- American workers are quitting their jobs at record rates, leaving employers scrambling to fill positions.
- Contact centers are not immune to the “Great Resignation” and need to adopt tactics to attract and retain high-quality agents.
- Part of the solution involves implementing innovative digital technologies to help make the job of a contact center agent more appealing.
Compared with many other industries, contact center turnover rates have historically been rather high, at 30 to 45 percent according to 2019 industry figures. Unfortunately, the global health events of 2020-2021 did nothing to make those figures more favorable.
The Great Resignation takes hold
The number of American workers quitting their jobs has never been higher, particularly among those in the customer service industry. The issue is so dire that it’s been dubbed the “Great Resignation,” a term coined in the fall of 2021 in an article published in the Harvard Business Review. The publication noted that in July of 2021 alone, about four million Americans were quitting their jobs.
A month later, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced another 4.3 million people quit their jobs, representing 2.9% of the entire workforce. This number seems to be growing and shows little sign of slowing down.
Some are leaving their jobs to seek higher-paying positions, while others are looking for a completely different career path. Interestingly, a big driver of this trend appears to be among workers with no college degree. Regardless, this high number of people quitting their jobs and the tight competition among employers to fight for good workers is giving employees more power when it comes to getting better jobs at higher pay.
There are plenty of jobs to go around, but not a lot of workers are necessarily snatching up these opportunities. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Federation of Independent Businesses, about half of American employers can’t find anyone to fill their positions, particularly entry-level jobs.
This situation has placed employers in a position to make the jobs they offer as appealing as possible, both to attract new recruits and to retain employees already on the roster. This often means much higher labor costs for employers, including those in contact centers.
The recent health crisis may have prompted agents to re-evaluate their careers, and as competition among employers to attract skilled workers increases, service leaders may find it difficult to find and retain agents. Contact center managers are finding themselves in a position to have to reimagine their operations and revamp the overall agent workplace experience.
What can contact centers do?
The job of an agent is paramount to a contact center. Fielding calls from customers remains a crucial task, despite all the digital technology that has been developed to make the job of an agent more efficient. While such innovations are necessary for the modern contact center, they simply do not replace the work of a live agent.
What can contact centers do to retain good workers?
Increase wages when possible. In an effort to attract and retain good workers, contact centers may choose to boost their wages. Although this move sounds expensive, it may not actually be as expensive as you may think. For example, if higher wages help you to retain the talent you already have in place, you will not have to budget for additional onboarding and training of new agents. In some cases, the savings contact centers can reap from retaining agents can more than compensate for a modest wage increase for loyal agents.
Offer sign-on bonuses. Contact centers may also want to consider offering sign-on bonuses to attract new agents. This also involves additional costs, though it may be worthwhile if it yields a crop of high-quality workers.
Incorporate self-serve options. Adding technology that allows customers to resolve their issues or answer their questions on their own using digital tools can alleviate a lot of stress on agents. In turn, contact centers may not necessarily need a beefed-up workplace. In fact, self-service options may be a welcomed addition for customers, many of which may actually prefer to attempt to handle their inquiries on their own.
Automated solutions can be a cost-effective solution for contact centers and reduce the handling time of incoming calls, both of which are major benefits.This type of technology would be best used to handle the more common call types and inquiries, which can help improve both the customer and agent experience.
Re-invent your onboarding and training processes. As contact centers incorporate self-service options to handle simple calls, one of the results is that calls that make it to live agents are typically more complicated in nature. That shift in the mix of calls agents receive may necessitate a corresponding shift in the way contact center supervisors onboard and train agents. Consider revamping training programs to incorporate remote training opportunities and self-paced training modules.
Implement innovative cloud technology. Digital technology has become a staple in the world of modern contact centers, and one way to offset the issue of agent attrition is to implement cloud technology. Cloud communications offer plenty of opportunity for contact centers to expand while handling a growing influx of customer calls.
Let RingCentral help you attract and retain contact center agents
Providing contact center agents with the tools they need to do their jobs efficiently helps with agent retention and engagement.
RingCentral offers state-of-the-art cloud-based communications solutions for contact centers, including cutting-edge voice biometrics, artificial intelligence, and unified communication systems. RingCentral clients always have the latest advancements in cloud communications at their fingertips.
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Originally published Mar 01, 2022, updated Dec 30, 2022