Most contact center managers know that sophisticated call center software can help them measure performance metrics or track agents down to the minute. But few know that they can increase employee engagement and reduce call center turnover with the same technology. Here are 8 ways the right call center features and functionalities can help you build and maintain a strong, engaged team.
While turnover is at an all-time high in today’s workplace, call center attrition rates are downright dismal, with averages ranging between 30-45%. According to Forrester, some contact centers have turnover rates as low as 5%, but others struggle with attrition in the triple digits.
How do some call centers hold on to their employees for longer, and what can you do to decrease turnover rates in your organization?
Call centers have a notorious reputation for being difficult places to work, whether agents handle customer complaints or work on outbound sales campaigns. But the old adage of taking care of your employees because they will take care of your customers seems to hold true; implementing this principle in every-day call-center management helps organizations counter the effects of difficult client calls and reduce their agent turnover significantly.
Reasons behind contact center attrition can be varied, but global consulting firm Mercer’s 2016 U.S. Contact Center Survey seems to point to non-challenging work, lack of recognition, no career growth or development opportunities and inflexible working environment among key contributing factors leading to poor employee engagement and low job satisfaction. According to Aaron Hurst, the lack of purpose in their work can demoralize agents as well; the globally recognized entrepreneur says that when employees clearly see the impact of their work on the entire organization, they identify the success of the company with their personal mission, which leads to a strong sense of purpose, as well as long-term commitment and loyalty.
On the other hand, disengagement among agents can negatively impact the entire organization, resulting in lowered team morale, stagnant performance metrics, a drop in operational efficiency and, as a result, a higher than average agent attrition. Symptoms of disengagement could include chronic absenteeism, poor performance, poor schedule adherence or low motivation. Ignoring these symptoms can significantly increase turnover rates. Most successful call centers pay close to attention to such metrics and put time, effort and resources into keeping their employees on board and happy.
Most contact center managers know that sophisticated call center software can help them measure performance metrics or track agents down to the minute, helping them streamline operations and boost efficiency. But few know that they can increase employee engagement and satisfaction with the same technology. Here are 8 ways the right features and functionalities can help you build and maintain a strong, engaged team.
While the mood of your callers may seem like the one factor that is completely outside of your control, the right technology can help you decrease the number of difficult conversations your team members are exposed to, improving their job satisfaction. The Call-Back feature offered by most cloud contact center providers enables your clients to leave a call back number instead of waiting on the line. As a result, callers can feel more productive while waiting to be contacted and may be significantly less stressed when talking to your agents, even if the subject of the conversation is a complaint. A simple implementation of the Call-Back feature provides both your clients and agents with much more pleasant customer service experiences.
In today’s world every business decision is data-driven, and call center management should not be an exception. Real-Time and Historic Reports can provide you with valuable insights into the performance of your contact center, helping you measure call volume and identify peak calling times to staff more efficiently. Ensuring that your call center is always staffed appropriately during the busiest hours can help reduce agent burnout, and in return provides your customers with the patient and friendly service they deserve. Providing your team with enough time to recharge and refocus between calls and accounting for any sick days, time off or training periods can significantly decrease call center turnover.
Automatic Call Distribution routes client calls to the right agent based on pre-established handling instructions that fit the unique needs of your organization and team. With skills-based routing, your customers’ needs can be addressed by the agent best equipped to handle their call, whether they have the necessary technical knowledge or speak the right language. Intelligent call distribution not only helps agents better serve customers’ needs, but it can also improve their confidence in their capabilities as a result and reduce their stress levels as well.
