Contact centers around the world experience exceptionally high attrition rates.
According to Response Design Corporation, in 2009 contact center’s employee turnover has reached 26%.
A more recent study, from 2011 showed attrition rates of 21%, while noting that these rates are constantly rising. Of course these numbers vary by sector, region, and the classification of the employee (e.g. turnover for part-time employees are approximately 33% annually). But whichever the exact number is, the fact that in a 1000-agent contact center, managers should expect over 200 to leave by the end of the year, is extremely challenging. If we can safely assume that these numbers cannot be drastically changed, contact centers have to find new ways to cope with this reality.
In this blog post I will examine the impact of the high turnover on the contact center and what can be done to alleviate its effects.
The real cost and impact of contact center employee turnover
According to Chron, the typical call center spends $4,000 hiring each new employee and another $4,800 in training. However, these figures do not factor in the indirect costs of employee turnover, which can include the following examples:
- No productivity during training – during the classroom training period, which can last at least a month, the employee is not productive by definition.
- Overtime hours for current employees – a shortage of workers could require the company to offer overtime hours to current employees.
- Additional on-the-job training by the supervisor – the onboarding process does not end in the classroom. In reality, new CSRs have difficulty retaining all the knowledge which was transferred during training and studies show that learners may forget up to 80% of what they’ve learned within only couple of weeks following the on-board training. This puts a much greater burden on the supervisors, who need to spend a lot of their time training new employees instead of focusing on improving the quality of existing ones. Another challenge is that since the supervisor cannot guide all new employees all the time, these non-proficient employees end up trying to cope with the interactions on their own, thereby hurting customer satisfaction and other important parameters, such as AHT and FCR.
These are only a few of many factors that account for the real cost of turnover. These costs can accumulate to double or triple the direct cost of training, bringing the total cost for these 200 employees to over 3 Million dollars a year. And this is without considering the damage to customer satisfaction and other performance indicators.
So, what do contact centers need to do?
To alleviate the impact of high turnover contact centers must strive to:
- Minimize classroom training periods – classroom training is necessary to get the CSRs acquainted with procedures and the systems involved, but since most of the knowledge is forgotten, it should be minimized to focus only on formal training on the core agent capabilities such as communication skills, language training and customer interaction.
- Minimize training and guidance by supervisors – the supervisors should focus on quality. They need to help deal with edge cases and under-performing CSR’s. If the onboarding process relies on supervisor guidance, they will not be able to do their jobs at all, and, of course, since they can’t help all new employees all the time, the onboarding itself is inefficient. [/item]
The solution – Desktop automation and guidance
Desktop automation and guidance solutions, such as Nintex Kryon System’s Leo, operate as a transparent “on the job” guidance tool, providing context-based information and guiding the agents on the steps required to complete tasks and processes. The guidance, which appear on the agent’s screens as “balloons” with short and extremely relevant tips and information, covers aspects of proficiency in using the system as well as business/customer-related information (e.g. what the agent should say to the customer, what questions to ask, what to offer etc.).
By implementing Leo as an onboarding solution the contact center can:
- Minimize the classroom training – providing most of the training on the job itself, which has proven to be much more effective.
- Provide immediate answers to questions – the information becomes immediately available to the CSR, eliminating the call-hold periods and providing first call resolution for almost all issues.
- Support availability – unlike the supervisor support, which is of course limited, the system is available to all the CSRs all the time.
- Turns new employees into productive CSRs – new employees become productive almost immediately.
- Supervisors can focus on quality (not training) – finally supervisors can focus on improving the overall quality of the entire contact center.
- Automate time-consuming tasks – post-call wrap-up, and accessing multiple legacy systems and sources of information can be time consuming. LEO’s “Do it” mode allows complete automation of these time consuming processes and tasks.