Published: January 05, 2016 | Comments
This post originally appeared on the Call Center Weekly blog.
Contact centers are notorious for high churn rates which are not only inconvenient but expensive for companies. The average contact center has an annual churn rate as high as 40%. It is estimated that the total cost of replacing an employee is between $10,000 to $15,000.
The huge churn rate coupled with the high cost of replacement mean it’s well worth it to invest in strategies which will help lower your company’s churn rate. Here are 9 ways you can diminish churn at your contact center:
Hire the Right People
A lower churn rate starts with hiring the right employees from the beginning. Working on the front lines with customers who have difficult problems or are just plain rude is not for everyone. Customer service representatives also have to face stressful and repetitive work days.
You need employees who can handle the demands of the job. Choose people with relevant experience, whether it’s another contact center or a job that required regular contact with customers. Also choose people who have great people skills and are capable of staying calm and polite even in high stress situations. Consider instituting a trial or test for potential new hires to see how they would handle various typical work situations.
Your employees each have lives of their own. Some may prefer a morning shift that allows them to have the afternoon and evening for their other priorities while others will appreciate a later shift that gives them more time in the morning.
Be flexible and give your employees options so that they can create a schedule comfortable for them. The better they can blend working for you with the rest of their life, the longer they are likely to stay with you.
Prevent Employee Isolation
One of the key reasons for the high churn rate at contact centers has to do with co-workers. Employees either don’t get along with their co-workers or become isolated and fail to bond. This creates for an unpleasant work environment that employees will leave as soon as they get the chance.
Avoid this by building comradery through the creation of small teams—complete with team names and even symbols. Incentivize teams to meet work productivity goals. By putting employees into teams that work together toward goals, you’ll prevent isolation and strengthen bonds between co-workers.
Engage Your Employees
Another major problem in contact centers is boredom. When employees are bored too often, they become less productive. Decrease boredom by giving employees the option to cross-train for several jobs or tasks and switching them from task to task. You could also introduce fun workplace games for down times.
Make Employees Feel Valued
Employees who don’t feel that their good work is valued are less likely to continue doing good work. Valuing your employees doesn’t have to mean doling out big cash rewards all the time. It can be as simple as daily praise for particular task that an employee handled well. The important thing is that the praise is personalized to each employee and that it happens regularly. Employees who feel valued by their company are more likely to stay with that company.
Incentivize Exceptional Performance
While cash rewards aren’t always necessary, they definitely don’t hurt. Implementing small scheduled raises which are made contingent on meeting specific, concrete productivity goals is definitely cheaper than the cost of replacing employees on a regular basis.
Provide a clear schedule (such as every 3 to 6 months) as well as clear guidelines so that employees know exactly what they need to do in order to qualify for a raise. You can even provide daily positive feedback to help them track their progress.
Get to Know Your Employees
The best way to treat your employees like people is to get to know them as people. Know what motivates them and what’s going on in their lives—just be careful not to pry where you are not wanted. This can help you create personalized incentive programs and make the workplace feel like a supportive community rather than a daily grind.
Cultivate personal relationships through regular conversations, work lunches, and other informal or semi-formal opportunities to get together and talk about your lives outside of work.
Create a Positive Company Culture
Many of the strategies you have read about will contribute to building a positive company culture. This is important because, at the most fundamental level, your employees need to enjoy the place they work if you hope to keep them with you for the long term.
This doesn’t mean you need to become totally laid back. Set clear expectations about work productivity. But also be sure to include time for employee appreciation and just having a little fun as a team.
Take Advantage of Workforce Management Software
Scheduling games, training sessions, and raises as well as tracking employee productivity and results can be a lot to tackle—especially if you’ve got a million other things on your plate. Make this easier by using workforce management software which allows you to track multiple workplace metrics and schedule different tasks and appointments with ease. You can even use it to measure your churn rate and identify trends as well as potential risk factors so that you can tailor these strategies to suit your needs.