- Agent turnover rates range between 30-45%.
- An increase in remote workers makes agent churn a more difficult issue to address.
- Better training and collaborative communication tools can help reduce churn.
It’s a fact of running a contact center: agents don’t tend to stay at their jobs for very long. There are a number of reasons for this: low job satisfaction, poor training, and poor hiring practices all affect how long an agent stays on the job.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. With better training and collaborative tools, you can reduce agent churn within your contact center – read on to learn more.
The state of contact center agent turnover today
To understand the issue more clearly, let’s look at some statistics:
- Agent turnover ranges between 30-45%, so at best, you’re losing about a third of your workforce regularly
- The average cost to replace a single agent is $10,000-$15,000, so if your contact center has a 30% turnover rate, you’re spending $300,000 per year at minimum to replace agents
- 60% of agents say their companies don’t always provide the technology they need to address challenges when helping customers
- 34% of agents say they don’t have the right customer data in front of them when speaking to a customer
- Agent churn negatively affects customer experience
What we see from these statistics is that companies are spending a great deal of money on agents, yet they’re not investing in employee retention, nor are they giving agents the tools they need to succeed.
As an agent, how would you feel if you were in a situation where you routinely didn’t have the tools you needed to effectively help customers? Customers would be unhappy with you, and you’d feel like you weren’t positioned for success in your role.
Remote agents and the possibility for increased churn
There’s another complicating factor: the increase in remote agents.
In the wake of the global pandemic, thousands of agents began working from home as their contact centers were closed down. In addition to the fear and stress they faced in their personal lives, they had to handle a 20% increase in the volume of customer interactions.
Supervisors also contended with a difficult situation: they could no longer walk through the contact center to monitor agents, or hold one-on-one sessions with them to provide feedback. Training new hires in-person became an impossibility.
(Find out more about supervisor challenges in the age of remote contact center workers here.)
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What steps can contact center management take to reduce agent churn?
There are two main steps contact center management can take to reduce agent churn. They can provide better training and provide collaborative communication tools to agents. Let’s unpack those two steps a bit.
Provide better training to agents to reduce churn
Why is training critical to reduce churn? Training provides agents with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively serve customers. When you take shortcuts with training, customers deal with agents who don’t know what steps to take, and who can’t provide an excellent customer experience.
That inevitably leads to negative customer interactions, which increases the pressure agents feel on the job and raises the likelihood of churn. Even in cases where customers do not respond negatively to agents that fail to provide good customer experiences, agents who discern that they are not well-trained for the job may feel inadequate and dissatisfied with their own job performance, which leads to churn.
Provide collaborative communication tools to agents
Even if an agent has excellent training, they still might encounter a situation that requires the assistance of a more experienced colleague.
Yet, traditional call centers weren’t set up that way – they were silos in which agents couldn’t easily turn to their colleagues (especially not those in other departments) for help. As a result, they couldn’t get the information customers needed, which led to low customer satisfaction and frustrated agents.
That’s where collaborative communication tools come in. These tools enable agents to work with their colleagues outside of the contact center, so they can deliver an excellent customer experience.
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How can you provide better training and collaborative communication tools?
There’s one step you can take which will allow you to provide better training as well as collaborative communication tools: move to cloud-based contact center solutions or invest in omnichannel contact center solutions. Whether you are an enterprise contact center or a small business contact center, these tips will help.
Cloud-based contact center solutions allow you to train agents remotely; here’s how:
- Videoconferencing tools let supervisors and agents communicate face-to-face and enable screen-sharing so supervisors can share digital training materials
- Supervisors can monitor calls and offer whisper coaching, or they can enter a call to speak to a customer directly
- Supervisors can record calls and on-screen interactions to assess agent performance
- Gamification encourages agents to improve their performance in a fun way
- Built-in workforce management solutions optimize agent scheduling. Agents won’t sit idle, and customers won’t spend time on hold or waiting to speak to an agent about their problems.
Cloud-based contact center solutions also incorporate collaborative communication tools, such as:
- An internal directory with a presence indicator, so agents can connect to company experts to help customers
- File sharing
- Leveraging online documents
- Videoconferencing, so remote teams can work together
Additionally, agents can liaise between customers and internal experts and share files and other information that would solve customer problems (and increase their satisfaction).
Cloud-based contact center solutions reduce agent churn and increase flexibility
Thanks to cloud-based contact center solutions, agents receive the training they need in an effective manner. Moreover, once they start working in earnest, they can connect to resources that make them more effective and able to deliver a better customer experience.
Cloud-based contact center solutions can also reduce churn because they increase agent satisfaction. Research shows that the employee retention rate for remote agents is 80%; contrast that with a 25% retention rate of on-site agents.
The option of working from where they want empowers agents, and workforce management tools give agents increased flexibility over their schedules. It’s easy for a supervisor to switch a shift, so agents don’t have to worry about missing important appointments or life events.
The flexibility of working from home, as well as the option for flex time, attracts candidates with the right education and skill sets. A Frost and Sullivan study revealed 80% of remote agents have a college education and management experience, whereas only 35% of on-site agents have that background.
RingCentral’s cloud-based contact center solutions lay the foundation for higher agent retention
RingCentral’s cloud-based contact center solutions feature built-in collaborative communication tools and make it simple to deliver effective remote training. Once agents start working, they have the tools they need at their fingertips to make a customer’s experience amazing. To learn more about how you can reduce churn with cloud-based contact center solutions, get a demo.
Originally published Apr 21, 2021, updated Apr 19, 2022