Employee churn has long been recognized as a thorn in the flesh for many supervisors, and significant effort has been placed on trying to come up with call center retention strategies. High attrition rates plaguing call centers world over has made it difficult to achieve return on investments as significant amounts of money is always re-channeled into recruiting drives. Many supervisors and managers start to get the feeling of loss of control by virtue of their inability to retain their customer service agents and the inevitability of always busting through their budgets despite their efforts.
Good news is that we’ve rounded up some of the most efficient and foolproof call center retention strategies known to man in this article. The mix of technology inspired and human centered approaches that we’ve gathered here, will have you smiling all the way to the bank once you integrate them within your call center. Let’s get right into achieving happier agents and significantly improved profits.
Winning Call Center Retention Strategies
Using Data for Workforce planning
Recently organizations have discovered that the recruitment processes are what really drive excellence in an organization. The type of agents that you let walk in the door and into your call center determine whether you will be struggling with retention for a long time within your business or if you’ll have it the other way.
Using data to inform the hiring process greatly minimizes the human bias. Data allows you to identify the skill gaps within the call center and maps out the skill sets and traits necessary to address those skill gaps. In the long run this translates into a highly optimized call center with diversified skill sets and competencies.
The opportunity that is created in this instance, is that the manager gets to tap into that diversity and can reassign talent to new priorities thus achieving the feat of newness and freshness of tasks allocated. The flexibility of roles created here taps into the human element of having a purpose, eradicates the monotony of repeated similar tasks and makes the agent know that growth is attainable and that they are valuable to that organization. This entire point screams retention just by itself and if you’ll only be able to implement one single recommendation, I would suggest that this one right here has the absolute priority.
Automate Performance Reports and Corrective Measures
Mastery is an intrinsic motivating factor that propels humans to want to do more to attain that satisfaction that they are good at something. As a manager looking into ways that you can automate a feedback mechanism on how agents can see how they are performing and having readily available mechanisms already set up to help them take the corrective actions necessary to be their best selves is essential.
This can be achieved through, setting up of custom made
· Key performance indicators and metrics on the relevant parameters that the particular call center is keen on measuring examples would be service level agreement or maybe average handle time. It is important that this information be made visible to supervisors who then are able to share this information with the respective customer service agents.
· Visual representation of the performance of each agent in comparison to the KPI’s set
· Corresponding corrective measures are suggested to facilitate the learning of the customer service agent to get to the desired level of expertise. This allows the supervisor to refrain from implementing blanket training for all agents and actually selecting the appropriate training for each agent. The agent will feel seen and that the organization is making deliberate efforts in wanting them to attain mastery.
Promote Agents Feedback on Interventions
It is extremely important to involve the agents themselves in the qualification of intervention strategies that should be retained and those that should be scrapped out. After the implementation of a specific strategy, have an open discussion with the agents and ask for their opinions and let them share with you what they believe would work and what is currently not working.
The deliberate involvement and provision of decision-making powers for the agents invokes a sense of autonomy and allows them to view themselves as having power to regulate some aspects of things that happen within the call center. This meaningful engagement with management is destined to create loyalty and drastically reduce the possibility of agents wanting to leave, thereby securing your call center as conducive and enabling working environment.
Exposure to Customer Success Stories
To customer service agents, success is based on figures and more often than not, they cannot put a face to an action that they took in terms of service delivery. It is this lack of connectivity that you as a manager should close and ensure that the agents are able to see the bigger purpose of the work that they undertake on a day-to-day basis.
From time to time, make it a practice that the agents get an opportunity to interact either virtually or face to face with the beneficiaries of the service that the agents provide.
Provide the usual customer metrics and reports to the agents so that they are aware how they are performing and in addition to that, gather success stories and share these video snippets with the agents and allow them to internalize the importance of the work that they are engaged in.
Seeing another human being talking about the value that they have derived from a service offered and the improvement that it has made in the quality of their life enables an agent to see their overall purpose. When this intrinsic human need is fulfilled, call center retention is a given. This is a pretty inexpensive motivating mechanism if you ask me.
Employ Prospective Analysis to Predict Behavioral Patterns.
As a manager, your people skills are seen as the biggest asset to the organization. It is everyone’s expectation that you know all your agents’ temperaments, their capabilities and that you’re always abreast on everyone’s current status. Being a human being, it is technically impossible to manage all these relationships without hurting some. It is at this point that you need to utilize analytics to guide you towards the relationships that have a red blaring on them so that you can urgently find out any underlying issues and sort them.
Analytics help you to prioritize and deal with the important and urgent matters first. The agents struggling with the decision on whether to stay or leave will be motivated to stay on. It will almost feel like the manager read their mind and all that you will say to put their mind at ease will erase any doubts that they had before.
Prospective analysis is a definite game changer and will always keep you five steps ahead. This will help you cultivate a culture or pro-action rather than always reacting to situations.
Set Up Employee Growth Plan
After achieving the intrinsic motivating factors of autonomy, mastery and purpose, that are the initial factors that lead to the sprouting of thoughts of desire to leave, it is essential that you as a call center manager take it up a notch higher and clearly outline a growth plan for the agents.
This is a sure way to achieve an optimized call center. Is there a need to graduate agents to supervisory positions so that we can create room for new agents to fill up those previously filled up positions? Are there company wide positions that you feel some of your agents are capable of filling? Make them aware of the vacant positions and let them know that they have your unconditional support should they want to move from the call center. It is better to retain the skilled employees within the organization than to lose them altogether to a competitor.
For this to work, there has to be a clear process that has been set out visible to all call center agents, that clearly outlines the timeline that is considered for legibility of a promotion, the metrics that will be considered during evaluation and the desirable behavior traits. Clarity in such integral matters to the motivation of an employee allows the agent to see the organization as an employer that gives equal opportunities to all individuals given that you follow the due process.
As an agent, knowing that if you follow the set-out process, that you have a chance just as good as the next person seated next to you to be elevated to a higher position, gives you the hope to want to stay and give it your very best shot.
These strategies are for that call center manager who has dealt with the never-ending problem of high attrition rates and really wants to put a stop to this phenomenon. If you’re willing to employ out of the box recommendations to achieve call center retention and finally achieve that return on investment that has been so elusive, then the strategies outlined here are your absolute best shot.