8 Ways You Can Reduce Call Centre Staff Turnover

Author: Chris Robinson | Date: 27/02/2024

Reducing employee turnover is an important part of any business. But in the call centre industry, this is even more vital as turnover rates are particularly high. Call centres face an annual employee turnover rate of 26%, compared to the UK average of 15%.1

Working as a call centre agent can be difficult. The high volume of calls, emotional customers and strict performance monitoring can be stressful. On top of that, it is not uncommon for customer service agents to feel that their career development opportunities are limited.

The levels of agent turnover that is often present in call and contact centres can be detrimental to business success. Replacing experienced employees with new hires makes it difficult to maintain a high-quality service.

And there are also financial ramifications of high employee turnover, as the company loses out on the time and resources it invested into the agent and has to then invest more into hiring replacements. As a result, retaining employees should be a top priority for every call centre. 

That’s why we’ve used our industry knowledge and expertise to put together this list of techniques you can deploy to minimise your call centre’s agent turnover.  

Suggested reading: If you’re interested in learning more about effective contact centre management, check out our blog — 5 Best Strategies for Successful Contact Centre Management — Remotely or Otherwise

1. Implement a robust recruitment strategy

One common reason people working in call centres quit is a poor job fit. Working in a call centre is challenging. Spending most of the working day alone, sometimes in a confined space, doing repetitive tasks under high scrutiny levels can be stressful, and employers must be honest about the nature of the roles on offer and think about how they can best support their agents.

Strategies to help

The key to reducing turnover resulting from a poor job fit is improving your recruitment strategy. Here are some simple steps that can help:

  • Better define the job: A significant number of call centre agents don’t fully understand the pressures of call centre work before they take the job, especially if it is their first call centre role. By better defining the position, you help job seekers understand the requirements and increase your chances of attracting candidates who are less likely to leave after a short period.
  • Broaden your job advertising process: The hiring process can be a numbers game. By broadening your recruitment pool, you gain the opportunity to screen more individuals who would make a good addition to your team. By broadening your job advertising process, you attract more candidates, increasing your chances of finding those who are the right fit.
  • Refine your screening process: Finessing your interview strategy is crucial. For example, you might want to consider behavioural interviews, as these can help identify candidates with the right personality traits. Adding extra steps to the selection phase may increase costs but pays for itself by ensuring a better job fit and improved employee retention. 

2. Create a clear path for progression

Call centre agents are striving to improve themselves and ultimately earn more as they progress in their careers. However, many agents end up leaving because they feel like they’ve hit a ceiling in their career development and that there is very little chance of internal promotion. 

Strategies to help

Outlining promotion opportunities can help reduce attrition rates. It motivates your employees to work toward the next level, and it also helps align their long-term goals with those of your company.

One way to approach this is by setting up a robust internal hiring policy. It’s then important to let staff know that those who believe in the organisation’s values and understand your internal practices will gain access to better career opportunities in the future.

3. Foster a productive and collaborative culture

At times, call centre work can get lonely and monotonous. The nature of the work doesn’t always offer the level of engagement some crave, and employee engagement is statistically the biggest factor affecting employee retention. In fact, unengaged employees are up to three times more likely to leave their job.2

Strategies to help

Creating a productive and collaborative culture is a great way to reduce employee turnover. Reinforcing positive company values brings agents together and aligns them with your mission. A company culture that promotes growth, values feedback, and rewards top performers creates an environment where people want to work. 

Given the sometimes challenging nature of call centre work, it’s also vital to ensure that employees have a good work-life balance. Be generous with the number of away days you offer and promote social activities to make sure that your agents feel valued and are motivated to stay in their roles long term.

4. Use rewards and incentives

It’s a long-established fact that happiness raises productivity.3 When employees feel valued and satisfied, they are more productive and less likely to move on. That’s why it’s important to use rewards and incentives to ensure agents know that their hard work and effort are appreciated.

Strategies to help

A positive way to reward good behaviour is with financial incentives, such as bonuses or gift cards. You can also offer valuable non-monetary rewards, such as additional days of annual leave or shorter working hours on a Friday. 

A culture of positive reinforcement where everyone feels valued helps keep your workforce happy and motivated. A call centre whose agents feel appreciated in this way is much more likely to have a low turnover rate. 

5. Provide agents with effective training 

Due to the high attrition rates they face, some call centres don’t put their new hires through extensive training regimes. Instead, they shorten the training period so the agent can start taking calls as quickly as possible. While this may have beneficial short-term effects, it can impact the company’s performance in the long run.

Without the proper training, agents are far more likely to struggle with their daily tasks. They will find it difficult to identify solutions to the customer queries, which negatively impacts the customers’ satisfaction and the agents’ overall performance. 

Employees who have received great training feel more confident in their work. They know how to solve their customers’ problems, they meet their goals, and as a result, feel satisfied and are more likely to stay in their role. 

Strategies to help

Providing a comprehensive training process for new hires, and ongoing refreshers for existing employees gives call centre agents the skills and experience they need to do their job. Using a combination of training tactics, such as technical onboarding, call centre etiquette classes, call centre quality assurance and shadowing programs to help employees learn how to identify and solve customer problems. 

