On Apr, 1 2022
The life of a contact center agent isn’t easy. It involves helping customer after customer with little to no recognition for taking on a difficult issue and finding a solution. They work with people who are frequently frustrated and unhappy, knowing it’s their job to change the mood of this person by resolving their problem efficiently.
It's the pressure of working with demanding customers every day in a highly structured environment which makes agent burnout a real thing. And, according to Forbes via the U.S. Bureau of Labor, burnout continues to be a significant driver of increasing contact center agent churn rate.
-- At roughly one year, the average customer support agent between the ages of 20 and 34 stays at a single job for a much shorter time than other employees.
-- The turnover rate on average for a call center agent is somewhere between 30 and 45%, which is almost double the rate of other departments.
Given this information, what can contact centers do to help reduce agent churn and keep agents employed? Here are a few solutions found within workforce management (WFM) software that can help.
1) Shift bidding lets agents have a say in when they work – Having a schedule dictated each week to an agent is far from ideal. It makes the agent’s day constantly revolve around work with no input or consideration for their lifestyle or personal needs. Because of this, more contact centers are implementing shift bidding solutions to provide agents with input around when they work. With this system, a short window of time opens up where agents place bids on the different blocks of shifts they would prefer to work. When the window ends, a schedule will be automatically created within the WFM software solution based on the bids of each agent. It’s a solution to create the schedule your contact center needs while automatically taking into consideration the preferences of an individual agent.
2) A mobile WFM app promotes a better work/life balance – No agent wants to be tied down to a computer when they have a day off. Because of this, more contact centers are leveraging a mobile app with WFM capabilities to stay connected with their agent workforce wherever they are. It’s a modern way to let relevant agents know about overtime and undertime opportunities quickly while also helping to improve the response rates for these requests.
3) An agent portal enables customized communication – While a mobile app may be a hit with most agents, it’s still important to provide agents with communication options. For example, if an agent is on temporary leave, they probably don’t want to be getting messages about shift opportunities. Notification options and much more can all be customized individually within an agent portal. Enabling agents to learn about work the way they prefer is important to keeping retention levels high.
4) Adherence lets agents self-monitor their performance – Found within both a WFM app and the agent portal is adherence information. This data tells an individual agent (and management) how they have been performing from an attendance perspective over the past day, week, and month. Having transparency with adherence information not only builds trust but it also lets good agents self-correct any bad behavior. And, when an agent fixes their own problem, it’s one less negative interaction they need to have with their supervisor. This is important because stress from management can be a key factor in driving agent churn.
5) Streamlined time off makes it easier to recharge – Sometimes the best way to prevent burnout is just by having some time away. WFM software provides time off management capabilities that meet the needs of agents. Instead of getting frustrated trading emails about which days are available or having multiple requests denied, agents can see in real-time how likely they are to have a time off request approved over a specific date range. Some contact centers are also utilizing time off bidding to provide agents with an opportunity to bid for time away on holidays and other highly requested days.
To summarize, WFM software helps contact centers reduce agent burnout because the technology improves the input agents have when it comes to their work. By providing an infrastructure which promotes mobility, preference, and convenience, WFM software has become an essential solution for reducing agent burnout and churn.