In addition to the obvious performance incentives such as pay bonuses, extra days off, scheduling and/or workplace flexibility, and team building and appreciation events, consider incentivizing educational opportunities for agents that advance professional growth and expand beneficial skill sets.
With these strategies in play, what’s the next step? It’s time to level up your call center’s technology. There is no better way to support agents in real time than by having a framework in place to improve communication, customer experience, feedback flow and organizational performance. From improving agent engagement to enhancing training and development, an agent-friendly, CX-focused system is a key factor in improving your contact center’s workplace culture, so that agents are supported to thrive, instead of just trying to survive!
BespokeCX gives contact center teams the framework, tools and perspective to build the workplace culture that creates and retains engaged and enthusiastic agents. By maximizing communication, operational alignment and agent performance, BespokeCX can help your contact center foster a stable and skilled workforce while delivering the kind of customer experience that deepens relationships. Visit www.bespokecx.com to learn more.