On Sep, 24 2021
Losing a top agent can be a rough day in your contact center. They not only performed well at their job, but they also boosted the morale of the entire team and inspired their colleagues.
Regardless of their reason for leaving, they become another agent that has moved on and needs to be replaced. This process of having agents leave and needing to hire new employees to take their spot is known as agent churn. It’s an important metric and one many contact centers look to reduce as much as possible. Why? Because too much agent churn can create instability in both contact center performance and morale, both of which have a negative effect on the overall customer experience.
So, what can be done to reduce the impact of churn and improve agent retention? Here are seven strategies to help decrease your churn rate and create a more consistent and reliable contact center.
1) Hire the right agents from the start – One of the best ways to reduce your churn rate is to improve the quality of each agent you bring in. Ensure you are asking the right agent interview questions so you know every agent is a good culture fit with the skills you need.
2) Prioritize training and onboarding – For agents, confidence is directly tied to knowledge. Improve how an agent feels about their job from day one by providing them with the information they need for success through up-front training and onboarding. Being able to solve customer issues without assistance is empowering and keeps agents around. It’s essential that an agent gets off on the right foot or they may resign after only a few weeks into their tenure with your company.
3) Lean into agent preferences – A great way to improve agent satisfaction is by catering your demands to their preferences. By asking each agent for their preferred shift times and support channels, you can create a schedule that meets their needs. Tracking the unique preferences of each agent in your WFM software solution is also an excellent way to simplify the scheduling process.
4) Recognize great ideas amongst the team – Too often agent workforces don’t feel like they are heard by contact center leadership. Instead, strive towards creating a culture of open communication by acknowledging great ideas from agents in front of the team. Not every idea from your agents will be great (or even good), but it’s the fact that they feel comfortable sharing ideas that truly matters.
5) Provide agents with new opportunities – Another common reason why agents can move on from their job is because they don’t feel challenged. Be direct and ask every agent when it’s relevant if they want to learn new skills (such as working on a different channel or product line). Expanding agent knowledge improves both your own scheduling options and overall contact center morale.
6) Promote from within when at all possible – Some agents decide to stay with a contact center for more reasons than just enjoying their work and their colleagues. They also want to see a proven, visible path on how they can improve their career. This can be accomplished by promoting from within your company instead of always relying on outside hires. This strategy provides existing agents with a template of how someone in their current role evolved into a senior and powerful position within your company. Having this person assist with training is a solid way to improve their visibility and it also provides them with a platform to share their inspirational story.
7) Hold exit interviews and take feedback seriously – If an agent still decides to leave your company, always try to have an exit interview. Find out what the agent liked and didn’t enjoy when working within the contact center. Have the person conducting the interview take detailed notes and track common agent feedback topics. The pros and cons provided during these interviews can be discussed amongst your contact center leadership several times a year.
To summarize, reducing agent churn and improving contact center agent retention are objectives that should always be top of mind within your contact center. Accomplishing both objectives will require a unique blend of culture and technology to keep your churn rate low and overall agent morale high.