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Four Easy Ways To Reduce Agent Turnover

by Cameron Weeks, CEO, Sharpen Technologies - April 6, 2018

Four Easy Ways to Reduce Agent Turnover

By: Cameron Weeks, CEO of Sharpen Technologies
 
Agents are frontline problem-solvers who set the stage for customer satisfaction. However, despite being the lifeline of every contact center, agent turnover is costing the industry millions and showing no signs of slowing down. Employee retention rates are as low as 50 percent, costing a single contact center more than $300,000 a year to recruit and train new replacements. To reduce agent turnover, consider implementing the following agent-first initiatives in the contact center.
 
Offer new training opportunities
The job of a contact center agent is often exhausting and seemingly thankless. For many, the profession can feel unrewarding and with limited opportunity for advancement. Adding to the stress of the job is a lack of proper training that’s leaving both agents and customers to suffer. In fact, contact center managers only spend 7 percent of their time during the week on employee development. Without the right training, agents will quickly become overwhelmed by the pressure and workload of dealing with unhappy customers.
 
Agent turnover and the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) are two primary concerns of vice presidents of customer service today. Yet, lack of training, complex processes, outdated KPIs and lack of growth opportunities are continuing to result in as much as 45 percent in agent turnover.
 
Contact center leaders are focusing their time in the wrong areas. Accenture reports that contact center managers spend roughly 53 percent of their time on administrative tasks, such as searching for information. Supervisors and agents agree, they need more time for coaching and training.
 
In order to keep agents happy, supervisors must establish career paths for them and provide additional training opportunities. Employees who take part in additional training are generally more satisfied, translating into higher-quality work and better customer experiences
 
Leading industry technology makes agent training easier by providing immediate feedback and eliminating the need to focus on tedious, time-consuming work. This software presents relevant data at-a-glance, including key data points like Agent Experience Score, and can tackle administrative tasks, freeing up time for supervisors to provide more one-on-feedback for employees.
 
Implement stay interviews
Stay interviews are one of the easiest agent-retention programs to execute and require no additional monetary investment. During the interview, the goal is to gather important information about employee engagement and happiness to gain insight into the agent’s longevity with the company. With those details, supervisors can put together an action plan to address any issues brought to light during the interview, as well as ways to enhance the employee’s experience.
 
Results from stay interviews have been astoundingly positive with some call centers savings hundreds of thousands of dollars and reducing agent turnover by 20 percent or more.
 
Incentivize top performers
Top performing agents are your most valuable resources, making it vital to offer incentives so they remain with your organization. This can be done by rewarding them with exclusive training opportunities. For instance, if an agent has interest in working in another department, start an inter-company mentor program. Another possible option is a management trainee class. The main goal of extra training opportunities is to recognize top agents and show them that the company will continue to invest in their success. This also demonstrates to lower-performing agents that hard work pays off.
 
Allow more flexibility
Employees of contact centers with flexible schedules report flexibility as one of the top three benefits. One way to accomplish more flexible schedules is with self-rostering and annualized hours:
 
        Self-rostering: Peers working together to agree on their schedules is shown to reduce absenteeism and turnover.
        Annualized hours: With annualized hours, the total number of hours worked per year is calculated, as opposed to on a weekly basis. On this system, contact centers can more easily allow agents to take time off for vacation or personal days. For instance, if an agent takes four days off the job, they can make up those hours over the next few months by taking on extra shifts here and there.
 
Final Thoughts
Reducing agent turnover by employing an agent-first mentality is finally a possibility. It will help establish a robust workplace environment that translates to high-quality customer service. Implement these action items and start improving today’s contact center culture to create better agent experiences.
 
About Cameron Weeks
Cameron Weeks is CEO of Sharpen, a contact center platform with an agent-first focus. Sharpen’s cloud-native contact center platform helps midsize to enterprise-level companies create perfect customer experiences. Designed for agent productivity and efficiency, Sharpen offers a solution for both customer support and outbound sales teams. Through better technology, the company is creating happier agents and seamless customer experiences. Learn more at www.sharpencx.com.
 

 
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