How to Improve High Turnover in Call Centers

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How to Improve High Turnover in Call Centers

Call centers are notorious for their high turnover rates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the professional and business services industry (which includes call centers) had an annual turnover rate of 64.2% in 2021. That’s higher than the average—about 47.2% in the same year. In the most extreme cases, according to Bloomberg, attrition rates can be as high as 300% in call centers. 

Most likely, your call center is similarly afflicted with high turnover rates. So how can you improve high turnover in your call center? Let’s first diagnose how bad the problem is for your organization.

Do I Have a High Turnover Rate?

A little turnover at your company is perfectly healthy. Some experts find that a 10% turnover rate is expected and even encouraged to inject new life into your company. But it’s not healthy when your call center turnover rate is over that percentage or if it’s highly concentrated within the first 90 days of a new employee’s tenure at your company.

If you are concerned turnover is a serious issue at your company, calculate your rate to see how you stack up to the above averages.

5 Reasons for Call Center Turnover

Why do call centers have such high turnover rates? There are several factors worth considering.

1. Lack of Proper Training

Many call center agents simply don’t feel equipped to handle the high-stress situations that are all too common in the work setting. Many call centers expect their new hires to fail on their first few customer interactions but do not provide adequate training or support to keep that sense of failure from devolving into low morale. The result is a workforce that is uninterested in their work, which leads many to quit prematurely.

2. Unsatisfactory Salaries (or Lack of Other Rewards)

While a higher salary doesn’t always fix high turnover rates, it’s still a pressing issue for employees. A recent survey found inadequate pay was the second most common reason for a person to leave their job. And for many new hires, the low wages of an entry-level customer service agent are not worth the trouble.

3. Issues with Management

Sometimes the turnover problem stems from your employees’ supervisors. If your supervisors don’t provide adequate support to your employees or simply do not get along with most new hires, it may be worth retraining your managers.

4. Feelings of Isolation

Social connections among coworkers can be essential for employee engagement and satisfaction. But for remote call center employees, feelings of isolation can quickly creep in. Those impromptu conversations with coworkers aren’t available, and they can’t simply get their manager’s attention when they run into an issue. This isolation can quickly become exhausting, leading them to leave their job.

5. Involuntary Turnover

Turnover isn’t just from employees quitting — it also includes employees who are fired because of behavioral issues or continue to perform poorly. You may blame the employee quickly, but unengaged employees often come from poor onboarding strategies and a lack of structured training. If a large percentage of your turnover rate comes from involuntary turnover, that may reveal a more significant issue within your organization.

5 Ways to Reduce Call Center Turnover

Now that we know the potential sources of the problem, it’s time to consider how to improve your call center turnover rates. Here are five ways you can improve your call center employee retention:

1. Eliminate the Skill Gap

It’s natural for there to be at least some gap between your new hire’s abilities and the skills they need for their new role. To eliminate this skill gap, we recommend the following process:

  • Define the role: Why does the role exist? What are the essential skills needed to complete this role? Perhaps most importantly, what does success look like in this role? Make these expectations clear.
  • Identify the gap: Help the agent identify why there is a gap between their performance and what is expected. It’s usually an issue of either a lack of knowledge, a lack of commitment, or a lack of capacity.
  • Close the gap: With the reason for the gap identified, managers can work with their new hires to close those gaps through continued education or extra coaching.

These three steps can improve your chances of developing better training methods for new hires and foster better working relationships between employees and managers.

2. Set the Example for Success

Call center agents are more likely to feel the joys of success if they know what they’re supposed to aim for. Set a model of success, either through expected KPIs or quality assurance scores, and hold your new hires to those standards during your one-on-one meetings. When those standards for success are often repeated, your agents can have an easier time holding themselves accountable.

3. Establish Fair Benefit Packages

Some new hires may be disgruntled to learn about large disparities between their benefits packages and the packages offered to your executive leadership. While offering additional perks and privileges to those with a longer tenure at your company is normal, the differences should not be drastic. Leveling out these benefits can be a great way to help your new hires feel appreciated and valued.

4. Encourage the Pursuit of Future Goals

Chances are your agents will not stick around at your company for the duration of their careers. They may not even stay in the customer service industry. It’s ok to acknowledge that fact. You may even try to help your agents succeed.

Doing so can show your employees you care about their well-being both in and out of the workplace, which can help them feel appreciated and encouraged to come to work.

5. Use Quality Assurance as a Training Opportunity

Your managers should review every employee’s performance, regardless of their experience. Have your manager sit down on a real client call with an agent to note what they do well and what they could improve on. This weekly quality assurance session can be used to fine-tune your agents’ performance and better teach your agents what is expected of them.

Keep Your Agents Around with ClearSource BPO

At ClearSource BPO, we pride ourselves on our ability to engage our customer service agents to produce long-lasting partnerships and satisfied customers. If you want to tap into our outsourced pool of dedicated agents or just want to talk shop about how you can engage your workforce, give us a call today.