Top 10 Reasons Call Center Agents Leave Contact Centers
Contact Center Pipeline, in its survey, reports contact center leaders see agent turnover as their primary challenge. The same survey respondents offer a glimpse of a silver lining. They intend to emphasize coaching and development in an attempt to lower turnover rates. But this doesn’t give much insight into why agents leave contact centers.
The Reasons – Drumroll Please!
1. Work Colleagues
Depending on the call center, agents may spend hours in each other’s company. When hiring, focus on finding the “right fit” – people who mesh with the culture and existing workforce. Adding to that, try to create opportunities for collaboration – agents develop camaraderie through working together.
At Business Insider, Travis Bradberry explains that many employees don’t leave jobs, “they leave managers.” Managers hold the company’s proverbial wheel, guiding it to the place it finds itself – for better or worse. If workloads and culture focus on a work/life balance and giving the skills employees need to succeed – employees are not likely to leave. Managers who overwork staff or rarely reward excellent work might just make their agents jump ship.
3. Career Growth
Agents sitting at desks, answering phones all day might push out employees who are looking for proof of development or advancement. But what does advancement look like when the only manager role has been filled, and the number say that team leads are keeping everyone on task?
Some contact centers allow agents to work from home on a limited (or full-time) basis. Agents who excel at customer service, for example, could eventually become a customer experience consultant, or at minimum begin training for management or team lead roles. Just remember this: agents need to know about those kinds of career avenues. The knowledge inspires them toward greater levels of productivity, achievement and engagement.
Agents also want a fair wage and medical benefits. Without them, they soon begin looking for a new job. But good pay and benefits only act as a baseline. Leading contact centers set and share remuneration strategies with their agents, helping them see how their work translates into real-world rewards. Some contact centers also offer incentives to increase workplace satisfaction, engagement and productivity. Call center agent communities value preferential shifts, work from home options and other perks, and will put their high-performance hats on when the benefit to them is evident.
5. Development and Training
Training proves critical in contact centers, mostly because new hires rarely know how to handle difficult customers. Add new call center software to the mix, and agents stumble under the pressure of learning curves and performance goals. Leading contact centers remove the stumbling blocks with rigorous onboarding. Add regular training and workshops for best practices, procedures and new regulations and you’ve built a crack squad of problem-solving, selling or servicing machines.
6. “Time to Make the Donuts”
At contact centers, agents spend the majority of their time taking and making calls. The repetitive nature of the work occasionally lulls agents into a stupor, making them feel like drones obeying a manager’s commands. When that repetitiveness wears thin, some agents will start to hunt for more stimulating work. Best-in-class contact centers avoid the scenario by doing two things. First, they care about their agents’ passions outside work and ensure agents have time to pursue those passions. Second, they give agents challenges, awakening agents’ creativity and problem-solving skills. Try tapping them for their special skills to create a best practice cheat sheet for call handling, closing deals or efficiently solving tricky call issues. Their input will help them know their skill are valued and contributing to the whole team.
Culture may sound like a buzzword. To be fair, people worry the word to death. But culture remains important. It sets the contact center’s tone and communicates values. Agents sometimes discover that culture on their own. But the best contact centers define it with a mission, vision and code of conduct. They then follow through on those commitments, demonstrating they practice what they preach.
8. Emotional and Mental Support
Between fluctuating call volumes and irate customers, call center agents can leave work emotionally, mentally and physically drained. But not all agents know how to prepare for the stresses of the call center environment. Contact centers retain these agents by encouraging them to take breaks, talk with a mentor or sign up for a health and wellness class. Also, alternating agent roles to diversify their skills and challenge them can bring freshness to a difficult job.
9. Technology and Tools
Even with solid training, call center agents often grow frustrated. They possess the right skills but lack appropriate technology and tools. And without good tools, the entire contact center suffers. Customers struggle to receive information, make payments or take other actions; agents suffer from long load times and inefficient processes; and managers spend vast amounts of time pulling reports and forecasting future needs. The solution to the challenges is simple: modern call center management software. It helps all three parties, simplifying reporting and day-to-day work and making it easy for customers to manage their accounts.
Call center agents expect their managers to set performance goals. But sometimes, the goals are unclear or unrealistic. A baseline of reasonable expectations and stretch goals can be developed from reliable business intelligence; monthly reporting metrics tied to feedback from floor managers can make targets reasonable, growth achievable and keep agents happy and knowing where they are and where they need to be.
Lowering attrition isn’t magic. It takes effort, information and a plan. But using the information here can build higher levels of engagement, productivity and, in the end, a floor full of productive, happy agents.
Companies wanting to solve a turnover issue should check out TCN’s Business Intelligence, a tool that turns call center data into actionable insights.