Call centres can also simplify and speed up their training with the help of modern call centre scripting tools. These tools provide agents automatically with the information they need to resolve customer queries quickly and effectively. This helps to ensure satisfied customers and keeps employees motivated, both of which contribute to a reduced turnover. 

6. Ensure agents have the tools they need to do their job

Having the right tools means more than training your agents on how to use the software provided to them. Call centre agents should be able to rely on proven processes when they encounter problems in their daily work. Without access to the tools or software they need to do their job, the chances of agents losing motivation and becoming dissatisfied in their role increase dramatically. 

Strategies to help

Smooth communication between departments and helpful managers can help agents meet the demands of their role, keeping them motivated and thereby reducing turnover. The software they use also has a role to play. Call scripting can provide agents with the right information at the right time, giving them the ability to supply customers with rapid, valuable and relevant advice. 

Further advancements in technology are increasing the guidance available to agents whilst facilitating more personalised customer service and improving First Call Resolution (FCR). This is due to one of the many technology-driven call and contact centre trends, a development known as Next Best Action (NBA). Software can now guide agents based on a specific customer query, delivering real-time suggestions regarding the next best action to take with any given customer. The result is more productive agents equipped with all the tools they need for the job, ensuring staff motivation remains high and contributing to lower turnover rates.

7. Monitor agent performance and wellbeing

Agents who are struggling to cope for whatever reason, whether that’s because of their mental health, personal issues or a number of other things, and don’t receive the support they need, are much more likely to move on. Monitoring call centre agents can help managers and team leaders take proactive measures to ensure their happiness and wellbeing

Constantly analysing your team’s wellbeing makes it possible to identify agents who might feel disengaged or dissatisfied, so you can provide support when it’s needed.

Strategies to help

In an office environment, there is still a place for traditional solutions to employee monitoring, such as regular face to face meetings or simply observing agent behaviour. However, voice and speech analytics tools now make it much easier to understand how your agents are feeling, allowing managers to intervene and provide support or guidance with an agent’s needs before it’s too late.

This technology is now more important than ever due to the fact that many call centres are operating remotely or in a hybrid work environment. As a result, the interaction between agents and managers is limited, making it difficult to detect unhappy employees. By analysing calls, emails, and chats, voice and speech analytics can flag agents having difficulties, identifying those who need extra support from management.

8. Get feedback in exit interviews

Former employees and those who are in the process of leaving your company are much more likely to be honest about their work experience, whether it’s good or bad. Whilst it’s unfortunate they are leaving the organisation, this is an opportunity to identify where you can make improvements moving forward.

Strategies to help

Ask former employees to describe their experience working in your call centre, using open-ended questions to allow each individual to answer to the best of their abilities. While you will receive different answers, you should look for common themes. You should then use this feedback to improve your company culture so the next round of hires won’t have a high turnover rate. 

How technology improved agent retention for our client by 50%

We’ve touched on how it’s important for agents to have the right tools for the job to improve retention. Through the solutions we provide, we get to see the impact that having the right technology has on our clients’ businesses. Here’s how one of our clients used our platform to improve the agent experience and reduce turnover levels by 50%.

Traditionally, our client hired agents with at least 3 years’ experience but since the pandemic they found it harder to hire experienced agents.

Hiring less experienced agents had a fundamental impact on their business model. Training costs increased, agent retention decreased and customer satisfaction levels dipped.

Our client implemented real-time agent guidance to help train agents quicker, provide guidance and support throughout their interactions and more effectively manage their agent performance gaps.

As a result, our client saw an incredible improvement of 50% in their agent retention levels over the space of three months.

In addition to the retention improvement, new agents were trained to become frontline employees in half the usual time, which provided a large saving to the business in terms of training resource and volume of calls handled.

The business took the step of reinvesting the money they saved on agent training, to create an agent bonus scheme where agents could boost their monthly salary if they performed well.

This further enhanced agent retention and customer satisfaction and is a perfect example of the benefits of Real-Time Agent Guidance.

Keep turnover low and productivity high with Awaken 

The delivery of exceptional customer services requires businesses to overcome various call and contact centre problems, including high levels of agent turnover. That’s why Awaken was founded. Our goal is to provide contact centres with the technology they need to overcome challenges and transform customer service outcomes.

Underpinned by our team’s direct experience in contact centre leadership, our technology integrates with legacy systems and ensures that call and contact centre managers can make informed decisions regarding their agents and customers.

With our platform, your call centre can benefit from:

  • Voice and speech analytics that capture every call, email, and social message, helping you understand how your agents and customers feel during their interactions. 
  • Analysis that extracts data from multiple sources to create dashboards and reports that provide actionable insights about internal bottlenecks, customer expectations, customer churn, and more. 
  • Advanced call scripting and real-time agent guidance that helps your employees reduce their call handling times and resolve more queries on the first contact. 

Combined with a robust recruitment strategy, a good company culture, and career progression opportunities, our software can help reduce your employee turnover rates and drive your organisation’s performance. 

Get in touch with our team today to learn more about our platform and how it can help drive improvements and efficiency in your call or contact centre.

  1. How Does Workplace Culture Impact Employee Retention?
  2. Happiness and productivity