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Flexibility: the key to agent retention

Ring Central Blog

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4 min read

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Many contact centre businesses have experienced higher-than-normal staff turnover rates since the beginning of the pandemic. 

With agent turnover rates on the rise since the health crisis began, it became more difficult and costly for managers to operate their call or contact centres.

But thankfully, there are measures managers can adopt to rejuvenate their talent, keep them engaged at work, reduce agent effort, and boost motivation.

Building a hybrid team may provide just the right amount of flexibility to help improve agent retention in your contact centre.

How to create a hybrid contact centre

To ensure a successful hybrid work environment, consider the following.

Create an inclusive environment

It’s easy for remote workers to feel left out since they’re not physically present in the contact centre. That’s why it’s important to support all employees in a hybrid work environment and offer them opportunities to voice their opinions and concerns.

Always include remote workers in meetings, ask questions, get their opinions, and allow them to provide feedback on various issues. Collect as much information from remote employees about their experiences as possible. The more agents feel like they belong, the higher the chances that they will remain long-term employees.

Create a schedule that works for everyone

No matter what type of schedule a contact centre keeps, the key is to ensure that there is adequate coverage to field customer calls at all times. When establishing work schedules for both in-house and at-home workers, consider all needs. Flexibility is important, but different workers may have different outlooks on what a flexible schedule looks like based on their own experiences and lifestyle.

The levels of flexibility will vary for every employee, so it’s important to find out what each team member needs when creating a schedule for a hybrid workforce. RingCentral’s workforce optimisation tools with automatic, AI-driven scheduling tools across channels can help you get the job done efficiently.

Keep technology needs in mind

Digital technology is a staple for the modern contact centre. It’s helpful to consider what both new and veteran agents need to perform optimally in terms of technology, tools, solutions, and support. Technology for the purpose of meetings is also important to consider, as such tools are essential in communicating with all employees, whether in-house or remote.

Happy Woman Working From Home

Tips to keep agent turnover rates low

Contact centre management can adopt several tactics to ensure high agent retention rates with their hybrid workforce.

Open opportunities for remote workers

In 2021 alone, the rate of agent turnover was 30.5%. This not only sacrifices the efficiency of a contact centre but also compromises customer experiences. Having a remote workforce, however, can help counter such a situation.

According to Frost & Sullivan, the retention rate for remote workers is a healthy 80%, compared to an abysmal 25% for in-house agents. That’s a significant difference that contact centre managers should note. Simply redistributing agents and allowing many to work from home may help to reduce turnover rates. Again, flexibility is key.

Invest in agent training

Contact centre software is a crucial tool for managing and organizing customer calls. With the right digital solutions in place, agents can better handle a large influx of calls and customers will be left with a more successful and satisfying experience. However, without proper and personalized training, agents may find all these digital tools more of a burden than a blessing.

Comprehensive technical onboarding and ongoing training will ensure that agents are better equipped to use the tools available to them. In turn, agents will feel much more comfortable using these solutions to do their jobs and will help deliver a positive experience to customers.

Training needs to not be regimented. Consider offering flexible training programs and self-led training that fits into the agent’s personal circumstances and needs. It’s also important to compare performance before and after training to measure effectiveness and make changes as needed

Communicate appreciation to the staff

Showing your appreciation for agents, particularly those who are top performers, can do wonders for improving contact centre agent retention. According to Gallup Research, workers who feel they are not recognised or appreciated for their efforts are twice as likely to leave their current position and seek out new work. That leaves contact centres constantly having to recruit new talent and fill vacant roles, which takes up a lot of time, effort, and money.

Instead, contact centres can show their appreciation for their talent through measures such as public and private recognition, rewards, and pay promotions. Morale can also be boosted with fair and consistent feedback via  RingCentral’s Quality Management tool. Studies have shown that 69% of workers would put more effort into their work if they felt that they were better appreciated. Not only will these efforts help agents feel like more valued team players, but it can also foster a little healthy competition among agents that may help to encourage more productivity.

Implement gamification

Who doesn’t love to play games? Better yet, who doesn’t enjoy getting rewarded for reaching certain levels or achieving specific goals during a game? In a work setting, “gamification” can be implemented to make the work environment seem a little more fun and help agents enjoy their time spent on the clock.

Gamification uses game elements and principles that are applied to employee training, evaluation, and productivity. Leaderboards can also be used to encourage friendly competition. The goal of this strategy is to boost engagement, happiness, satisfaction, and loyalty. When agents are happy and satisfied at work, they’re more likely to stick around for the long haul.

RingCentral: the flexible contact centre best tech friend

With a remote team, digital technology is key. RingCentral offers cloud-based solutions for contact centres designed with both an in-house and hybrid workforce in mind. No matter what your contact centre is looking for, RingCentral has what you need. Call and speak with a representative today to request your free demo.

Originally published 28 Jun, 2022

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