Contact centers are among the most stressful places to work, thus, every bit of technology that makes an agent’s work easier can dramatically increase their job satisfaction, and as a result, reduce call center turnover. Most cloud call center software providers know this and have developed several features and functionalities to meet this need. CRM Integrations are particularly useful as they can quickly pull customer data from a large number of applications such as Salesforce, Zoho or Zendesk, and display the information on your agents’ screens for any inbound or outbound calls. Combined with Caller ID, CRM integrations can let agents know what to expect from the next call and provide relevant information to help them better respond to caller requests. Agents can directly enter information into the directory, creating a unified database for the entire organization. A unified collection of data can be particularly useful when handling complex issues over the course of several calls or when a customer case is routed through internal processes and across different business units. CRM Integration not only saves agents time, but prepares and equips them for handling caller issues, thus boosting their confidence and decreasing burnout rates.
According to a survey conducted by Salary.com, 82% of managers think they provide clear goals and expectations for their employees, but only 46% of their staff feels the same way. A lack of clear expectations is a common cause of workplace stress for employees, and if not handled properly, it can lead to a dramatic increase in turnover. In a call center, clarifying expectations sets agents up for long-term success, reducing conflicts and workplace dissatisfaction. Providing your new agents with thorough training using Recorded Calls that exemplify both positive and problematic behaviors helps them understand the culture and unique challenges of their new workplace, as well as the bar they will be required to meet. In addition, the Whisper feature lets you guide your new hires through their first few customer calls and use real-life examples to clarify your instructions. A team of employees that feel properly trained and prepared for their job is your first line of defense against call center turnover.
Quality of service assessment is vital for successful operations in any call center, and constant feedback is one of the most important building blocks to promoting superior job performance. But ensuring that agents constantly grow in their roles is also a large contributor to their job satisfaction. Providing your team with regular training, targeted feedback, as well as support when they fall short of standards will ensure that they keep progressing in their careers and do not take their talents and potential elsewhere. You can use the Whisper function to guide agents through complicated or difficult customer issues and listen in on live calls or monitor Performance Analytics to assess each agent’s performance. Basing your feedback and training on performance data or call recordings will help you give targeted feedback, show agents your dedication to their success and will prevent any feelings of personal targeting. Clear and thorough communication in the beginning, throughout, and at the end of each review cycle not only equips your team for customer service success but keeps them dedicated and loyal as well, dramatically reducing call center turnover.
Regular performance reviews accompanied by raises and incentives can keep your team morale high but cost your organization significantly less money than call center turnover. In-depth Analytics can help you set up incentive programs on a wide range of KPIs including new sales, repeat business, debt collected vs. debt outstanding, number of appointments booked, ticket resolution time, first-call resolution or customer satisfaction rates. Focusing on KPIs that support the organizational mission will empower your team to contribute meaningfully to company goals, as well as feel purposeful in their work as they understand how their progress contributes to the overall progression of the department and the growth of the organization. Real Time and Historic Reports can help you keep track of your team’s performance and set appropriate goals for your agents for quotas, contests and reward programs. Incentives can go a long way in making your agents feel appreciated, keeping them motivated on difficult days, and more likely to go the extra mile to provide your customers with great service. Feeling isolated is a very common complaint in contact centers, so organizing team competitions is a great way to boost morale and foster a sense of belonging among your agents.
80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part time, and call center agents are no exception. Providing your team with a flexible schedule, respecting their personal lives and allowing them to work from home occasionally will significantly boost their job satisfaction and reduce your call center turnover. Most cloud call center providers include VoIP based desktop and mobile applications into their offering, enabling your agents to work from anywhere and any device. These solutions give you full oversight over remote workers and enable them to make calls using their office extension and caller ID, presenting your customers with a unified company brand image no matter where your team is located. In addition, telecommuting solutions will ensure complete continuity in your call center even if employees are unable to make it to the office due to bad weather conditions or construction work in your office building.
Advances in call center technology have made the management of contact centers much more efficient and aligned with a company’s business growth goals. But these solutions have an equally strong potential to solve long-existing human resources issues like call center turnover. Implementing a few simple features to make your agents’ work easier, contribute to their growth and provide them with a sense of purpose and belonging can go a long way in reducing attrition and building a dedicated, engaged customer service team.