Top factors that drive agent attrition and what to do about them

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Highlights:

  • Workers are quitting their jobs in droves, prompting the recent years to be dubbed “The Great Resignation.”
  • Several factors play a role in agent attrition rates, including lack of innovative technology, weak collaboration among agents and supervisors, and burnout.
  • RingCentral’s digital tools can help transform the modern contact center to make the job of agents easier and more effective, thereby helping to keep agent attrition rates at bay.

The past couple of years have been characterized as the “Great Resignation,” as workers across the US quit their jobs in droves in hopes of something bigger and better. Contact centers, in particular, have notoriously high turnover rates, and the recent health crisis has exacerbated the issue.

If your contact center is experiencing high agent turnover, paying attention to agent attrition trends can help you discover where and how to reverse the trends, improve operations, and reduce the heavy costs associated with agent churn.

To discover agent attrition trends across the industry, BenchmarkPortal conducted a survey to gain some valuable insight into what is driving agents to leave their jobs. According to BenchmarkPortal, the pandemic seems to have had a significant impact on agent attrition. More specifically, 65.6% poll participants reported an increase in attrition.


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Here are some of the main factors that drive agent attrition, and what you can do about them.

Top reasons for higher agent attrition

According to data collected by Benchmark Portal’s recent survey, the following top the list for reasons why agents leave their jobs:

  1. Increased workload: 55.9%
  2. Compensation too low: 52.9%
  3. Struggle with tools/software: 51.5%
  4. Lack of manager support: 33.8%
  5. No clear career path: 33.8%
  6. Lack of collaboration/access to supervisors/SMEs: 32.4%
  7. Didn’t like working from home: 27.5%
  8. Low CSAT/angry customers: 26.0%
  9. Concerned that they’ll be replaced by AI/bots: 7.4%

Let’s take a closer look at a few of these in more detail:

  1. Increased workload

More than half of those surveyed claim that an increase in workload is causing agents to leave their jobs. Agents should be as productive as possible with their shifts, but it’s important to be realistic about how much they can tackle without burning out early.

The rate of agent turnover has been inching up over recent years:

  • 2019: 21.08%
  • 2020: 21.85%
  • 2021: 22.38%

Meanwhile, agents seemingly are increasing the number of calls they’re taking per hour, as per the following metrics:

  • 2019: 6.07 calls per hour
  • 2020: 6.20 calls per hour
  • 2021: 7.07 calls per hour

While the last set of numbers may look promising, they could also be leading to agent burnout. More calls taken per hour could be a sign of more efficiency, but it could also point to more work being piled on agents, who may feel more overwhelmed with their jobs and burn out faster.

Contact centers need to be careful with numbers like these and may consider easing the level of agent work by increasing training and tools; otherwise, agents may resign in greater numbers.

One of the best things management can do to ensure agents are still productive without risking burnout is to provide them with the tools and training needed to get the job done. That means investing in comprehensive training at onboarding, as well as providing ongoing training as required.

It also means giving agents the technology and tools needed to be as efficient and successful at fielding customer calls as possible, which many contact centers may be lacking.

  1. Low compensation

Pay is always a factor in worker satisfaction. Higher pay is always welcome, but contact centers must balance agent desire for higher pay with organizational desire to keep costs in check. That said, contact centers can offer competitive pay by ensuring their bottom line is always protected, and a big part of that involves cutting costs where possible, including reducing agent attrition.

It costs thousands of dollars for contact centers to attract and retain certified and properly trained agents, so keeping them on payroll for as long as possible can slash costs. Some of these savings may be passed on to agents in the form of better pay.

  1. Struggle with tools and software

About half of respondents of BenchmarkPortal’s poll claim that either a lack of modern technology or inadequate training on how to use these tools properly is a problem that can push agents out the door faster.

Some of the more specific issues that agents complain about in the realm of technology include the following:

  • System issues
  • Technology glitches
  • Slow speed
  • Too many apps
  • Too little integration

Contact centers should invest in robust digital platforms to help agents become more efficient at work and provide in-depth training on how to use these tools effectively.

If you’re thinking that you cannot invest in advanced technology right now, it may be time to re-evaluate your position. In many cases, using leading-edge technology can actually slash costs. For example, RingCentral’s market-leading contact center solution is a one-stop solution for contact centers that includes everything you need to run your center effectively and efficiently.

This all-in-one solution reduces the need for app switching, making agents more efficient and productive and improving their work experience in the process. Happier agents mean lower attrition rates in the long run. The lesson? Investing in the right technology can actually reduce overall costs while increasing overall productivity and profitability for your contact center.

agent at work

  1. Lack of manager support

Agents seem to be more satisfied when they feel that their workplace is a community. Employees want to feel like they’re part of something that works well to achieve a common goal, and supervisors play a key role in helping to create a positive company culture. Admittedly, this can be challenging when a large portion of your agents may be working remotely, but the right communication tools can help even remote workers feel a part of the work community.

  1. Lack of collaboration with supervisors

Similarly, a remote or hybrid workplace model can increase the likelihood that agents feel out of touch with their supervisors. Especially for agents accustomed to working in the same physical location with supervisors, suddenly being in the position of working remotely may cause an uncomfortable disconnect.

Supervisors can ease this discomfort by using collaboration tools to stay in touch with agents no matter where they are. Scheduling regular check-ins to discuss agent concerns is a good way to maintain connection.

Contact center solutions that include workforce management and analytics also play a role in keeping supervisors and agents connected. With in-depth analytics on agent performance, for example, supervisors can quickly identify and address signs of agent burnout, which, in turn, can lower attrition rates appreciably.

Technology plays a key role in lower attrition rates

Interestingly, BenchmarkPortal’s data also showed some of the main reasons why contact centers with low attrition rates have been so successful. Many of the reasons for lower rates of attrition stem from better use of technology, as can be seen from the following figures:

  • Enabled remote work: 70.1%
  • Strong manager support: 57.9%
  • Effective collaboration and access to managers: 50.5%
  • Flexible tools and software: 37.5%
  • Career coaching and transparent advancement opportunities: 37.4%
  • Managed CSAT and effectively managed customer needs: 29%
  • Help agents with AI tools: 21.5%

Implementing strong managerial leadership and innovative technology can make a significant difference in agent retention rates.

RingCentral’s holistic approach to keeping agents happy and productive

While contact centers traditionally spend a lot of time in a customer-focused mentality, perhaps migrating to an agent-focused environment may work best. Happier and more productive agents typically drive more positive customer experiences.

With RingCentral’s cloud-based digital tools, the job of the agent can be made more efficient, effective, and satisfying for workers.

RingCentral CCaaS offers cloud-based customer experience solutions with:

  • Omnichannel capability
  • AI
  • IVR self-service
  • Smart routing
  • CRM integrations
  • WEM
  • Enhanced analytics

RingCentral MVP is an effective UCaaS solution that integrates all collaboration and communication needs in one simple platform:

  • Message
  • Phone
  • Video
  • Analytics

Adding RingCentral’s contact center solution to the mix means that your contact center will have all the communications tools and technology it needs to keep agents happy and productive.

Integrating RingCentral’s digital tools can help agents feel more empowered and engaged at work, which will, in turn, help drive more positive customer experiences and company success.

To learn more about how to curb agent attrition and keep good workers on the roster, watch the full webinar with RingCentral and BenchmarkPortal today.

Originally published Sep 08, 2022

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