How to reduce contact centre turnover

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How to reduce contact centre turnover

Employee turnover is a notoriously costly problem in all businesses, but there’s no point beating around the bush, the contact centre industry’s got a bit of a reputation for it.

Studies show that contact centre attrition is 11% higher than the national average (26% vs 15%), and, costing £6,000 a pop per lost member (and rising to £9,000 for senior positions) the money in the matter’s alarming.

What’s causing people to leave?

“People don’t leave businesses, they leave bad managers”. True. But that’s not the only area pushing your people out of the door. Other prominent triggers include:

  • Insufficient training,
  • Below market salaries,
  • Lack of opportunities to progress,
  • Employee burnout,
  • Uninviting environments, and
  • Substandard technology.

If you’re losing one too many employees and want to reap the financial and engagement rewards of keeping hold of your team, then don’t go anywhere, because we’ve got the toolbox you need to better your numbers next. 

Improving your turnover rate

  1. Look at your shift patterns

    When was the last time you reviewed your shift patterns? And when you did, did you take a business-centric or employee-centric approach? Your answer shouldn’t be one or the other, it should be both.

Autonomy around hours isn’t quite as easy in contact centres and we’re not suggesting you compromise the business’ objectives to relax your stance, but, instead of designing people’s patterns by yourself, chat with your agents, ask what they want, and see if there’s a way a compromise can be made.

Remember, flexibility is a huge workplace perk these days.

  1. Review your salaries

We’re not going to teach you how to suck eggs with this one, but here’s some food for thought…

Unemployment levels are currently the lowest they’ve been since the early 1970s and that instantly makes it harder to attract people - especially if you’re offering bare minimum pay. Even if you do lure someone in with a below-market salary though, you can bet your bottom dollar they’re still looking elsewhere, and that’s going to affect their loyalty, productivity and engagement, and your targets, retention, and reputation.

Here’s the solution.

If you’re currently offering your agents a basic salary plus bonus and/or commission, cut the latter and increase the former. If you manage people’s performance closely and correctly it won’t cost you a penny more for the duration of their employment, but it will help you recruit and retain top talent in the short, medium and long-term. 

  1. Evaluate your environment

People spend a lot of their life at work, so, naturally, they want to be greeted by a welcoming environment that gets the best out of them - and that doesn’t mean going out of your way to try and match Netflix’ culture deck. 

Start with the basics first, like: 

  • Clean and open workspaces,
  • A nice area to relax during breaks,
  • Close-knit teams that work together,
  • Positive working relationships,
  • Social events - something as simple as a Friday drink would do, and
  • Actively taking an interest in their wellbeing.

  1. Manage your managers

Your managers really are the backbone of your business. However, 80% of employees say they’ve been faced with a bad manager at least once throughout their career, 75% have considered leaving because of it, and 55% actually did. 

If you want your agents to stick around and your contact centre to thrive, you need managers who:

  • Empower their team to want to do better;
  • Engage their agents with the business’ strategic objectives;
  • Treat people with respect;
  • Genuinely care about their team’s wellbeing;
  • Provide opportunities for progression and creativity;
  • Know what they’re doing and walk the walk;
  • See the big and small picture; 
  • Reward hard work and address underperformance - the right way; and
  • Are open, transparent, and approachable.

The list goes on and on. If a manager’s lacking in any of these areas, remember, the onus isn’t just on them; it’s down to you to provide them with the tools and training needed to excel too.

  1. Get your recruitment right

From painting an accurate picture of the role to making sure candidates fit your culture, your recruitment process lays the foundation for almost everything; get this stage wrong and you set yourself up for a high turnover.

To get the most out of your recruitment:

  • Don’t over or under-sell the role - let candidates know exactly what’ll be expected from them and what they’ll get in return;
  • Bring someone else into the interview with you - they might catch something you missed;
  • Try and expose candidates to as many people as possible to a) see how they gel with different colleagues, and b) gather more internal feedback; and
  • Avoid asking only skill-related questions, throw in some talking points that give you a feel for their personality, work ethic, and interests.

And remember, you can train for skills but you can’t mould a person’s attitude, personality, or prospects. 

  1. Provide progression opportunities

Some people are perfectly happy staying in the same role for the rest of their life and have no desire to move up the ranks, and that’s fine. Others, on the other hand, are always on the lookout for ways to professionally better themselves and will have a clear idea of where they want to be in one, two, five or 10 years time - and it’s these people you need to nurture.

If you don’t, they’ll get bored, agitated and frustrated and seek progression opportunities elsewhere. To make sure you’re not stifling people who want to flower and pushing people who’re happy as they are, make the most of your 1-2-1s by asking them what they want.

  • Are there any areas you’d like to improve in?
  • Would you like training in X, Y or Z to help move up to the next level?
  • Where do you see yourself in 12 months’ time?
  • Are you happy with your progression within the company?
  • Is there anything I could be doing to support you better?

All questions that’ll help you extract the kind of intel you need to put relevant and bespoke action plans in place.

Here at Cactus, we’re the call centre recruitment experts. If you need a hand finding, securing and keeping the talent you need to succeed, we’ve got the experience, tools and track record you’re after. Get in touch with the team on or 01905 330 790 to start the conversation today.